Our team, Silver Seven Major Atom AA, talks a lot about leadership, particularly leading by example, on and off the ice. Every year we do a couple of things outside hockey and the rink for the community.
In the past our teams have done Terry Fox runs, food drives, Christmas carols and cookies for seniors, Christmas good deeds, etc. We don’t do a lot, usually two or three small things over a season. The point emphasized to the kids is, “What if everyone did a little bit? It would really add up, and as leaders we need to step forward to show an example.”
This year while working, I heard a call for help on the radio from the Ottawa Food Bank. They needed volunteers for their Community Harvest Program at the Black Family Farm, just south of Stittsville.
Our team is made up 17 ten-year-old boys. We volunteered three hours of time, as a way to help the community, and as a thank you to our sponsors. The work was done on their behalf as well. It was super hot yesterday, but not one complaint from the kids, they actually enjoyed it and wanted to know if we could do it again. It was a tremendous team bonding activity. I was very proud of the whole team.
The boys had no idea what they would be doing on the farm. I let them know we’d be doing whatever the farm needed. Yesterday they needed to harvest onions, and our team attacked that field like a swarm of locusts. In less than three hours our team had harvested about 1,500 lbs of them. Cut the greens & roots off, piled them in boxes, and helped drop off all the waste in the compost. Then enjoyed some watermelon from the farm for their hard work.
The Food Bank farmer, Jeremy, was beyond our expectations. He was an enthusiastic teacher who taught the boys about farm safety, sustainable farming, and how to identify poison ivy and wild parsnip.
He also did a fantastic job explaining to the boys the end result of all their work. The basic math explained was: 1,500 lbs of onions, 2 lbs per bag, 1 bag per family that visits the Food Bank, therefore 750 families would receive a bag of onions as part of the food they would receive. This really resonated with the kids.
(Chris Etheridge is coach of the Silver Seven Major Atom AA.)
— Coach Chris' Hockey (@coach_ce) September 16, 2017