The Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation held a Chinook Community Ice Skating get together on Saturday, December 17. Despite the temperature being just 13 degrees when it got underway at 3:00 pm in the afternoon, the weather had little effect on those in attendance. Just an hour later the temperature had fallen to eleven degrees and a light snow was falling from overcast skies. Nearly 80 people were on the ice, some skating, some visiting, some were off to the side getting ready, but all seemed to be thrilled to be there.
A common theme among the many junior high and high school kids was that the weather had no effect on them. While a few were just there to be there, others were doing their best to not fall down. “I’m not going to skate, but I wanted to be here to see my friends and show my support for what everyone is trying to do with the pool and park,” said one student. “I’m so happy we can skate. I love to skate, and I’ve never been able to do it in Chinook. I’m so happy they did this,” said another. One topic that nearly every kid had to comment on were the Penguins, “I loved the Penguins. I got here and saw them then one fell and started flopping around. I liked that, I thought it was really funny,” said Lane, an eighth grader from Chinook.
So, who were the Penguins? Kelsey and Nancy Diemert filled that role, although Kelsey almost came as another persona, “I almost came as Winter Elvis but then we decided to go as Penguins,” said Kelsey. “I fell on purpose and kind of flailed around,” said Nancy in responding to the kids thinking she fell. She added, “I didn’t think, as cold as it was that many would show up, I’m impressed. It was incredible considering the weather, it’s amazing that there were that many kids, that the parents brought their kids. Kids don’t care how cold it is.” Kelsey added, “Snow used to be fun, I remember as kids we loved it!”
Silvi Harwood, a student at Meadowlark Elementary said, “I’m very nervous about skating, I never did it before. I’m going to try though and if I fall, I’ll get back up!” Silvi didn’t come by herself, her parents Kelsey and Kendall brought her to the rink, “Couple friends are here, Chole is here, Parker is here Harper is here, my sisters are here so it’s going to be fun.”
The reaction from the parents were very similar across the board, “My family and I had an incredible time at the ice skating fundraiser! The event was masterfully organized from start to finish. Our children were raving about it on the way home,” stated Julie Terry. “On a personal note, I LOVE that the Friends of the Pool and Park board members are willing to bust their butts to put on something so special for our kids, to give our little cowpokes a Norman Rockwell meets Hallmark moment. I’m so grateful to the team for working to make this event a reality.”
Terry, like so many in attendance were grateful for the efforts the Foundation went through to put on the event, “Heather and the crew brought so much holiday cheer to our hometown. Thank you for the countless hours the Park and Pool Foundation spent spend fighting to save valuable community assets. Thank you for being willing to BELIEVE that
this community deserves nice things and that the kids in this town are worthy of beautiful, outdoor facilities. Without people like the Pool and Park Foundation, places like this die. Thank you for working to make our community great and thank you for creating such a memorable evening for the people of Chinook!”
Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation spokesperson Heather DePriest said afterword’s, “We had at least 200-300 people that came and skated or watched off and on throughout the day. Some kids stayed all the way through to 9, not sure how they managed that! We had a lot of people come from 3-5 that went to the basketball game that night, but they wanted to come and skate.” It was truly a community wide event, “Lot of people from Havre, Chinook and Harlem stopped by at some point. We did good on the Chili, little left over but not bad. Generators stayed running and were able to keep everything going.”
The Havre Ice Dome let the Foundation use skates to rent out to those who needed them, and Heather stated they had about 200 pair on hand. The Havre Ice Dome also lent the Foundation 20 carts to assist skaters that were truly a hit. “We had the two fire pits and four of the four tower heaters as well to help people warm up,” said DePriest. “We spent so much time keeping the ice cleaned off during the week to make sure it was ready. Then again on Sunday my son jumped on the four wheeler, and we cleaned it off again. Later when we went by kids were still skating on it so that was really neat to see.”
It was certainly great to see so many kids, families together outside enjoying time together, having fun and visiting. The one thing you didn’t see much of were folks playing on their phones. If a phone was out, it was being used to video or take a picture, but that was it, folks were really enjoying being with each other and that is true Holiday Spirit! Happy Holidays!