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Aims Community College Takes to the Ice

Innovation Showcase

Sponsored by
Computer Comforts
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November 2009, Volume 4, Number 7


On the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, the mild weather in Greeley, Colorado, provides the perfect playground for year-round sports. Aims Community College in Greeley has developed an extensive physical education program to meet the demands of students and residents, offering a wide range of activities and sports from archery to zumba. The newest additions to the offerings are the popular winter sports of ice skating and ice hockey.

In January 2009, Aims began offering ice skating and ice hockey classes at the local municipal ice rink, Greeley Ice Haus. Daniel Doherty, academic dean at Aims, was approached by Greeley Ice Haus Skating Director Kristin Hoort in June 2008 to consider offering skating and hockey classes at the rink. Hoort said she was looking for a way to spread the love of skating to more people in Northern Colorado. “Skating is a sport people can do their entire lives to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to bring more people to the sport.”

Aims ice skaters“Ice time is very expensive and there was no way the college could afford to pay for it,” Doherty explained. “The Ice Haus had some underutilized time to fill, so they were willing to work with us to set a rate that students could afford.” Students register for a one credit course through Aims and pay an additional fee to cover the cost of equipment and ice time, allowing Aims to offer the classes at little cost to the college.

Doherty and Laura Willoughby, Aims physical education program coordinator, collaborated with Hoort to develop curricula and syllabi for the new 12-week classes. “We don’t have an ice rink on campus, so it’s a great opportunity for the college and the city to work together to bring more offerings to our students,” Willoughby said. The ice skating students learn the elements of ice skating, including skating technique, conditioning, safety, equipment, and cardiovascular fitness. Ice hockey classes teach the students stick handling, shooting, and positional play. Equipment is provided by the Ice Haus.

Aims hockey studentsThe Aims/Ice Haus partnership has caught the attention of the University of Northern Colorado and Skating magazine. UNC has taken the initiative to offer similar courses at the Ice Haus following the Aims partnership, and Aims and the Ice Haus were featured as a model for community collaboration in the October issue of Skating. The official publication of U.S. Figure Skating cites the Aims ice skating and ice hockey courses as a great way to get more college-aged students involved in ice sports.

The first classes offered in spring 2009 were small, but students who took the classes loved them, so Aims offered the classes again in fall 2009. Unfortunately, enrollment did not reach the minimum number of students required, but classes will be offered again in spring 2010, and expectations are for increased enrollment.

Physical education credits are not required for graduation at Aims and no P.E. major is offered, allowing Aims to offer a broad range of classes. Aims offers several classes in partnership with local facilities and instructors are staff of the facilities, making these classes affordable for the college to offer. The ice skating and ice hockey programs are not the first physical education partnerships for Aims. Highland Hills, the municipal golf course, provides beginning golf lessons with professional level instructors through the college. This partnership has been in existence for over 20 years and has been very successful. Other classes, such as bowling and water aerobics, are also offered through partnerships. Physical education courses offered by Aims carry transferable credits to Colorado universities and most other four-year colleges.

For more information, contact Amy Kegg, Aims public information officer, at 970-339-6206 or amy.kegg@aims.edu.

Photos courtesy of City of Greeley Leisure Services Department

Posted by The League for Innovation in the Community College on 11/18/2009 at 12:44 PM | Categories: Innovation Showcase -