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On Friday afternoon the ice is very thin in most places. No sign of any hose flooding but maybe there was some on Thursday? Or maybe most of the ice is from the two days of rain/showers, freezing to the surface after the compressors were turned on.
The ice firmed up enough since yesterday (there must have been some flooding by ice maintenance staff), so that it was fine to open today. All day long the rink was busy, inside and out.
From Marina: At about eleven a.m., K. and her sisters showed up with a friend. They were bored and wrangy so I put them to work in the kitchen. They did dishes and sponged surfaces, and stirred hot chocolate in exchange for food. They were waiting for the pleasure-skating time for five hours...
During pleasure-skating I drafted five of the shinny-hockey boys to make potato pancakes--they were wrangy and bored.
They grated a bag of potatoes, squeezed the fluid out, added some flour, salt and onion and fried them in just slightly bigger than loonie sized circles.
It was pretty labour intensive.
They want to work for us--Dylan suggested an honorarium of $5/kid for two hours. I said I'd discuss it with you all.
I told them I didn't think we could pay them money but maybe trade for other things.
They suggested free skate sharpening and/or snacks in exchange for volunteer labour.
How does this sound?
They worked really hard.
They also spent about $4-5 dollars each on snacks. They complained I fed the little girls, who don't generally eat any meals as far as I can see and have 3-4 dollars between the three of them.
The boys ate about three of the pancakes each. They enjoyed working together and seemed to enjoy calling me and each other Chef. The only directions I gave were if I let you into the kitchen you need to be nice and be gentle around hot oil and pots of hot chocolate--they exceeded my expectations for manners and diligence and caution.
I bought the bag of potatoes on sale at Fiesta Farms for 99 cents. It generated about $5 dollars cash gross from sales. The activity kept our "guys" occupied and contributing. The pancakes were delicious.
They stopped swearing for over an hour and a half and started using words like please and thank you. Several of the pleasure skating parents actually had warm friendly conversations with them as did other adults who usually complain or glare and roll their eyes at them. The parents' parting words to them were "it was very nice to meet you all"--something I cannot imagine any staff saying to them ever.
I half-jokingly suggested we could make a lasagna together next week and they were really excited about the idea of cooking with real recipes.
It was pretty exhausting between the little girls, and then afterwards those guys all volunteering to help. I was there from 9am-6:45ish without a break so I was wiped. I think once we settle the Saturday shift a bit I would still like to stay until 6pm because there is something about establishing and maintaining this connection.
From Michael: If you work out an agreement of volunteer work for skate sharpening, I'm happy to sharpen the skates, but it would have to be later in the day on Sunday. One thing to consider is timing. The snack bar/skate rental office sometimes gets busy during pleasure skating. It might not be practical to have the boys in the kitchen at that time.
From Marty: Today the girls swept the floors for free skate rentals and made some hot chocolate, and later the guys helped me make some mini pizzas, and picked up litter/swept & put up posters for cookies. The girls went out skating and had a grand time playing hockey in the rain, but the guys came later and never did go out & skate. I told them several times that the ice was fine despite the rain, but they preferred to stay in, initially hanging out & insulting each other, then playing checkers, then helping in the kitchen. They were there from about 5:30 to 9:30.
Four of them did a lot of dishes & did a really good job of it. A couple of other guys put up posters or swept. And it was satisfying & generally fun despite the stress of trying to make sure no cans of hot chocolate or tape etc walked out of the kitchen. Being able to lock the kitchen door & control their entry or have them come around to the window helped a lot.
Strangely, today around 2 pm the city website said Campbell rink is closed. But it wasn't. All that rain we had yesterday froze into lots of ice, as expected.
There was pleasure skating and a campfire from 4-6pm. About a dozen skaters showed up. Most were children. There were also a couple of people who came for hockey but decided to stick around for skating. The boys and girls who skated seemed to enjoy themselves, but the regular core of young hockey players who show up every day after school were frustrated. They acted up a little. Nothing serious happened but staff were kept busy until 6pm when the young shinny players could finally use up their extra energy on the ice.
There is a rumour in the neighbourhood that the city wants to shut down Campbell permanently. CELOS investigated and as far as we can tell the rumour is based on a misunderstanding. Staff are not taking school bookings for January at the moment, because of some uncertainties over daytime staffing and possible permit fees. Somehow the message about school bookings got garbled. There is also the possibility of a mid-January lockout of city staff.
The morning was quiet with only a handful of guys showing up for shinny. Thirty people, mostly parents and children, came to pleasure skate at 1pm.
Last year Sunday 3:15-4:30 was set aside for youth and caregiver shinny, but the turnout was low. This year staff have decided to give girls-only shinny a try. Unfortunately there wasn't time to advertise and staff didn't think any girls would show up. They explained the situation to the male hockey players who arrived during pleasure skating. Staff said if no girls came, the men would be allowed to play.
When pleasure-skating ended, some of the girls who had been skating said they wanted to play hockey but they didn't have any sticks. Staff handed out some sticks and the girls were able to play by themselves for an hour.
Some of the male hockey players were frustrated at not being able to play, but they waited patiently for their turn. At 4:30, there were twenty male players on the ice.
Today at Campbell one of the youth came in, around 11:00. The staff was working in the kitchen one of the girls (a ten-year-old). The youth ordered something. After they got it for him he starting insulting the girl, swearing at her, calling her a "stupid little shit" and so on. Granted this was done in "fun" and they know each other, but the girl was obviously hurt, it was totally unprovoked, and the staff said she found it completely inappropriate regardless. The staff asked him to stop and he didn't. She said that they've been trying out a policy where they revoke the privilege to get snacks for people who are being rude to others. The youth sat down on the bench, and continued to shout swear words and insults at the girl from there.
He totally ignored the staff when she told him to stop, except when she said something about respect, at which point he said "how can I have any respect for a little shit like that?".
Then he tried to buy something, so the staff said no. Then he said "YOU'RE being rude now" and "oh my gaawwwd you're a little bitch aren't you?"
Sounds like a case for follow-up.
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