Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at The Skating Club of Boston
Club Mission Statement
The Skating Club of Boston® is a leader in advancing participation, education and excellence in skating for people of all ages, abilities and means.
Club Equity Statement
In keeping with the Club’s mission and core values of inclusion, the Club is committed to equitable policies and protocols, education initiatives, honest dialogue around differences, increased access for underrepresented populations, and other initiatives that will make the Club community more inclusive and more representative of the ever-changing and diverse community of which it is part.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Club
As many, if not all, of you already know, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has become an important topic of conversation in our country these past two years. It is an important topic for all walks of life, and in every corner of our society, including here at The Skating Club of Boston. But what does this term actually mean on a day-to-day basis here at the Club, and why is it important to our membership, our guests, our employees, and the sport of figure skating?
We intend for this page to outline how the Club understands the meaning of these terms and appreciates them as important objectives as the first step in establishing them as important for the entire Club community. We also want to outline where we believe the Club is now in creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive community, while also acknowledging the challenges and opportunities immediately before us.
We hope Club members and others new to the Club will use this page as a resource in better understanding the Club’s values and goals with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion; to better inform themselves on the topic itself and why it is important to our culture, our sport and our ongoing relevance as an organization; and to establish greater trust that the Club is present and accessible to all its members.
“The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.”
Here at The Skating Club of Boston, our goal is to support a diverse membership, whose many constituencies comprise a community that is representative of the larger community of which we are part. Whether it be race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, biological sex, gender identity, age or more, the Club’s goal is to encourage and welcome members from all walks of life and all corners of the world into our community. Figuratively, the many different faces of the Club community represent the many threads of a cloth, that when woven together, create a fabric of greater richness and strength than one type of thread alone.
“The quality of being fair and impartial, and giving every member access to the same opportunities.”
Equity represents the fair, transparent and impartial distribution of resources (where applicable). Equity is different from equality. Equality represents treating every member and guest at the Club in the same fashion, according to the same rules, policies and standards, and without favor or prejudice to any. Hence equity should not be confused with equality. Importantly, equity must happen first if there is to be equality among members. As a starting point at the Club, this certainly means that the Club’s rules are clearly stated and easily accessible by all, and then holding every member, employee and guest to the same rules. For Club employees, there is also an Administrative Manual that outlines expectations, standards and rules for every employee at the Club, whether they be part of the facilities staff, the front office team, the 1240 Cafe or business office.
“The practice or policy of making all feel welcome, and with equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.”
At the Club, inclusion begins with making every member, guest and visitor feel welcome in the Club’s facility for who they are and the unique qualities each brings to the Club community, including the Club’s newest members, a constituency who are not yet familiar with the Club or many of its members.
Where are we now?
There are many things that the Club does now and plans to do moving forward to better foster equity, education and inclusion within our community.
– Promoting events and common experiences, such as Ice Chips and other events with opportunities to participate and/or volunteer. Volunteering side-by-side with a common goal is not only a great way to support important Club activities, it also provides an even foundation for building community and friendship.
– Member-to-member engagement through social opportunities in the Club lounge, whether it be weekly Thursday evenings in the Frieling Club Lounge, or periodic Friday night dinners celebrating seasonal cuisine.
– Celebrating various cultures within the Club community with special dinners honoring the Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day and others of interest to the Club membership.
– Expanding the Club’s holiday celebrations to more fully celebrate the many traditions of other cultures such as Hannukah and the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
– Fostering safe spaces and the opportunity for open dialogue for members in confrontation. The Club’s Membership Services Director is an easily-accessible resource for every member for this purpose, and should be contacted if you are in conflict with another member, coach or member of the management team. Communication is a critical tool for understanding for everyone at the Club.
– The 2016 World Championships Scholarship Fund with clearly communicated and transparent guidelines for how annual financial awards are made.
– The coming introduction of the Phoebe Weston Skaters’ Fund (formerly the Yarmouth Ice Club Skaters’ Fund) to support younger skaters across every skating discipline.
– Hosting or supporting special events that celebrate diverse cultural groups from veterans to the LGBTQIAP communities.
