AMHERST – Joan Cameron’s love of curling has revitalized the Amherst Curling Club.
Her contribution to the club was recognized when she was named an honorary member of the Amherst Curling Club recently, during the final night of the club championship.
“I am thrilled,” said Cameron. “It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers.”
Cameron has been curling for 51 years.
“My family is a curling family,” said Cameron. “My parents and my older brother curl.”
Her father, an avid curler, helped build the Amherst Curling Club.
“He would use salt and pepper shakers for rocks on the family dinner table to help illustrate different strategy and different shots,” said Cameron.
Cameron said girls didn’t curl in Amherst when she was young, and, as a student at Amherst Regional High School, Cameron said there was a boy’s curling team but no girl’s team.
Cameron studied to be a teacher and never curled until she left Amherst to teach in western Canada and Quebec.
“I knew everything about strategy before I’d ever thrown a rock,” said Cameron.
Luckily, she had good teammates in western Canada.
“My first skip was a B.C. champion that played at the Canadian championships,” said Cameron.
Upon returning to Amherst, she taught high school curling, and has been teaching and playing the game ever since.
She coached her junior girls team at the 1975 Nova Scotia Canada Winter Games, and won the 1992 Nova Scotia intermediate women’s title playing lead.
In recent years, Cameron has been a catalyst in bringing the club back from the brink.
Lester Wah, past president of the Amherst Curling Club, talked about Cameron’s many contributions to the club.
“A few years ago, our club was on the verge of having its doors closed, so Joan organized the Carl LeBlanc roast, and later in the year a tribute to Roger Bacon,” said Wah. “These events gave the club a fighting chance to continue on.”
Cameron, along with other club members, organized other successful events, including fashion shows, casino nights, and organized the 2017 Under-21 provincial championships at the Amherst Curling Club last January.
“She also began the club championship. She puts a lot of hard work in organizing the club championship but has yet to win it in 15 years,” said Wah with a laugh.
Cameron also began, and continues to lead, the Friday Night Pizza Curling. She also, along with Janice Amos, helped start and teach the Adult Learn to Curl program, and teaches Ice Cubes and Lite Rocks Curling program for kids every Saturday morning.
“Curling teaches a lot of respect for other people and it’s a non-contact sport. It’s a safe sport for kids,” said Cameron. “And when I coach with the little, tiny kids they make me feel good.”
Cameron says her main contribution to the club is her bossiness.
“I’m really bossy and I go up to people and say, ‘OK we’ve got to do this and we need you,’ and I go up to somebody else and say, “we need you,” said Cameron. “I don’t do it myself. I’m just an organizer.”
One of her curling students is 15-year-old Blake Carter,
“This is one of my light rocks who is now in junior curling, and he curls with the senior curlers as well. He’s my pride and joy,” said Cameron.
Carter agrees that Cameron is bossy but won’t actually say it.
“Is she bossy? I don’t want her to beat me, so I’ll say no,” said Carter with a laugh. “Let’s just say, she has a way of teaching the kids.”
Wah finished by thanking Joan for her ability to get things done and says she has been invaluable to the Amherst Curling Club.
“Curling has served her well throughout her life and she continues to make sure that the option is available to young and old and those looking for a sport to become involved in,” said Wah.