Frozen Sandlot returns for holiday skating | Lifestyles
Thanksgiving is here and with it, the turkey, mashed potatoes, and ice skating to cut out holiday carbohydrates.
The Frozen Sandlot, 400 S. Union St. inside the Kokomo Municipal Stadium, returns Friday, November 26 for a season of ice skating and winter fun. The rink opens at 11 a.m. and will operate until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $ 7 or $ 5 for non-skaters and those bringing their own skates.
Bridges Outreach, 208 Main Street, is once again managing the ice rink. The partnership with the city began when CEO Travis Tafflinger wanted to start a temporary business to employ children in the Bridges program. He approached former Kokomo mayor Greg Goodnight about a possible set-up course. A few months later, Goodnight returns with an alternative idea: an ice rink. He asked Taflinger if Bridges would like to handle it.
Taflinger absolutely said.
“It fits well with our mission because it gives the children something positive to do in the winter when there is not much to do,” he said. âIt’s family-friendly. We work in partnership with many school and faith groups with which we are linked. We have 31 employees this year, so we employ a lot of former Bridges students and college age children. It’s also a good fundraiser for us. This helps us to carry out our programs which do not make money. It is a huge blessing for us to be able to do this.
The Frozen Sandlot will operate until January 9, 2022 with weekend hours until December 17. From then on, the ice rink is open every day (closed on Christmas Day) until January 4.
Families and groups can also rent the ice rink or the heated rooms of the municipal stadium for events or birthdays. Rates and timetables available on congelÃ©sandlot.com.
âA lot of kids with winter birthdays will have a birthday party there,â Taflinger said. âIt offers an alternative to Chuck E. Cheese or Gravity [Trampoline Park]. “
A waiver form is required to skate and can also be found on the website.
For many organizations, 2021 has been a rebound year after COVID and it was no different for Bridges Outreach. As the pandemic halted things and slowed momentum, Bridges used the time to reassess his progress and rebuild the program.
âWe had the opportunity to simplify some things and, in a way, almost go back to our roots, bringing people closer to Christ and making disciples,â Taflinger said.
One of the successes Bridges has achieved this year has been the relaunch of its in-school mentorship program. They aimed to find 50 student mentors in the Kokomo community for the 2021-22 school year. They are now 51 as schools approach semester break.
A new project that started this year was to restore a house on North Courtland that was due to be demolished.
âIt was a really cool house but it was really old,â he said. âIn June, we started to rehabilitate it. “
As Bridges works to make the home habitable again, they are also running an eight-hour class for seven HUD-approved families on buying a first home. The program includes topics such as budgeting, insurance, inspections, and mortgages.
Taflinger hopes that when the house is completed, it can be sold to someone affiliated with Bridges, such as a staff member, alumnus, or someone who has taken the course.
âWe are going to sell it for what we have in it,â he said. “It will be below market value, so they will have equity as soon as they buy.”
Taflinger hopes there will be more houses in the future, but realizes that if this becomes just an occasional project, one or two houses will still help the residents of the Kokomo community.
âWe are really trying to listen to God and be guided by the spirit of what he wants,â Taflinger said. âWe are always open to doing new things. Mentorship, I think, will continue to develop. Our core programs focus on relationships and longevity. We will continue to connect young people to Christ and will continue to build and love our community. “