Few sports extend farther into history than figure skating, with primitive ice skates appearing in the archaeological record in 3000 B.C., but for skaters in Berks County, the sport is relatively new. The Reading Figure Skating Club (RFSC), established in 2020, operates out of the Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex on Papermill Road in Wyomissing. The nonprofit club was founded by a group of skaters who wanted to provide opportunities for its members to achieve their figure skating goals.
Three years since its inception, the club has come a long way, having grown from seven members to over ninety. Run entirely on a volunteer basis and through the commitment of its members, the club is a chapter of the U.S. Figure Skating Association. The RFSC provides six days a week of freestyle sessions for club members, in addition to test sessions, social events, and exhibitions free to the public.
Some of the club members and coaches skated at the Body Zone rinks when the sports complex previously offered figure skating opportunities. Coach Niki Wagner, who has been teaching on the ice for twenty-five years, says, “RFSC is an excellent place for your child to learn the basics and more advanced levels of figure skating, as well as finding joy in the social benefits of the sport. In my experience, skating friendships developed on and off the ice last a lifetime.”
What makes the Reading Figure Skating Club different from so many of the clubs in surrounding counties is its reliance on volunteers. Club Board President Angelina Borelli has been pivotal in mapping the club’s path for continued success.
Borelli brought her daughter Valentina to a Learn to Skate program thanks to a gift certificate given by Valentina’s grandmother six years ago. It wasn’t long before Valentina was hooked. The thirteen-year-old can now be found on the rink, refining her skills five to six days a week. And she’s not the only one. When she learned that anyone over the age of five could participate, Borelli pursued her own lifelong dream, took lessons, and competed for the first time in February at the age of forty-four.
“One of the greatest aspects about this club is that we encourage skaters of all skill levels to participate. There’s a profound love of skating here, and if you share that love, you’re always welcome,” Borelli says.
Members of the Reading Figure Skating Club range in age from six to seventy-three and their skating aspirations are as wide as their age gap. Some of the club’s members skate for exercise and enjoyment while others push to learn new skills and compete in local and state competitions.
Since 2020, Exhibition Chairperson Angela Romano has worked tirelessly to produce the club’s shows, expos, and social events. She’s currently deep in preparation for the upcoming spring exhibition that will allow the students to showcase what they’ve learned this year. Of the exhibition, Niki Wagner says, “These skaters have all worked hard to put on a wonderful exhibition, and I’m so proud of them.”
The event will be held on Saturday, May 13th at the Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex from 5 – 7 p.m. The exhibition is free to attend and the general public is encouraged to come, enjoy the performances, and check out information on the Learn to Skate USA and Aspire programs offered through the Body Zone and the Reading Figure Skating Club respectively. Club members recommend bringing blankets and jackets as the rink is kept cold year-round. Cookies and hot cocoa will be available for purchase. All proceeds go to the Reading Figure Skating Club.
The Reading Figure Skating Club is a nonprofit entity with a mission to provide opportunities for its members to work toward and achieve their figure skating goals. Those interested in the Learn to Skate USA program for all ages should visit www.bodyzonesports.com/learn-to-skate. Skaters interested in the Aspire program must have prior skating experience or have passed the Basic 4 curriculum in Learn to Skate USA. More about the Reading Figure Skating Club can be found on their website at www.readingfigureskatingclub.org.