>The skating rink is a popular place for kids to hang out and have some fun, now the rink is offering a new schedule of hours to accommodate the little guys
Crook County Parks and Recreation Skating Rink offers kids a fun, safe place to hang out. Starting next month, a variety of new features will be added to liven things up, and a special spring break session is also in the works.
   Skate manager Terrie Black reports that the rink is growing in popularity, drawing nearly 200 kids each night. The increased flow of skaters has made it necessary to expand the skating options for all age groups.
   "The skating rink has started to have a lot of younger people coming with their parents and I could see that we needed two sessions," explained Black. "Starting next month, we will be offering an early session for the little guys who might be just learning to skate, and needing a slower pace. The later session is for everyone else."
   Beginning April 7 the rink will open from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for younger children through fifth grade. Cost for the early session is $2.
   The second session runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and is open to all age groups. Cost is $3. Those who wish to take advantage of both sessions may do so for an additional $2.
   Black went on to say that the rink staff works hard to make sure everyone has a good time, in a safe environment. "I know that we can not catch everything that happens in the rink, but I always tell the kids if they have a problem, to come to me or one of the other staff members and we will take care of the situation before it escalates."
   Consistency is a valuable tool when working with teens and pre-teens, and it's a tool that is paying off for Black and her staff. Rink participants follow a strict policy of staying in the building, and if someone leaves, then they are not re-admitted.
   Parents play an integral part in making sure kids follow the rules and are asked to keep kids informed about the no-in- and-out policy.
   "The kids are learning the rules and really doing a great job abiding by them," she said.
   There is a good deal of energy expended at the rink by those who skate and it's a lot of fun to sit and watch it all happen. Black encourages parents and grandparents to drop in with their kids to check it out.
   The rink will offer a special skate session, for students on spring break called `Jump Into Spring Skate'. The special session will take place on Wednesday, March 28 from 3 to 6 p.m. Cost is $3.
   Only a limited number of tickets will be sold for this special session. Students can purchase tickets in advance at the door during the regular sessions happening this Friday and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.
   Black indicated that there are plans for a number of fun skating activities during the spring break session. "We are going to have lots of games and fun, so we hope to see a lot of people for the Jump into Spring Skate," she said.
   The skate rink is also available for parties and special events by reservation. For more information about the skate rink, their policies or hours, call the Crook County Parks and Recreation Department at 447-1209.
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