The Border Skating Club will be upgrading its sound systems in both arenas this summer after winning the $5,000 grand prize in the “Tbaytel for Good” program last week.
The sponsorship program, dedicated to investing in people and organizations in Northwestern Ontario, announced the winning submission on its website at midnight last Thursday.
“I’m ecstatic,” enthused BSC board member Anne Renaud.
“There were some really good ideas out there, lots of competition, so we are really excited that we were selected,” she said.
The club was named a semi-finalist in the competition March 19, after making its submission back in January and garnering more than 9,000 online votes—the most of all 15 ideas entered.
Being one of the six semi-finalists secured the club $2,000, but now it will receive a total of $5,000 as the grand-prize winner.
Renaud said replacing the aging sound systems was something the club needed to do.
“Music is a key part to figure skating,” she stressed. “Music gets skaters moving, music elicits emotions, music creates energy.
“Skaters embrace the music and move their bodies to the rhythm of the music.
“But we’re still using really, really old equipment,” Renaud noted, adding the systems use CD players only, with no option to play digital music—the form that’s most accessible these days.
Besides that, the older equipment doesn’t even function properly.
Renaud said during their last test day, they couldn’t even get the “stop” button to work.
“And music is such an integral part of figure skating, whether it’s the ice show, test days, or competitions,” she reiterated.
The club operates music systems in both arenas, and also provides a portable one on the ice for the coaches.
“We had been exploring other opportunities to raise some money or apply for funding to get the systems upgraded,” Renaud noted.
“And [when] we heard about ‘Tbaytel for Good,’ we knew we had to submit an application.”
Now the club will be able to purchase and install brand new sound systems in both arenas, as well as provide a portable sound system (including wiring and installation), without having to raise fees.
The sound systems will include iPods, Bluetooth, CD
players, remotes, and microphones.
“They [Tbaytel] said we had a very good submission,” Renaud noted, adding she thinks it probably helped that the upgraded sound systems also will benefit other groups in the community.
“The music systems . . . are also used by other organizations, such as minor hockey, girls’ hockey, and others that use the arena,” Renaud explained.
“I think that they liked that we were working together with others to make it happen.”
“[The club] clearly demonstrated the challenge at hand and provided a solid plan of action to improve their greater community for good,” the “Tbaytel for Good” program noted on its website.
While the grand-prize winner was selected based 70 percent on the judges’ assessment of meeting the idea criteria, getting to the semi-finals had a large part to do with topping the online votes in the competition.
“We had so much community support and we are so grateful,” Renaud enthused.
“We had so many people, so many groups, pulling for us,” she noted. “Not only people involved in the skating club, but the community and also beyond our community.
“We had people in England voting, Norway, and everywhere.”
Even Kaetlyn Osmond, figure skating silver-medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, also offered her support and encouraged her Facebook fans to vote for the Border Skating Club.
Renaud posted the club’s good news to Osmond’s Facebook page last Thursday morning and received a congratulatory message in return.
The plan is to have the new sound systems in place for the start of the new season in the fall.
But while the club still will be using its old sound system for the year-end ice show this weekend, Renaud still encouraged residents to come out and support the skaters.
The show runs Saturday at 7 p.m. and again Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Renaud also wants to remind people that the “Tbaytel for Good” program runs four times a year, with different categories.
Starting this month, the focus will be environmental, followed by arts and culture in July.
Education was the focus this past fall.
“If there are people who have other ideas, they should put them forward,” Renaud urged.
“It’s a good amount of money so it’s worth putting in the application,” she added, noting it’s a regional competition.
“It would be great for other groups, schools, or people wanting to start up something new.”