Another year of “Healthy Lifestyle” is over and it has certainly been a very busy one. We’ve visited a lot of new schools this year and have made many new friends on our travels. It seems no time at all since we launched our “Healthy Lifestyle” programme in late September and now we’re all looking forward to a new season.
This year we’ve concentrated on two areas. The first of these has involved making decisions about which foods we should eat and which we should avoid. We have then had a practical session where the player demonstrates a series of exercises which can be used as a circuit in school or at home.
The players have worked tirelessly bringing the message about eating properly and taking plenty of exercise to thousands of children. Throughout the season the lads have been out, travelling round, talking to children about what it’s like to be a Belfast Giant and how they, as players have to lead healthy lifestyles to enable them to continue playing ice hockey at the Elite League level.
The players have used their influence as professional sportsmen to convince the children that we all need to try to make our lifestyle more healthy, through getting the correct balance of foods and having a good exercise regime.
It is quite remarkable to watch the look of awe on the children’s faces when a player is introduced to them. Anything a Giant says is sure to be listened to and much more likely to be acted on simply because one of the Belfast Giants is saying it!
Naturally the children are also very interested in the fact that their schools are receiving tickets to a Giants’ game. It has been great to meet lots of these children who have been coming along to the Odyssey with other members of their families.
We have also had a great increase in the number of schools which have been using their tickets to bring a school visit to a game. Over 70% of the schools now bring a group to the Odyssey.
Our sincere thanks go to the teachers and parents who have given up their time to bring the children along, although I have a sneaking suspicion that the vast majority of the adults enjoyed the night as much as the kids did.
Also an enormous thank you goes to Subway who have provided the Giants with the funding necessary to make “Healthy Lifestyle” the undoubted success it has been this season.
And what about the players? It isn’t easy to get up in front of what can be in excess of two hundred children and talk to them for ten or fifteen minutes. You’ve done a great job lads. What you have been saying has the potential to have an amazing influence on the lives of those young people to whom you have spoken.
Finally, a word about the schools. You’re great! No matter where the players went the schools were delighted to see them. Schools are all individual communities and we’ve been made to feel very much a part of those communities during our visits.
Thanks also to the schools for all your kind comments on the relevance of our Healthy Lifestyle material and the follow up work we have provided.
It means a lot to the Giants to know we are contributing in a positive way during our school visits.
So now it’s on to thoughts of next season. Well we’ve already started to make plans to reach even more schools beginning in September 2014 and we’ve decided what our focus will be for next season.
To the schools we say have a very successful summer term and a well earned summer holiday.
The Giants will be back on the road in September!!
Gordon Cameron – Belfast Giants Schools’ Co-ordinator