Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hockey In the Hood Camp: Day 1

It was a successful first day of Hockey Camp!

One thing that makes DinoMights great is the overall culture of love and respect. Our new kids picked up on that right away. Several of the coaches commented how quickly the new DinoMights caught on. Not just things on the ice, but off as well. They really seemed to catch on in the locker room, they were helpful cleaning up, and they behaved really well.

Night one had all the action that you would expect from brand new hockey players. Keep in might that many of the kids attending last night had learned skating, but not hockey. So we had many of the collisions resulting from new skaters who don't yet know how to stop, which of course led to the classic falls of small children trying to learn something new that warm our hearts every time.

But, I'd have to say the thing that stood out most to me was how well the new kids have embraced how DinoMights act.

This leads me to make 2 observations:

1) Kids do well when they have high expectations

We run a tight ship at "Hockey in the Hood Camp." That is what it takes to have a large number of kids sharing the locker rooms and the ice. Moreover, we believe that our students should get the same summer hockey clinic experience as those with the financial means to enroll in big time camps. So we expect kids to listen, we expect things to stay on time, and we have a plan B for about anything that could go wrong.

Here's how the kids respond: They thrive. Hockey is a safe place to be. There are clear boundaries and clear expectations. They know what to do and how to act. The kids don't have to be on the defensive, they don't have to "watch their backs", because they know that this is a place where they are loved and there won't be negative surprises.
(See Search Institute Assets number 16; Also see Thriving and Sparks)
2) Stereo-typing is not reliable

What I just said about expectations is actually true for all kids. It is true for any kids that are given that kind of opportunity. It really doesn't matter if they are Latino, Black, White, Rich, or Poor. Kids are kids. One cannot assume that just because we are 'Hockey in the Hood' we are also a group of unruly ragamuffins. Actually, many of us are ragamuffins, to borrow the term from Brennan Manning, however given an environment where we are allowed to Thrive we will all give our very best expression of joy to the world.

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