OLDS — The Olds Curling Club has received a $6,000 grant from Makeadiff Sports, a province-wide, not-for-profit organization to encourage the development of amateur sport.
The grant was provided to help offset costs incurred with setting up a new community sport restart program initiative to promote active living.
Olds Curling Club president Jennnifer Lutz notes that $6,000 is the highest amount available in their category.
“We did get the largest grant possible out of them, which is due in part to our volunteers,” she said during an interview.
Lutz said the club plans to use its grant to attract new and previous members to the sport.
“(We’re) bringing as many curlers into the sport as we can; so being more welcoming, inclusive, trying to bring in new curlers as part of our goal – and bring back old curlers,” she said.
"We are going to host a variety of different events; some targeting juniors, some seniors, adults, bringing new curlers in, just for some fun events to get people out and about and through the doors and exposed to curling,” club secretary Jennifer Wood said.
Lutz said they’re hoping to also attract people who may have some disabilities or mobility issues as well.
"Promoting the stick curling and just broadening it so everybody can participate if they can,” she said.
Lutz was asked if the effect of COVID-19 restrictions played a part in the application for the grant.
Last season, the club reluctantly decided in January to take the ice out early due to COVID.
“We did state our losses in the grant application because it was a tough year for us last year, and it’s a restart program,” she said.
Lutz and Wood are hoping the fact that this will be a high-profile season for curling will spark interest in the sport.
For example, Olds is hosting the mix doubles qualifier in February and the Kioti Tractor Champions Cup May 3-8, 2022.
In between those events, the Winter Olympics will occur Feb. 4-20, 2022 in Bejing, China.
“It should be a good year for curling," Lutz said.