But what about greater diversity at The Skating Club of Boston? There are many challenges facing the Club in creating a diverse community that better reflects the larger community around us. Figure skating is not an easily accessed sport, both in terms of geography and expense. We learned firsthand that without unlimited resources, it is impossible to build a skating facility in a city where the cost of land is so expensive, or even welcomed in Boston’s closely-knit neighborhoods. Yet at its beginning levels, choosing to skate for almost every family is a geographic decision. While the Club has programs that help bring skating to folks who live in the City of Boston via its operations at the Boston Common Frog Pond, it needs to also encourage a more diverse community of prospective members to its home facility in Norwood. This is especially true for the black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.
This starts with the Club’s Skating Academy membership, which, while increasingly diverse and inclusive of the BIPOC communities, is just the first step in attracting new members to the Club. The next challenge lies in creating more open paths to Club membership, better support systems for new members, and opportunities for financial support for younger members across every discipline. We recognize that all of these challenges are also opportunities, and important ones if the Club and the sport of skating are to remain relevant and important choices for families here and across the nation.
The Skating Club of Boston
Meet Our Management Advisory Group
Programs and Initiatives
Skating After School
Access to ice skating for kids living in Boston can be extremely challenging with the number of indoor rinks currently limited in the City. For several years now, the Club has worked to help bridge the gap for Boston’s inner-city youth and their access to ice skating. As part of its public/private partnership with the City of Boston, The Skating Club of Boston runs its Skating After School program from its footprint at the Boston Common Frog Pond. Skating After School brings the sport of skating to City youths by helping to remove the primary barriers to entry in learning how or having the opportunity to ice skate. With underwriting assistance from the Friends of the Public Garden, complimentary transportation is provided to and from school on the appointed days, while the Club provides free admission, skate rentals, coaching and snacks. Complimentary passes to return to skate at the Frog Pond are also provided.
Adaptive Skating provides children and adults with disabilities access to the sport of figure skating by offering an opportunity to participate in a uniquely-tailored skating experience. Each program participant is paired with a volunteer buddy from The Skating Club of Boston who works with the skater and their family to provide customized instruction best suited for their needs.
Skating in the Schools
Currently on hiatus due to curriculum complications from supporting schools, the Club’s Skating in the Schools program made it a goal to reduce absenteeism and misconduct among its participants, and improve academic performance, especially in the area of science. When in session, Skating in the Schools runs from November until March and provides Boston Public School students with skating lessons, skates, transportation to and from the Boston Common Frog Pond, and a healthy snack for all students. The skating lessons are also paired with a course designed to connect students’ skating instruction with concepts in physics, chemistry, technology, engineering, and sports science. The importance of nutrition and fitness are also taught throughout. The course curriculum is flexible and designed to meet the school’s needs. Students also receive a season pass to the Boston Common Frog Pond and a one-year membership to U.S. Figure Skating.
Joy Skate Productions: Be Here! Be YOU!
In July 2021, Joy Skate Productions held Be Here! Be YOU! – a celebratory skating and dancing “fun-raiser” supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Be Here! Be YOU! was hosted by world and national figure skating champion, Randy Gardner, with the guest of honor being the writer, director, composer and performer, Faith Soloway. The show included live performances from Boston’s premier gender illusionist Mizery McRae and drag performer and fashion model Milk.
All proceeds for the show went to benefitting Rehearsal for Life. Rehearsal for Life, through the programming of Urban Improv and the Freelance Players, uses theater as a vehicle for social change, empowering young people through creativity, dialogue and performance. They have proudly served over 80,000 young people in Boston and beyond with their dynamic, interactive social and emotional learning programs.
Skate Night Out to Benefit Figure Skating in Harlem
In April 2021, the JAC hosted a Skate Night Out to benefit Figure Skating in Harlem. Figure Skating in Harlem is the only organization of its kind to combine the power of education with access to the artistic discipline of figure skating to help low-income girls of color thrive and become strong leaders. Their mission is to help girls transform their lives and grow in confidence, leadership, and academic achievement. Their vision is for every student to develop the foundational academic, social and leadership skills to achieve their dreams.
Joy Skate Productions: Veterans’ Skate
For the past three years, The Skating Club of Boston has been proud to partner with Joy Skate Productions to host an annual Veterans’ Skate for all veterans of the U.S. military and for active military families. The event has consistently brought great focus and effort towards improving veterans’ services at the local and state levels as past events have been attended by veterans services officials from the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In past years, the event has been held on the Boston Common Frog Pond’s outdoor skating rink. Starting in 2021, the event was moved to The Skating Club of Boston’s facility in Norwood. Importantly, all 2021 proceeds from the event are donated to the Norwood Military Family Support Group.
DEI in the News
U.S. Figure Skating: December 2021 Newsletter
Club’s Matter – Program Overview: Humanizing DEI
Timothy LeDuc is set to become the first openly non-binary athlete to compete at a Winter Olympics
Podcast: How can winter sports become more diverse and inclusive?
Los Angeles Times
Column: Mabel Fairbanks’ story deserves to be told. Two of her protégés are working to do so
The New York Times
A Ballerina Who Adds to the ‘Palette of What’s Possible’
The Boston Globe
Harvard Business School’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer to start in September
Ski Wednesday: Diversity Day back at Pat’s
Resources and Education
The Skating Club of Boston, with the support of its Management Advisory Group, will do its best to provide accurate and up-to-date information on this page. The Club community is encouraged to submit ideas for resources and offer insight to improve the quality of the information provided below.
Glossary of Terminology
Columbia University’s School of Social Work: Glossary of Terms
Columbia University’s School of Social Work has provided 100+ common terms that you may see or hear. Of course, there are many beyond those included, and the vastly complex terms are simplified in definitions for initial digestion with the call for ongoing learning and understanding.
The Communication Network: Glossary of Terms
The Communication Network is a collegial, peer-driven community of foundation and non-profit communications professionals. The insights, lessons and solutions offered on their site are meant to provide you with tools to craft relevant messaging that centers on diversity, equity and inclusion.
U.S. Figure Skating
U.S. Figure Skating has taken an important first step in addressing the need to become a more welcoming and inclusive organization, specifically for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC).
Professional Skaters Association
The Professional Skaters Association is dedicated to providing continuing education and accreditation to ice skating professionals in a safe and ethical environment, and training quality coaches around the world.
U.S. Figure Skating strives to provide a safe environment for its members that is free of misconduct and harassment. The association will not tolerate or condone any form of harassment or misconduct of any of its members, including athletes, coaches, officials, directors, employees, parents, volunteers or any other persons while they are participating in or preparing for a figure skating activity or event conducted under the auspices of U.S. Figure Skating.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent 501c(3) non-profit organization focused on ending all forms of abuse in sport. They endeavor to make athlete well-being the centerpiece of the nation’s sports culture through abuse prevention, education, and accountability.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and Massachusetts School Administrators’ Association (MSAA)
The MSAA/MIAA DEI committee is committed to promoting social inclusion and attitudes of nondiscrimination towards cultures, gender, race, disabilities, sexual orientation and religion. Massachusetts has nation-leading programs in support of LGBTQ individuals, Special Olympics, Unified Sports and Para Sports inclusion integrated with MSAA/MIAA sports and Educational Athletics programs.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Office of Inclusion
The NCAA office of inclusion advances diversity, equity and inclusion in college athletics for over 1,100 member schools and athletics conferences. The office supports student-athletes and individuals who teach and lead across the core areas of disability, international, LGBTQ, race/ethnicity and women.
Joy Skate Productions
Joy Skate Productions, founded by long-time Club member Elin Schran, strives to make the joy of skating accessible to all. The organization hosts camps and clinics throughout the New England area designed to accommodate skaters of every age and ability. The Skating Club of Boston looks to partner with Joy Skate Productions whenever possible to support its mission of bringing the joy of skating to all groups of people. Recently, the Club has been proud to partner with Joy Skate Productions on several events including their annual Veterans’ Skate for veterans of the U.S. Military and active military families as well as Be Here! Be YOU! – a celebratory skating and dancing “fun-raiser” supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
The Wonderfund is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)3 that serves children engaged with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. They provide comfort and dignity to children in traumatic situations and enrich childhoods that have been impacted by abuse and neglect. The Skating Club of Boston is proud to support the Wonderfund and its mission to provide comfort and dignity to children in traumatic situations and enrich childhoods that have been impacted by abuse and neglect. The Club offers foster families in the Wonderfund program free entry and special discounts towards public skating sessions as well as free tickets to special events and shows.
Figure Skating in Harlem
Figure Skating in Harlem helps girls transform their lives and grow in confidence, leadership, and academic achievement. They are the only organization in the world for girls of color that combines the power of education with access to the artistic discipline of figure skating to build champions in life. In 2021, the Club’s Junior Activities Committee selected Figure Skating in Harlem as the charitable organization to benefit from their annual service project. To that end, they held a Skate Night Out event for the general public where all proceeds raised were donated to Figure Skating in Harlem.