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Grande Prairie adding junior roller derby team

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A new sport is opening up for local youth. The Grande Prairie Roller Derby Association is starting up a junior team for children aged eight to thirteen. Junior Derby Representative Michele Jesson says that the team was created as a way to get kids interested in the sport.

“We thought it would be a wonderful idea to get kids from the local community involved in junior roller derby because most athletes who go on to have wonderful athletic careers started at a young age.”

Roller derby has recently seen a resurgence in the Grande Prairie area, with the team formerly known as the Rage N Fyre rebranding. Jesson argues it is also a great sport for children that teaches them life skills like leadership and self-confidence.

“When they are in a team environment where positivity is fostered, leadership skills really start to blossom and their self-confidence just picks up in volumes, then they’re able to take that into their own personal lives and really succeed in life.”

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The organization is hoping to start small with a minimum of 12 boys and girls so that they can see what works and what doesn’t. The first thing Jesson says the participants will learn is how to play safe.

“The one thing we teach first and foremost is falling. It’s ok to fall; we just want you to fall safely… as they get better and more involved, the floor is not a foreign thing to them. Sometimes it’s not a nice fall but the tougher they are the easier it is for them to get back up and keep going.”

Jesson’s goal for the team is to train the kids when they’re young so that they might one day join the organizations’ senior league.

“As they grow and get better and eventually get older we can move them to the senior derby team and have solid skaters who can really contribute to the team.. .if we can teach them the right way to hit, the right way to take a hit, the right way to fall, and the right way to skate through then they’re guaranteed success as derby players.”

The trial season will run from January to June 2019 and if it’s successful, the junior team will start back up in September for a full season.

To find out more or to register a child, visit Grande Prairie Roller Derby Association on Facebook or email presidentgprda@gmail.com.

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