This video was the culmination of many laborious hours (aka weeks) combing through months (aka years) of footage since my initial trip to the Himalayas in 2009. My incredible team at The Hockey Foundation wanted to make sure we did things right before we were finally ready to share what we consider a very special video.
"How Hockey Helps" is the product of 7+ years supporting ice hockey in...
Want to know all about The Hockey Foundation? Who we are, what we do, where we support? This video is the culmination of many years of supporting ice hockey in India and tells our story and the story of how hockey changes lives.
The success of this program is contingent upon the support of warm-hearted, idealistic people & everyone listed above fits that description! Please return the favor and visit their websites and see what they are up to and writing about!
If you have a website and have written about this program, please tell me & I'll link back (plus I want to thank you for your support)! If you would like to write something on your website, please contact me as well, as I'm more than happy and available to contribute to your blog.
I received an email today from SECMOL, requesting hockey sticks (mostly lefty, some righty), skates (men's 6-9), and protective equipment. If you have extra equipment you are able to donate, please contact me immediately.
That being said, the more money raised for this trip, the more money I will be able to use to purchase the equipment requested from local stores & pro-shops. There are a handful of places I can pick up equipment that meets the needs of the village.
The value in sponsorship in sports has been debated at times, but I am in full belief that a sponsorship done right is valuable for all parties, the sponsor, the sponsored, and the consumer. This is no exception. The consumers are not only the villagers in Ladakh, Kahmir, who will see that citizens and businesses all over the world care about their welfare, but to the people that see this website, articles that will be posted in newspapers, magazines and television programs, the book I am writing about this initiative, and in the collateral presented to major corporations, NGOs, and governmental bodies when I return and apply for grants.
Available sponsorship packages include:
Track suit: logo branding/co-branding available for on-ice outfit - $1,000/suit - 3 available
Hat: co-branded hat(s) worn on AND off the ice as it's very convenient - $500/hat - 2 available
Clothing: I have to wear something, so a few shirts with your logo on it will be worn often - $500/shirt - 5 available
Village Hockey Equipment: Equipment companies can donate the equipment as specified above, but please contact me first to arrange details
Volunteer Hockey Equipment: If your company wants to outfit me in your equipment, I will only be bringing 2 sticks, hockey gloves, and hockey skates (I own a brand new pair of Eastons & a beat-up pair of CCM Pro Tacks - I haven't decided which I'm brining, but I would prefer to bring my own skates). That leaves gloves and sticks, as well as a hockey bag and the smaller accessories, like tap, wax, Sweet Stick and/or SkateMate, Blade Tape, etc.). Please contact me first to arrange details.
Sports Memorabilia: This is actually a very helpful donation if done quickly. Any memorabilia donated will be auctioned off towards the program. Auctions take time, and there are fees involved, so larger ticket items that can be shipped quickly are most helpful.
Website Sponsor: The face of this project (other than my face), is this website. Sponsoring my page will give you prominant placement and link-backs. - $5,000
Full-shabang (for equipment companies): If your company wants to be THE sponsor of The Hockey Volunteer, it will include 3 Branded Track Suits, 2 Branded Hats, 5 Branded Shirts, 1 pair of Hockey Gloves, 1 Bundle of Sticks, 1 Hockey Bag, Website/print-collateral, 20 sticks for the village, 10 pairs of skates, an assortment of equipment. This sponsorship package is associated with the Ladakh trip only, and all activites and publications related to that trip. - $15,000
If you have other thoughts for sponsorship or donations, please contact me. All sponsorship packages must be approved by me in advance (contact info on the right side), so as to not wear anything offensive or conflicting. Once agreed upon, sponsors will donate through the ChipIn client (also on the right side), and will write in the comments box what they are sponsoring.
Example: Your company is sponsoring 1 track suit ($1,000) & 1 hat ($500). You'll email adam[at]hockeyvolunteer[dot]org that your company meets the standards (not offensive to anyone/any culture and is not a conflict of interest - which there are few of). Once that has been approved, you will donate on the ChipIn client, select to donate $1,500, and write in "Sponsoring 1 track suit & 1 hat".
It's that easy & affordable, and your contribution will go a long way!
This was the question posed to me by a friend over some Starbucks this evening after she told me she wasn't going to donate, and I felt like I was punched in the gut.
The full question/statement she posed went something like this (paraphrasing): "Aren't there more important issues in the world, like hunger, poverty, war, education, culture? How does this help?"
