Monday 14th – Friday 19th Aug 2011 (8.30am & 5.30pm): Energy levels will be soaring as Dundonald International Ice Bowl hosts the fourth year of the cross-community and cross-border Giant HEROS 2011 ice hockey programme.
The residential programme involves 33 young people from Belfast, Holywood and Dublin, spending 3 hours each day on the ice with the Belfast Giants players, and also doing a range of other off-ice activities such as; DVD production, an assault course, swimming, visiting Stormont and workshops around the four H.E.R.O.S. behaviours – discipline, respect, listening & fun! The aim is to use the sport, the team, and the other activities to develop the young people personally, and encourage them to develop understanding and respect for each other.
Sponsored by the George Best Foundation, The Ireland Funds and Co-operation Ireland, the programme builds on a successful model developed by; the partner youth organisations from Dublin, Belfast & Holywood, as well as the Giants Community Foundation and H.E.R.O.S Canada. The 2011 programme has been running over the past few months, culminating with this week long ice hockey camp and a big game and celebration event on the 19th August.
“We’ve been coming to Belfast for 4 years and we love it! Each year we have watched the young people develop real friendships with each other, face and overcome some big challenges together, and learn how to work more effectively with their differences as well as what they have in common.“ explains Norm Flynn, H.E.R.O.S Canada Founder & Director.
“The Giants really believe in the ability of this programme to change lives. By developing the experiences of young people today, we will encourage them to grow as people, and help build a vibrant and peaceful society in the future. We are all looking forward to our week on the ice with them.” Todd Kelman, Belfast Giants General Manager.
George Best Foundation Secretary, Barbara McNarry expressed her support for the programme “The George Best Foundation is delighted to be working alongside the Belfast Giants on this exciting project. The charity works towards giving young people a unique opportunity to learn and develop life skills in social inclusion programmes. Whilst our main driver is football we encompass and encourage all sport. The Belfast Giants HEROS programme fits perfectly with our aims and we hope that every young person gains from this experience and takes away positive messages from this unique project.”
Speaking with the organisers and participants of the programme, the Mayor of Castlereagh, Councillor Jim White was delighted to be hosting the ice hockey camp at Dundonald International Ice Bowl. He said, “I would like to warmly welcome the young people and the Belfast Giants to our excellent facilities at Dundonald International Ice Bowl. We are glad to be involved again in such an innovative project, which will hopefully inspire young people to get active and involved in sport. I hope all the children enjoy their time on the programme and they can put their new skills into practice on and off the ice.”
2011 Giant H.E.R.O.S Christmas Reunion!
The young people from this years Giant H.E.R.O.S Programme got together for a fun filled day. There were laughs, great craic, pizza, ice skating, tour of the odyssey (including the very smelly Giants locker room) and we all finished the day by watching the Giants beat Hull Stingrays; which couldn’t have been a better finish to a great day! With hilarious antics, like their own cheerleading routines and screaming so much they won HMV vouchers!! There were even a few attempts to start a mexican wave! The Giant HEROS really had a super night, they like to think that they were the loudest group in the building that night!
“We are all dying to get back here, we love the programme, and love Belfast Giants and especially Peacock!” explained Nicole
Watch the new Giant H.E.R.O.S DVD created by the young people themselves: