Support skaters coached by Mark Batka to skate in the Newmarket Skating Club

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To parents and skaters of Newmarket Skating Club and to all the families who support their children's dreams:

Let me first introduce myself - I am Gina, mom of Lara Zeldovich who has been skating with Newmarket Skating Club (NSC) for the last 8 years since she was 5 years old.

I am sad to share that I came to learn Newmarket Skating Club board has voted against extending contract of NSC coach Mark Batka. This is very personal to my family as we will be one of the families directly impacted by this decision, but I believe our family would not be alone in being baffled by it. As a parent whose kid's dream may be jeopardized by it, I am putting my best effort by running this petition to have our voices heard on how NSC kids and families would be impacted by their decision.

I would like to first talk about the impact of such decision on the club skaters.

First, skaters coached by Mark will have to make a decision either to find a new coach within the club or leave their beloved home club and skating friends. Some of these skaters are long standing members of NSC, and others have become an integral part of the club in the past couple of years. I would like to ask board members to consider the fact that this decision does not only affect just the coach but also more than 50 members of NSC.

Second, it will be impacting skaters who are not with Mark.  Since his arrival at NSC,  he has consistently set high standards, encouraged kids to be at their best, and brought fun at the same time.  He is a dedicated coach to his skaters and a friendly face to all NSC skaters on the ice.  As you know, kids learn from what they see on/off the ice. As a parent who often watches skating sessions, I definitely saw a dramatic improvement on ice, both from skaters and from coaches, after Mark was brought into the club. As a fellow parent, I assume this effective use of lesson time is much preferred to all the skating family. It is motivating for kids to see how their peers progress through hard work.  And it is even more motivating for skaters to see their own progress.

Third, if Mark does not return, any skater in Newmarket who wants to chase the dream of competing at a high level will have to find coaching outside of NSC. I would like to ask the board whether they will be providing a plan or roadmap for competitive stream. I would like to ask the board whether they are providing alternative for kids who are in the competitive stream with Mark. As parents of Mark's skater, I believe we have a right to ask these questions. Some of these skaters dream of being a part of Team Canada some day.  As far-fetched as it may sound, I have to admit that this is a secret dream of my own daughter. Over the years, I saw a few skaters leaving NSC to pursue their dream of becoming a competitive skater. Mark and his team being the only competitive coaching team in Newmarket, I am uncertain what options his competitive skaters will have if his contract doesn't get renewed. Also, I would like to mention that it is extremely hard to switch coaches as there will be wasted hours of training for the kids to adjust to new coaching style and techniques. My daughter Lara has been proud to hear "Representing Newmarket Sakting Club, Lara Zeldovich" in every competition she attended.  Would she be proud to say she USED TO represent NSC while she was basically given no option but to leave? There are 600+ CanSkaters in our Learn to Skate program. Taking away their option to skate in the competitive stream in their hometown would be deemed unfair to the members at large.

I believe our club has a great potential to be one of the greatest clubs in Canada in both the StarSkate stream and competitive stream. Parent, Coach, and Child making an an athletic triangle should not be inverted (i.e. Child should be on top of the triangle rather than Parent and Coach being on top of the inverted triangle) for the development and success of our children as an athlete and as a human being. [ Top angle should be the skater while it is up to our coaching staff to inspire and lead the kids to right direction to accomplish their goals, and up to the parents, including the board members, to set up the environment and support for the skaters and coaches to maximize their potential. The skaters need a nurturing environment to achieve their dreams.

The board is elected to represent the voice and needs of the members, which are the skaters. I am asking the parents of skaters of Newmarket Skating Club to please join this petition to keep Mark in Newmarket Skating Club, so the board will act on behalf of a significant portion of their members and reconsider their decision. I strongly believe that parents of skaters should be exemplary to the children through reasonable decision making and actions of good character.  Unless the board explains otherwise, I don't find compelling reasons for the board to come to this decision of not extending his contract, and affecting a large number of NSC skaters in the process. My personal belief is that effective communication and involving an intermediary, if required, to resolve any conflict before coming to the extreme.

Please join me in this petition and sign to keep our competitive coach Mark Batka and his beloved team of coaches in Newmarket Skating Club.

Also, I would really appreciate if you could leave supporting comments. It is proven for a petition to be a lot more effective if there are more voices than a simple Yes/Agree.


Gina Kim - Mom of Lara