My response, through my dumbfoundedness, was that going to Kashmir is not exactly a dream vacation for many people (although it should be...Srinagar is apparently gorgeous!). I am also not going to pretend that I'm not going to a beautiful region within Jammu and Kashmir that is somewhat removed from the conflict between India and Pakistan, is predominantly Buddhist, in one of the lease dense areas in the world, in the Himalayas. A key point to make is also that Ladakh is NOT Kashmir...they are in the same state, but are very different regions with a different culture, different people, different EVERYTHING. It is important to recognize this before making any inferences and judgments.
At the same time, Ladakh's border is with China, which is also in dispute with India. SECMOL, the organization I am looking to volunteer for, had a recent scandal with a local government official in Ladakh that tried to sabotage the work they were doing, and cut them off from the outside world. It took the outcries of people from around the world that experienced first-hand what SECMOL was accomplishing. The actions of the prior volunteers caused the Prime Minister of India to remove official of his post.
To recount the significance, this is a peaceful, Buddhist village that runs on solar-electricity and bio-sustainable practices, that is trying to provide children from a remote and tense part of the world the opportunity to get a meaningful education and develop a significant culture. Since rice has been subsidized by the government, the staple agricultural industry, rice, has been effectively wiped out.
What that means, is that these are people that have very little income, poor education, governmental corruption, and the potential for war from either side of their state. Those are the problems she identified, right?
I don't have any grandiose images of negotiating border disputes between countries, nor am I looking to ride the coattails of idealists and travel to a foreign land just to shoot a hockey puck.
When I am with the Ladakhis in Phey, I will be a villager. I will be doing at least an hour of labor on the campus, whether it be farming in the greenhouse, or making sure the solar panels work. I'll also be helping the kids and residents learn English, the language of business and of the educated across the subcontinent (other than Hindi and English, there are 17 official languages in India and over 1,650 dialects). I will be teaching them how to ice skate, as well as teaching the ones that can skate how to play hockey (or improve their skills).
As stated in the mission of my program, the goal is to spread happiness and good karma. If I can achieve this, and continue for year to come to achieve the goal of impacting the lives of people I meet, using the foundation and values of ice hockey as my language, I am confident that as a whole, we can all slowly change the world. If I reach 5 people or 5 million people, the pleasure I will take in other people's happiness will be worthwhile.
The important part is trying.
The state of happiness, love, and compassion will change the world. And this starts with every idealist working together to achieve this and share it, since we can't rely on the ignorant, the cynics, or the skeptics.
I just returned from Green Drinks NYC Island to Island Holiday Party (greendrinksnyc.org), where I met a handful of people as idealistic and enthusiastic as I am about my trip to India. It's very difficult to remain motivated through your idealism and passion when others can't understand, or flat-out insult, what you are trying to do (pessimism is one of the worst traits in people). Fortunately, when you meet peoplewith deep, vibrant enthusiasm and optimism - if not idealism - it's a blessing. Those are the people I am trying to call to action to support my cause!
The praise and energy I received from people today will continue to motivate me through this journey, but I need your help. Please donate...I am looking to depart in less than 2 weeks!
Shout-outs to supporters that are putting positive energy into the Universe:
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)!
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!
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.
"Realistic Idealist" is a phrase I have been using for some time now. John McCain used it in a speech during his campaign. Without getting into politics (although my political affiliation is probably apparent through my idealism, I did not start using it after him, and only realized he used it when I did a Google search on the phrase. What I'm saying is: John McCain copied me.
If you are interested in learning about my background with youth hockey development, in particular internationally, I would like to refer to you to Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey Project Hope (www.nyiprojecthope.com). I had the distinct pleasure of going to China with Angela Ruggiero (www.angelruggiero.com), 3-time Olympian for Team USA in hockey, former Apprentice (season 6) contestant, and all around amazing person. Together we visited the schools in Heilongjiang Province that we were providing hockey resources to. Here is our recap from the Project Hope website. Be sure to visit nyiprojecthope.com & browse around to get a clear understanding of how much hockey can improve a kids life! I hope after seeing some pictures and reading the messages from the kids, you will be interested in donating to my cause for kids in Ladakh to have a similar experience!
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.
That post was from 2007, after we returned from China. Many of the things we wrote about in that letter is exactly what I wrote in my blog here, and once again, I need your support. If you can, please donate.