Another left turn was made Thursday evening - over and over again by the students of Greenwood Elementary School as they rolled around the rink at SkateHouse.

The school held a school skate night to raise funds for the Parent Teacher Organization.

Some people may remember roller skating's flashy years during the 1970s when disco roller rinks were the rage. Dusty Fore, owner of SkateHouse, said the sport is as popular with kids now as in the past.

"I know it's still popular, because we're all busy," he said. "It's good clean fun that's inexpensive. What's not to like?"

SkateHouse offers all elementary schools in Tahlequah a school skate night about once a month. The schools are given a percentage of the admissions at $1.75 an entry.

Fore said Skatehouse is always working to make the rink a safe place for kids hang out without their parents, if they choose to do so. They can be dropped off and are not allowed to leave without their parent or guardian picking them up.

While Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are left open for events like a school skate night, the SkateHouse makes good use of the rest of the week. On Mondays, the rink has a roller hockey night for kids to gear up and test their skills. The weekends are public skate time.

Fore said weekends are when he sees older children visit the rink - with average ages being from fourth to seventh grade.

Rick Carpitcher, a parent at Greenwood Elementary, said he brings his child to the skating rink to get him out of the house for a couple of hours.

"He loves skating," he said. "It's good for him to see his friends from school."

Studies have shown that 91 percent of kids up to the age 17 regularly play some type of video games. While there are arcade games at SkateHouse, most guests stick to skating rather than Pac-Man.

"Kids these days aren't socialized like they used to be," Fore said. "It's nice for kids to get to hangout with their peers - stop starring at a screen for a while."

Attention spans being what they are these days, one lap around the rink might be enough for some skaters. That's why the employees of SkateHouse continuously work to keep kids occupied. Some games at the rink include limbo, dodgeball and dead bug - where everyone skates until the music stops. The kids then fall on floor, making their best dead bug impressions.

For kids that haven't mastered the rink, SkateHouse is dedicated to helping anyone learn how to skate for the first time. Novices can rent a walker with wheels to help themselves skate. The employees are also available to teach groups or have one-on-one sessions. There are no formal lessons, so there is no charge.

Fore said he can have a group of first-timers skating in five minutes.

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