As mentioned previously, a major component of the Fall trip this year was a hockey school for the children of the Chausy Orphanage. It was sponsored and run by the Malcomson family who are long time supporters of CAC and our work at the orphanage. Additionally they are talented Hockey coaches and have a lot of experience running hockey schools here in Canada. The week long hockey school included classroom training sessions at the “Malcomson Home for Family Living” located on the orphanage grounds as well as on-ice sessions held at the newly constructed arena in nearby Gorki.
Here the students gather around the coaches during an on-ice session:
While in Chausy a meeting was held with the Mayor of the region who presented the Malcomsons with certificates of appreciation for the work they have done to help this region. Here Dave (left) and his son Allan (right) pose with the mayor for a photo.
It was unbelievable the improvement that was realized in only one week. The beginners went from learning to skate to showing off their cross-overs and skating back-wards. Here Kiril shows his smile as he practices his moves.
The motivation for the Chausy Hockey School in a word comes down to happiness. Whether in Canada or Belarus, there is nothing more powerful than creating an honest and genuine smile. That being said, I think when we went over the first time we were curious, we were hesitant and we certainly had not committed to a multiple year initiative. However, then we needed to come back, to see more smiles and the happiness. It is contagious. When you touch someone’s life, you want to feel that sensation over and over. Then the cycle is inevitable, as we plan to go back for our third hockey school, we are looking to recreate the “Magic” from the first two events. We both win, the children’s lives are enriched by sport, teamwork, camaraderie and the lessons we teach them. Despite the fact we tell people we are doing it for “the orphans,” our lives are equally enriched as we learn about culture, reality and camaraderie as well. In the end happiness and smiles, go both ways between the players and the coaches. We will never understand precisely how much joy we bring them, but at the same time, they will never understand how happy we are to go!
It is a week that these children will never forget!