Who are we?
The Garden State Skating Club (GSSC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating (USFS). Established in 1954, GSSC is the second oldest figure skating club in New Jersey and the oldest skating club in the Monmouth and Ocean County region. The club is over 100 members strong and continues to grow every year. GSSC is governed by ten elected volunteer board members who help educate and encourage participation in skating within our local community.
GSSC’s mission is dedicated to providing a fun, supportive and safe skating experience for skaters of every age and ability. Instruction and competition coaching of basic fundamental skating skills are offered to help advanced members achieve their fullest potential in all skating disciplines along with cultivating positive sportsmanship and promoting a lifelong interest and enjoyment of skating.
GSSC’s home rink is Howell Ice Arena and through collaboration with our rink partner our skaters have access to state-of-the-art skating facilities in a safe and secure environment. Howell Ice Arena opened in 2010 and is a 42,000 square foot ‘green’ facility located at 269 Squankum Road (Route 524/547) Farmingdale, NJ 07727 (732) 919-7800.
What do we do?
GSSC provides figure skating sessions for our members at Howell Ice Arena where private coaching is available on sessions that are reserved for figure skating. GSSC in conjunction with its rink partner kicks off each new year by celebrating National Skating Day with its annual Open House to attract new families to learn more about skating and to increase awareness and participation in US Figure Skating programs. The Open House offers public skating sessions, skating lessons and on-ice games and other fun skating activities to the public. Each spring, GSSC hosts its annual Shore Skate Basic Skills Competition which provides an opportunity for young and beginning students to exhibit the skating elements they have learned and mastered in a fun and supportive competitive environment. Also in the spring, GSSC holds its annual skating banquet to recognize our skaters’ test achievements and to award special recognition to selective members for outstanding sportsmanship; exemplary efforts in promoting the club and the sport of skating; and highest points earned based on tests and competitions. GSSC also produces a summer and winter exhibition performance showcasing the talents of our accomplished skaters with their figure skating programs and also of our skaters from the Learn to Skate program with their group ensemble number. Throughout the year, GSSC runs official US Figure Skating sanctioned test sessions for its members.
How can I join?
Membership is on an annual basis beginning July 1st through June 30th; however you can sign up anytime. Students currently enrolled in a US Figure Skating Basic Skills program (such as Howell Skating Academy Learn to Skate) receive a discount on the 1st year membership. Club membership will allow skaters to purchase freestyle ice time and participate in club activities, shows, test sessions and other events. Members also receive a full membership to US Figure Skating, the national governing body of our sport, and an annual subscription to Skating Magazine, the official publication of US Figure Skating.
Where can I find out more information?
Our website, www.gardenstatesc.org, has more information on our club, competitions and events, as well as parent resources. The U.S. Figure Skating website, www.usfigureskating.org, also has plenty of useful information for skaters who are interested in learning more about our great sport.
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THE TWO RIVER TIMES
Skating Through the Summer
Ethan Boroditsky practices his lunge
By Kathleen Alvarez
MIDDLETOWN – While most people pack up their winter clothes for the summer, dedicated figure skaters make the transition from flip-flops to winter socks every day.
And that’s exactly what the skaters at Middletown’s Ice World are doing this summer.
Ice World at the Middletown Sports Complex, located at 214 Harmony Road, is connected to the Middletown Swim Club. It houses the New Jersey Junior Titans hockey team as well as the Garden State Skating Club (GSSC).
The rink also provides a Learn to Skate program for beginner skaters, some even as young as 4 years old, which serves as a feeder for beginner skaters into either the figure skating world or the hockey world.
Adriana Ryan, board member and coach in the GSSC who serves as the director of Learn to Skate at Middletown, says that the place to start and get your feet on the ice is Learn to Skate.
“We have a competitive figure skating club, where kids can go from never having skated before and grow into members of the Garden State Skating Club,” Ryan says.
For figure skaters, joining the Garden State Skating Club is the next step after completing the Learn to Skate program.
The Garden State Skating Club is affiliated with the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA), and being a member of the GSSC allows skaters to test for their USFSA-ranking to determine at which level a skater would compete.
The levels start at Pre-Preliminary, which includes tricks such as spirals and waltz jumps, and goes through the Senior level, which is the level at which Olympic skaters compete.
The GSSC has more than 100 members of different levels, who are competitive and recreational skaters.
Lexi Loughlin performs a spiral at Middletown Ice World
The club practices both at Middletown Ice World and Howell Ice World, which is located at 269 Squankum Road in Farmingdale.
Skating proves to be both a mentally and physically challenging sport. It combines the diligence of picking yourself back up after you fall down and waking up early to get extra ice time, with the physical components of balance, strength and flexibility.
Figure skaters have to be committed, and sometimes commitment means remembering to keep an extra coat and leg warmers in the car during the hot summer.
For many skaters, the love for skating begins the first time they set foot on the ice.
“My mom always tells me that when I started skating it was like a duck in water,” skater Emily Nesson says. “I had an instant passion, and I still feel that same passion and drive now, if not more so.”
The Olympics is not the only route for a figure skater, Ryan points out. “You can skate five days a week and be a competitive skater, but you can also skate only once a week and be in our annual holiday show or summer exhibition.”
Some skaters also take the teaching route. “We have a lot of girls who, once they turn 16, become staff coaches and can pass on their joy and love of skating to the younger generation,” Ryan says. “There are many different avenues to pursue the sport of figure skating, not just one track.”
The ice rink in Middletown is fairly new, although the Learn to Skate program has been very popular since the rink opened about a year ago. Classes are offered three times a week throughout the winter and once a week for the summer. The fall Learn to Skate session will begin Sept. 6.
The next time an Olympic skater takes to the ice, don’t forget, he or she probably started with Snowplow Sam 1 in a Learn to Skate class.
Additional information about the club can be found at gardenstatesc.org. Learn to Skate information is located on the Middletown Ice World website.
Adriana Ryan, director of the Learn to Skate program at Middletown Ice World, coaches figure skaters of all ages and abilities.