Pictou Advocate sports

Let Abilities Work curling Monday


NEW GLASGOW — Let Abilities Work Partnership Society and Bluenose Curling Club are inviting everyone to come out on March 25 from 10 a.m. until noon to try curling and meet gold medalists.

Capturing gold at the Canadian Visually Impaired Curling Championship in February, Louise Gillis and her team will be visiting to show how they do it.

After the success of Let Abilities Work’s vice-president, Devin Forbes, introducing Wheelchair Curling to the county, president Julie Martin wanted to try her hand at curling, too. With LED lights at the end of a broom handle, and a game board with raised tactile rings, the game itself is played the same.

Gillis, president of Canada Council for Blind, is based out of Sydney, N.S. She started curling when she was 58 years old, not even picking up a stone until after she lost most of her vision.

“As skip of the first and only vision-impaired curling team in Nova Scotia and after 12 years of trying to encourage others to start this great game, I am finally hopeful that this is about to change,” she said.

Mary Campbell, the team’s lead, is completely blind and is helped by having the rest of her team, including Gillis and Terrylynn MacDonald, beacon her to the guide by reciting her name. Coached and guided by Garth Nathanson, the team’s key to winning is staying calm and having fun.

To participate on Monday, bring clean, indoor-only sneakers if possible and avoid wearing fleece clothing. Meet the Nova Scotia gold medalists, try your luck at curling and talk to Let Abilities Work’s members to see what they can do for you.

“Coming to put on a clinic on March 25 at the Bluenose Curling Club will be a great time to encourage other people with sight loss to get on the ice and introduce volunteers to realize the rewards of teaching people with sight loss to have major life changing existences,” says Gillis about her team’s upcoming visit.