The recipient of the 2017 Millards Scholarship Brant Figure Skating Award excels on and off the ice.
“The scholarship committee was impressed by Ainsley’s love of sport and her incredible accomplishments that extend beyond the rink. Ainsley epitomizes the true measure of success in figure skating and is a proud ambassador for the sport and for The Brant Skating Club.”
Julie Baetz, CPA, CA, LPA and Partner at Millards Chartered Professional Accountants in Brantford was herself a competitive figure skater and is now the Treasurer for the local club that has been the launchpad for many young people.
“The $1,000 annual award recognizes a student with outstanding abilities, attributes and dedication to the sport of competitive figure skating. Ainsley is truly deserving of this acknowledgement.”
Ainsley has been skating with the Brant Skating Club since she was seven years old but her life on skates began prior to her love of figure skating.
Growing up in a family with a love for the sport Canada is most recognized for, Ainsley started out on hockey skates. A chance outing with her school would soon introduce Ainsley to skates of a different colour.
Ainsley told the story of her introduction to figure skating in her scholarship application submission.
“At my elementary school, Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys, we had lots of outings to a nearby arena, Lions Park. One day after my school’s field trip, the Brant Figure skaters went on the ice for their practice time. As I saw them jump and spin I knew I wanted to become a figure skater.”
Ainsley’s excitement for the sport prompted her mother to take to the Internet in search of a local organization that offered figure skating training. It wasn’t long before before Ainsley was a regular at The Brant Skating Club.
“She bought me figure skates and I started learning spins and jumps, every year moving up a level. Now I am a senior on the Brant Skating Club and competing at the star 6 level with the help of my Free Skate Coach Lee-Ann McMillan.”
Ainsley is highly accomplished in music as well as sport. She is a dedicated piano player having completed grade four of the Royal Conservatory Program and currently working on her grade six level piano.
In addition to her accolades as a competitive figure skater, Ainsley is a Regional level soccer team member with Hamilton United Elite Soccer Club. She’s also a member of her high school’s midget volleyball team and recently won the Hamilton High School Championships.
While Ainsley has excelled in a variety of interests and programs, her greatest pleasure still comes from skating.
“Unlike soccer or volleyball, figure skating is more of an individual sport. You still receive the social part with your club, but when you go out on the ice for those two or three minutes at a competition you have no halftime, no one backing you up, and, on top of it all, you are nervous. Under all that pressure you have to stay calm and perform with grace and poise.”
A grade nine student attending a full French high school in Hamilton this year, Ainsley is also scholastically committed with a 91% average. She credits her family for the support of her multi-sport sports balancing act.
“My parents have supported me in all my sports as long as I can keep up my grades and piano. I could never give up any sport especially figure skating. Figure skating is special to me because it is so different from all the others I love my club and my coaches.”
Well grounded and caring, Ainsley is especially appreciative of her mother as the catalyst for her skating involvement.
“It’s funny to think that if my mom had not agreed to let me join figure skating, or bothered to look into figure skating, I would not be where I am right now – going off to provincials, the first time in many years our club has been represented at that level.”
Over the years, The Brant Skating Club has trained, nurtured and developed hundreds of competitive skaters. Many have risen to great heights in their professional and personal lives but have never forgotten the organization that instilled confidence, values and a drive to succeed.
“I wish to continue skating throughout high school and to move up a level each year. Once I go away to university, I want to have my double axel and be working on my triples. Maybe, if I’m good enough to continue skating in university, I’ll come back and help out around the club. Eventually, I hope to become a coach at the Brant Figure Skating Club.”
In her application letter to the scholarship committee, Ainsley summed it up in the simplest of terms.
“Every time I get on the ice I cannot help smiling; I feel home.”