Like the glide of a swan
The best figure skaters deliver seamless performances. Graceful, powerful, intentioned. But before these masterful displays and sequined costumes is a journey that begins with a single stroke and a supportive team.
When Jill Knowles was offered the executive director position for Skate Canada Nova Scotia in 2003, it was a dream come true for the lifelong skater, coach and volunteer. Even though figure skating programs were consistently underfunded in Nova Scotia and the volunteer base was over worked, Jill was confident things could be turned around.
“We had to be very careful with the money we had, and we rotated opportunities and which regions of the province they were held in,” says Jill.
The specific programs available throughout Nova Scotia varied from region to region. Jill wished she could offer one program in particular–SK8 Smart–province-wide, but only a few clubs could afford the workshop. The program offered day-long sessions for up to 40 youth skaters from different clubs within the region to become more involved in figure skating. Each session included:
- A series of skating workshops.
- Motivational speakers.
- A seminar on off-ice fitness routines and nutrition practices.
- The opportunity for coaches to discuss the importance of long-term athlete development.
- Resource materials for parents.
When Jill learned about the assistance available through the Support4Sport program, she knew her problems were solved. The Support4Sport funding committee happily partnered with Skate Canada Nova Scotia and the SK8 Smart program was finally realized.
“The funding has allowed us to offer more programs to all ages throughout the province for skaters, officials and volunteers. Which in turn helps to educate the skating community and provide better opportunities for all skaters in Nova Scotia,”
For Jill, receiving financial assistance from Support4Sport gave her the opportunity to focus on her many other work objectives. The figure skating fanatic is committed to continuously improving the skating programs available, even if it means working long hours. The people Jill’s met through her work are what she really fell in love with and make it all worthwhile.
Jill is a figure skating veteran and understands that becoming a great skater requires a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication and love for each stroke of the journey.