Earlier this month, families gathered at Scanlon Ice Rink to watch the Annual “Channel Surfing” Spring Ice Show.
Children and teenagers flew across the ice, dressed as the Ghostbusters, Dora the Explorer, and The Flintstones on Friday, April 14. Families cheered as skaters leapt and pirouetted across the ice on Friday and Saturday, their attention captured by the shimmering costumes and choreographed movements.
“I’ve been skating here since I was six years old, and even back then, I was afforded the opportunity with the present coach, Michelle Shaw,” said Channely Torres, a longtime skater and coach for Scanlon Figure Skating. “She’s the leader of the program. She kind of took me under her wing, and she was all about community. And that’s what we push for, community.”
Scanlon’s Figure Skating program offers weekly ice skating lessons to people of all ages at a price range of $5 for basic classes and $7 for advanced classes. In addition to Scanlon’s $3 skate rental and free ice time, the low-cost classes create an accessible opportunity for community members to learn to skate.
Aurelia Lukomski, a parent whose child has been figure skating at Scanlon for 12 years, was drawn to the program’s affordability compared to other locations.
“You pay like five, seven bucks here for the lessons,” Lukomski said. “In the other rinks, you pay like 20, 30 dollars per hour for the lesson. So, come on, you have to take the opportunity.”
Sandra Tsuda-Senat, whose daughter has been with the program for eight years, noted the diversity and welcoming feeling as the main reasons she chose to have her child skate at Scanlon.
“Some places you go and don’t feel as welcome, and [Michelle Shaw] definitely makes sure everybody feels comfortable here,” Tsuda-Senat said.
Michelle Shaw, the program’s head coach, started skating at Scanlon when she was 7 years old. Many parents at the show shared how Shaw makes a positive impact on the skating community at Scanlon.
Carol Neisser said her daughter has been skating with Shaw for 15 years.
“It’s a great place for the community,” Neisser added. “[Shaw] welcomes everybody in. You just walk in, and she’s like, ‘Sure, start the program.’ She’s a great person that really has got a heart of gold.”
The impact of the figure skating program is noticeable both on and off the ice. Participants of the program can go to regional skating competitions, show off their skills to the community in the annual spring ice show, and eventually, some come back, paying it forward as volunteer coaches.
“[My daughter] gets really good confidence coming here, and going out and showing their skills and getting the medals like gold, silver,” Tsuda-Senat said. “It’s a really great opportunity that we have out here.”
Scanlon’s figure skating lessons will resume in the fall. Beginner figure skating lessons are on Saturdays from 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Advanced 1 lessons are held on Saturdays from 3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Advanced 2 lessons are from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, contact Michelle Shaw at 215-817-4880 or go on the Scanlon Recreation Ice Skating Lessons Facebook page.
Editors: Zari Tarazona, Siani Colón / Designer: Ramses Montes