Eleven-year-old Caroleena Forcione has a winning attitude that, along with hard work, has propelled her and fellow members of the Theater On Ice teams to national and international medals. For her mother, Aleta, that confidence comes with the thoughtful coaching at The Skating Club of Boston.
The coaches, says Aleta, “bring a unique perspective along with an amazing amount of experience and expertise.”
“They not only impart their own skating knowledge but also teach [Caroleena] resiliency and how to be responsible for her own development. I think that’s a unique approach that encourages her to be mindful of and responsible for what she needs to improve. She drives her own progress.”
Aleta herself had a chance to experience learning from some of the coaches when she took Learn to Skate sessions. “It was a lot of fun, and the coaches were great at helping a new skater feel more at ease on the ice. I learned skills I never thought I’d be able to do at my age!
Aleta speaks highly of all the Club’s “wonderful” staff, particularly the folks in the office and Katharine Steeger who are there every day providing support to skaters and their families. She also gives a special shout out to two of the facility guys she sees regularly — Tony Ruffo and Dave Lalime, who “are always there, working hard to keep the old facility fixed up, clean and the ice properly surfaced, amongst many other things they do to keep us going until we get to Norwood. They are never too busy to share a warm smile or a funny story.” And she knows she can also count on Aislinn Munck-Owen for the personal service she brings at Home Ice, her retail store at the Club. “She is great at working with us and with her coaches to make sure Caroleena is in the right skates and blades,” says Aleta.
Granted, intense focus on skating, she says, is a serious commitment: “but in a good way!” Caroleena, coached by Sean Marshinski skates and Garrett Lucash, skates at least three days a week and also on Sundays with Theater On Ice, “and she wants to skate more. The Skating Club of Boston is really a core part of our lives and we couldn’t be happier that we found the great coaches at the Club and are part of this fantastic community.”
In particular, she adds that being part of the Theater On Ice family “has been a fantastic opportunity. Caroleena has met and become close friends with the kids on her team,“ she says, “and I have seen her expressiveness in her individual program performances improve.”
Aleta’s own experience is positive as well. She has made friends with other parents and enjoyed having opportunities to help and to be more involved with the Club. She volunteered at Ice Chips as a locker room chaperone for a couple of years and is now co-chair of chaperones. “I found that extremely fulfilling—to be able to help at the show and have an opportunity to help the kids backstage,” she says. “This is what Caroleena loves to do, and I want to be supportive as much as I can.” She is also a member of the hospitality committee for Theater On Ice, organizing meals and fun events for the skaters on the team.
Both Aleta and Caroleena are looking forward to the move to the new and expanded Norwood facility. It will offer many additional opportunities for Caroleena to skate more, attract a wider audience, said Aleta, and introduce even more young skaters to some of the best talent in the world. In 2021, the Club will host the international Theater On Ice event, Nations’ Cup and Adult Gold Cup.
“It will be amazing to get direct exposure to some amazing international skaters,” says Aleta.
As for Caroleena, “Who knows where she will go?” says Aleta. “I know she would love to be in the Olympics someday – and of course it was and is here at The Skating Club of Boston that many great skaters got their start. For now, it’s just inspiring for us to feel a part of something bigger.”