With 10,500 members (only 4,800 of whom are adults), Toronto’s Granite Club recently implemented two youth sport clinics to help engage and develop younger members’ athletic skills. The Long-Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD) was developed as a framework for optimal training and competition for each stage of a child’s development after age 10. And Active Start was developed to help the younger kids prepare for a life of athletics.
“Our goals with these programs are two-fold,” says Gary Caron, Athletics Director/Head Professional at Granite Club. “First, we want to develop athletes who can compete at an elite level as amateurs or professionals. Second, we want all of our members to be active for life. These programs help kids of all ages develop physical abilities such as agility, balance, strength, coordination and speed, along with sport-specific fundamentals.”
The Active Start programs, geared for 2- to 6-year-olds, are not sport-specific. Instead, making the most of underutilized space on the club’s property, these pint-sized members do all sorts of activities, from obstacle courses to jumping rope to fine motor skill development (see photo, above). “Active Start helps to prepare younger kids for the various sports we offer once they become juniors,” says Caron. “It gives them a better foundation for the next stage.”
Within the program—which is broken into smaller classes that run for three-month sessions—there are certain measurements that children much reach. Regular report cards are issued, which also let their parents know how well they are progressing. Each class lasts about two hours and so far, the program has been hugely successful, with lots of growth on the horizon.
“For the first session, we had about 60 kids in the program with 12 classes,” says Caron. “We start a new session in January and we will go up to 22 classes, because the demand is so high.”
Saluting the Sixties
To celebrate its 50th year, Skyline Country Club, Tucson, Ariz., will give its members the chance to step back into its opening era, through an elaborate series of ‘60s-inspired celebrations that will kick off on New Year’s Eve.
Throughout the month of January, a series of themed golf, tennis, social and dining events will take place. Tennis players will use wooden rackets and wear traditional tennis whites during skills competitions. Golf champions and Skyline PGA Pro Chris Dompier will use vintage 1960s-era golf clubs in special tournaments. Social nights will feature food from the 1960s, and a small-scale vintage automobile display is planned.
The celebration will culminate with an Open House on January 27, 2012, that will take over all three floors of Skyline’s clubhouse and be attended by members, local dignitaries and media. During the Open House, Jesse Thorpe, General Manager, hopes to officially invite 50 new members to join the private country club.
“We’re proud of our long history as part of the foothills community,” says Thorpe. “We look forward to celebrating with our current members and to welcoming new members to the club, as well as celebrating many more years of connecting and giving back to the community.”
The Eagles Have Landed
Increasingly, club and resort properties are getting more proactive in marketing the opportunities that their properties offer members and guests to take in special natural surroundings.As part of this, some properties have come to realize that they have some especially attractive and unique sights to offer. During the fall season at Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in British Columbia, Canada, the property becomes a haven for thousands of migrating bald eagles. And that led the resort to create a special bald eagle viewing package that was offered through the last few months of 2011.
Every fall, thousands of bald eagles flock to southwestern British Columbia, drawn by millions of salmon that spawn in local rivers and estuaries. The region witnessed over 7,000 bald eagles in 2010. To celebrate this special attraction, the annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is held each November.
To recognize this spectacular natural wildlife event, Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa offered unique vacation packages, available through December 15, which included two-hour jet-boat tours on the Lower Harrison River (the best way to view the eagles as they feast on the river’s salmon).
A portion of the cost of each vacation package is donated to environmental groups dedicated to the recovery and rehabilitation of wildlife in both British Columbia and the U.S.
“I consider the bald eagle migration to be the icing on the cake of all of the amazing scenery here,” says Danny Crowell, the resort’s General Manager.
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