Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- C.C. Chapman - Managing Partner of The Advance Guard - Blogger, Podcaster & all-around great guy (@cc_chapman, cc-chapman.com, theadvanceguard.com) - for giving some pointers and showing general support, and indirectly being responsible for this journey thanks to his podcast Managing the Gray (check it out on iTunes)!
- @Dani3boyz for spreading the word
- @Goaliegirl for being the first donor
- Sammy - former schoolmate & teammate on the Red Dogs (college roller hockey team) for donating
- Eric - also former schoolmate & teammate on the Red Dogs (college roller hockey team) for donating
- Angela Ruggiero (mentioned many times on this blog) - she got me hired straight out of my internship with the Islanders specifically to work with her on Project Hope, and we remain close ever since. That is something I will be eternally greatful for, and I am proud to call her my friend. Get ready for Angela Ruggiero hockey camps!
- Julie - one of my best friends in the world who has endured every stupid act and idea of mine, but still continues to support, for donating and being a loyal friend in so many ways!
- Chris Lucas (@Hockeyskates) - for his awesome blogging support: http://www.lucasonsports.com/2008/12/09/have-skates-will-travel/
- The folks I met today at Green Drinks were amazing, and I am incredibly appreciative that I had the honor of meeting and speaking with you. There are a few in particular that really stood out, and in due time will get their shout-outs!
- My Mother, for her understanding of the reasons why I need to do this.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Project Hope Journal 1/22/07
By Angela and Adam
We're back from China, and after almost two weeks, what we miss the most is the hospitality. Everywhere we went (all 8 schools), we were greeted with open arms, by local and school officials, and many students that were supposed to be on winter break (but came back just to see us and spend some time on the ice). The outdoor rinks have become a center to the respective communities, and the kids in our Project Hope schools, (elementary school age) skate over 5 days a week! Their smiles on the ice made it easy to ignore that it was as cold and windy as the Great Lakes region. We took them through some basic skating and puck handling drills, and then we got into the fun, reminding everyone (including the adults standing around the rinks) that hockey, above all else, is fun.
Other than skating with the Project Hope students, we also had the opportunity to scout our prospective scholarship candidates in Harbin and Qiqihar. Twenty (about ten in each city) of the best teenage boys and girls skated their hearts out for over an hour, in an intense tryout. Not only were their hockey skills put to the test (and a fair amount of stamina testing to go along with it), but an interview was conducted in English to determine whether they were ready to study at a school for a full academic year. While their hockey skills were impressive, it was clear that everyone needed more work on English. Before anyone spends a full year in America, we'll bring over a few students for the summer in an intensive ESL program, allowing them to experience the United States first hand. The opportunity to play hockey will also be important, and the students will be able to put many hours of hard work on the ice, after they do so on paper.
In our meetings with local officials, it became clear how important Project Hope has become to the lives of so many people. In some cases, over 100 students get the opportunity to learn hockey at their school. Hockey has become a class worth academic credit, and in the best of scenarios, Project Hope hockey players have been given a clear path to success. In Qiqihar, a memo was issued on behalf of the Sports and Education Bureaus, mandating that a specific system be implemented to assist these scholar athletes any way possible. We hope that the civic governments in each area, along with the Project Hope schools, can follow suit, allowing more students the opportunity to play hockey, study English five days a week, and continue to receive the funding and support of their local governments.
Whether it was the center city of Harbin, Jiamusi and Qiqihar, or a surrounding town, each community had a unique culture. The sense of family and community dominates the social character and culture, and the group lunches and dinners gave us the opportunity to become members of the community. We spent a lot of time getting to know everyone personally (through a translator, of course), and found that while our cultures are as different as can be, there are some things that we all share in common. First, and most obvious, we're all human. Sometimes, we forget what that means, but it's important. Whether you live on Long Island or in Heilongjiang, everybody wishes to be happy and successful (culturally subjective), have a long life, and wish the same for our children. Going beyond that, we all love hockey. One of the many goals of Project Hope is to cross borders using hockey as the international language. It is a sport unlike anything in the world, requiring a whole new sense of transportation just to be able to communicate. As hockey history has proven, any team can be superior once the puck drops, as long as there is a balance of talent, discipline, structure, creativity and fun. This understanding of hockey is universal, and if it ever becomes less, it will no longer be hockey.
The success lies, though, on everyone involved in Project Hope. We will continue to build rinks and provide as much equipment as possible, but at the same time, we're requesting that anyone willing to help makes a donation or other contributions in support. There is information on the web page specifying how YOU can help.
Stay tuned for more news on Project Hope. We have an exciting future and many more plans. The next invitational is scheduled for January 17-18, 2008. ANY teams interested should fill out our form. Maybe we'll even sponsor a team to compete in China. Start working on your Chinese.
Ladakh, the eastern part of Jammu and Kashmir state of India, is a high-altitude desert region, on the upper reaches of the Indus River. Until recently a somewhat isolated rural society, Ladakh has seen enormous and sudden changes since the 1960s, when the Indian government started having an impact on local life through defence activities (Ladakh shares borders with both China and Pakistan) and development activities such as schools, offices, and subsidies. The region opened to foreign tourism in 1974, and is a popular destination for trekkers as well as travellers visiting ancient Buddhist monasteries, and since 2000 domestic tourists have been coming too. It is also home to a large Tibetan community.
Ice hockey is hugely popular in Ladakh, but most kids from rural families do not get the chance to play, due to lack of skates and equipment. However, at SECMOL several dozen young people from rural villages have had the chance to skate and play ice hockey, thanks to equipment donated to SECMOL by friends around the world."
What does this means to me...
What does this means to me...
Special thanks to the Allan and Rolly at Nasty Hockey Show for being strong advocates for this program, and putting together this broadcast. Please check it out!