Rec & Arts excited about youth’s passion

Eli Horstman, 12, of Sioux Center stands by about half of the Siouxland Sled Hockey team’s equipment currently stored at the All Seasons Center. The remaining equipment are in garages of team members’ families. He’s excited his team may have future permanent storage for their equipment.

SIOUX CENTER—What started out as a school project for a 12-year-old Sioux Center resident has turned into a community project.

“A goal at Sioux Center Christian School is to give students opportunities to do real work for real people with real needs,” said head of school Josh Bowar.

Eli Horstman did just that.

As part of a class assignment in Ruth Clark’s middle school writing class, students had to select a persuasive essay topic. Horstman, a seventh-grader, chose the topic of sled hockey, focusing on the importance of starting the Siouxland Sled Hockey team in Sioux Center.

“It means a lot to me to be able to play,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and I’m glad we have it in town.”

As he cites in his essay, the closest sled hockey team before early December was in Minneapolis.

Within just two months, the Siouxland Sled Hockey based in Sioux Center formed and has 15 students on its roster.

“I, in my pride, sent Eli’s essay to our Siouxland Adaptive Sports group,” said Eli’s mom Cheri Horstman. “I was excited he was excited because he was writing an assignment about it and thought it was fun to share his excitement with others.”

Cheri also encouraged her son to bring this essay to the Recreation & Arts Council to share a little bit about this new association in the community with the council.

“That led to the conversation about the need for space to store all our equipment,” Cheri said.

The Recreation & Arts Council, which consists of 10 area school and community leaders and city staff, were moved by Eli’s enthusiasm. Besides granting the Siouxland Sled Hockey team’s request to officially be a team, they took it one step further by agreeing to finance the building of a storage unit for the team’s equipment.

Bowar, who is also on the council, moved the request that was supported unanimously by the rest of the council.

“It was beautiful to experience Eli’s passion for sled hockey, his desire to build community and his excitement when the motion was passed,” Bowar said. “For me it was exciting to see a student living God’s story!”

Storage options are still being discussed, but Horstman is excited to help his team in this way.

“There’s a lot of stuff in garages,” he said. “Having it all in one place would be nice.”

He’s encouraged that having a permanent storage option means the team should be around for a long time too.

“I want to play as much as I can,” he said. “Hopefully I get to play for a long time.”