Skate Night Ready to Roll Under New Management

The longest-running youth program on the KP is back.

Shabadrang (Christin) Khalsa aka Bam Bam shows off her skills.
Shabadrang (Christin) Khalsa aka Bam Bam shows off her skills. Tina McKail, KP News

Skate Night returns to the Key Peninsula Civic Center Sept. 10 with roller skate rental and concessions available from 6 to 9 p.m. There is a new Skate Night management team on board eager to get the program back up and running.

The new Skate Night manager, Shabadrang Khalsa, who goes by the name Christin, brings a strong skating background to the position as a former president of the Juneau Rollergirls Roller Derby League, where she was known as Bam Bam No. 108.

“I started skating with Juneau Roller Girls to keep in shape and meet a good set of women who were powerful,” she said. “It’s one of those sports that I love because you get knocked down and you get beat up and you feel terrible, and then you just have to pick yourself back up and keep going and you feel amazing.”

For kids who are new to roller skating, Khalsa said “Take your time. It’s OK to fall. Everybody feels really scared and nervous and afraid to fall, and it’s really nice if you get out on the floor and just do a practice fall and see how it feels, and then maybe it won’t be so scary when you actually fall.”

Khalsa has three young children who are not interested in skating yet, but she hopes Skate Night will change that. “My ultimate goal is to spread the love of skating by providing a safe and fun environment that welcomes everyone,” she said.

Since the first Skate Night in the fall of 1976 and up until the pandemic closure, Skate Night’s 40-plus year history makes it the longest running youth program on the KP (See “Skate Night Seeks New ‘Rinkleader,’” KP News, June 2019). Many longtime locals, including the new Skate Night kitchen manager and lifelong KP resident Kathy Collins, have spent countless Friday nights at the civic center throughout the years.

“The program is well designed for our local families and has such a history of fond memories, even for the parents and grandparents,” said Skate Night Board Supervisor Claudia Jones. “I feel if we can get it rolling again it’s best for our community.”

Collins, who started going to Skate Night in 1979 and went regularly through middle school, said she loved being able to “hang out with kids my age away from school because there was very little to do on the Key Peninsula back then for kids, and there kind of still is very little for kids out here.”

“I love being around kids. I love volunteering and helping out, so this is a perfect job for me,” she said. “Having grown up out here, some of these kids are my classmates’ children and grandchildren.”

For the concessions menu, Collins, who is also a KPCC board member and former Skate Night volunteer, is considering hot dogs, nachos, taquitos, burgers and fries, and assorted candy and drinks. “I’m tweaking an older menu and trying to be cost effective,” she said. “A lot of kids use change and it’s tooth fairy money, or birthday money from grandma, allowance money and things like that.”

The KPCC board and Skate Night’s management team are planning for the Skate Night reopening to look as similar as possible to past Skate Nights, with added precautions following Covid guidelines.

“My goal is to support the community and deliver a Skate Night that the community wants to attend, so I’m not changing very much.” Khalsa said. “But if you’re not vaccinated, we do require that you wear a mask.” Capacity will be limited to 75 or less.

“Covid policies will be enforced if needed,” board president Tim Kezele said. “We follow the policies of the Peninsula School District, Pierce County Health Department and the State of Washington.”

Despite complications posed by the ongoing pandemic, the new management team is optimistic about the program’s future and thrilled with their new positions. They hope more community members and high schoolers with volunteer requirements will sign up as Skate Night volunteers to work admissions, the skate room and skate floor, the kitchen and concessions. They are also looking for a Skate Night DJ.

“This is really a fun environment to volunteer in if you ask me,” Khalsa said. “I’m so looking forward to spreading the love of skating. Skating has brought such happiness and joy to my life, and I just want to share that with the community.”

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