When designing your program, you will want to consider the following aspects:
a) Short sheet stick delivery games – This format enables players age 6 to grandparent to play fun games together on day one. The stick delivery removes the slide delivery learning curve and the 2/3rd sheet length increases the shot percentages and enable players to experience the excitement of the game.
b) family learn to slide* – A program that teaches youth age 9(?) and up, along with adults the slide delivery. This is primarily skills development with some game play.
c) full sheet slide or stick delivery games – This is a full sheet curling game format where players have the option to use either the slide or stick delivery.
* This coming season will be our first year offering a family learn to slide program. Our experience has shown us that when players have had fun playing short sheet stick delivery games, many of them want to progress into learning the slide delivery. We were originally very youth focused and believed the logical next step was for youth to join youth programs and if adults were interested, they could join an adult learn to curl program. What we now fully realize is that families joined this program as an opportunity to spend time together, which is not inline with a plan to separate youth and adults when they want to learn the slide. We now understand there is a need for a family learn to slide program and our belief is that youth will in parallel join youth programs as well.
a) Day of the week – On what day and at what time will the program run?
b) Hours per ice time – Will the program be 1hr, 1.25hrs, 1.5hrs or 2hrs? Our experience has shown that 1 hour goes by very quickly, especially for older youth and that 1.5 hours can be the limit of some younger youth’s attention span. If you run one ice time, 1.5 hours seems to be the sweet spot. If you can run two ice times and have enough players, you could offer a slightly shorter time for families with younger youth and an even longer ice time for families with older youth.
c) Weeks per session – How many weeks will the program run for? E.g. 6, 7, or 8 weeks?
The answers to the questions will be influenced by the availability of ice at the club and by your target registration fee. Some clubs schedule 15 minutes between games to clean the ice. A 1.5hr ice time can fit nicely within a 2hour block schedule if 15 minutes before and after the family ice time are used for cleaning the ice.
Number Of Players Per Registration
You may use the traditional curling registration model where players register as teams of 4. However, we have seen sessions where over half of the families who register do not register 4 people. To eliminate a barrier to register, programs can accept family registrations of any number of players, with a minimum requirement of one adult and one youth.
If you accept registrations of varying size, then on a weekly basis you will arrange families to make two teams per game. E.g. A family of 4 will play a family of 3, or two families of 2 will play a family of 4, or a family of 5 will loan a player to a family of 3.
When accepting families with varying numbers of players, there will be sheets with fewer than 8 players per sheet. Some will have 8 players, while others will have 7 or 6 players.
The registration fees, especially with a house league, will primarily be influenced by the amount of ice time players receive. This is where the length of each game and the number of weeks in the session are decisions to make with care.
The cost of ice per player per session = ((number of games) x (number of hours per game) x (cost of a sheet of ice per hour)) / (average number of players per sheet)
For example: ( 7 games ) x ( 1.5 hours per game ) x ( $40 per sheet per hour ) / ( 7 players per sheet) = $60 per player
A ‘teaser’ program’s ice could cost less. For example: ( 5 games ) x ( 1 hour per game ) x ( $35 per sheet per hour ) / ( 7 players per sheet) = $25 per player
These prices are very affordable. Remember though that families have to multiply the cost by the number of family members. The first example would cost $240 for a family of 4.
Setting up a society organization to manage the league adds to the registration fees. For example, the Calgary Family Curling Association pays $1040 for an insurance policy. It raises public awareness by paying $1300 for magazine ads and nearly $2000 for street signs and banners. These expenses, combined with online registrations costs of ~$5 per player, increases the registration costs by ~$25 a player. As enrolment increases, this will hopefully drop to $15 a player. The CFCA’s registration fee for a 7 week session, with 1.5 hour games, is currently $87 per player.