Logan Olson is living pretty much every Canadian kid’s dream: he gets to drive a Zamboni, and even gets paid to do it.
While it’s not the only part of his job as a recreation facility technician at the Stony Mountain Community Centre, it’s certainly his favourite – even though it was quite a learning curve.
“One of the things I learned is how hard it is to start driving a Zamboni, but it gets easier over time,” he says.
Logan’s position is funded by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association’s Youth Employment Experience program. The CPRA program, supported by the Government of Canada, is designed to help organizations in parks and recreation build capacity, while creating employment opportunities in the sector. As a result, Logan receives this on-the-job experience that would have normally been hard to come by in Stony Mountain – a community located in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood, which is located just north of Winnipeg.
As the recreation facility technician at the community centre, Logan has many responsibilities including assisting with the building’s maintenance and upkeep, as well as ice making and ice maintenance.
“He’s learning everything from the ice making process to refrigeration and how things work that way, and how we accommodate users and user groups within this community,” says Kito Nishibata, the community centre’s facilities manager. “It’s really valuable work experience that I don’t think he would have gotten anywhere else.”
In his role, Logan has also learned skills that can be applied to future work – including organization, time management, planning, prioritizing tasks and problem solving.
Additionally, Kito says that this job opportunity has helped Logan develop important skills that are needed for communities to thrive – particularly in gathering places like the Stony Mountain Community Centre, which are often the heart of communities like the Rural Municipality of Rockwood.
“It’s not often you come across a person who wants to make ice. It’s a small industry, and it’s really necessary for communities to grow,” Kito says. “Without the arena, there is no hockey or figure skating, or people who want to learn how to skate.”
Kito adds that Logan has been a fantastic addition to the recreation centre, and is enthusiastic about ice making and contributing to the facility’s upkeep.
“He’s young, he’s very knowledgeable, he’s like a sponge – and he’s very responsible in his young age,” he says, adding that Logan has brought energy and professionalism to his role. “Every community needs a recreational facility, so it’s good for the community and it’s good for Logan because he gets to interact with the community while developing important skills at the same time.”
Logan adds that the job has given him great experience to pursue his dream job: preparing the ice at the arena that’s home to the Winnipeg Jets.
“I always wanted to work at Canada Life Centre, and be a part of the ice crew,” he says.
Logan adds that it’s been a great opportunity to look after the Stony Mountain Community Centre, which has been a special place to him for a very long time.
“I’ve played here since I was six years-old,” he explains. “I love playing in this rink, and I love working here.”