The 2018 Winter Olympic Games aren’t the only place to catch a hockey game or figure skating competition. You could also visit the Berkshires Boys & Girls Club in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. With one of the few ice rinks in the area, the Club offers local children and teens several activities to occupy their wintertime, including hockey, figure skating, speed skating, public skating and curling.
About 300 kids participate in the icy offerings. But with over 100,000 square feet, the Club offers many recreational options, such as a swimming pool and a gym that seats up to 5,000. You must be a Club member to play hockey or figure skate, with curling and speed skating open to kids and adults of all ages.
And this Western Massachusetts community is very engaged with its Club. When the organization needed to replace its 40 year old Zamboni, for instance, local folks and businesses pooled their resources and donated a new one to keep the ice super smooth.
Popular as the winter sports programs are, Club staff and coaches work at least as hard to teach young people valuable life skills. Club CEO Joseph McGovern says the Club uses athletics to instill valuable traits such as sportsmanship, discipline, responsibility and punctuality. Many Club members also participate in academic programs like Power Hour, where staff and volunteers help them with homework.
The variety of fun activities offered by the organization also encourage kids to stay active. And that’s significant. A child who participates in sports at a younger age is more likely to remain active and embrace a healthy lifestyle than those who don’t. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and teens who don’t engage in physical activity are more at risk to energy imbalance, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
To learn more about the Club and any of its activities, please visit BGCberkshires.org.
Photo provided by Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires.