Rams-in-Training program teaches life skills

By University Advancement
Photo by Winston Chow

Close to 190 school-aged children will get the opportunity to become Rams in training starting on January 14.

Rams-in-Training is a 20-week program that teaches children and youth who play hockey a variety of athletic and life skills. Children from age seven to 16 are split up into six groups and each week will participate in various classes including off-ice training, nutrition and day-in-a-life. Ryerson athletics partnered with the Moss Park Hockey League, Toronto Police Service, Loblaws to host the students from six inner-city schools.

“There is so much more to sport than just keeping score,” said Ivan Joseph, athletics director. “Rams-in-Training is a great team effort by many groups that all recognize the value of community, leadership development and the positive reinforcement of doing things right. We believe this is a tremendous program for youth in our neighborhoods and we are as excited as they are to begin.”

The NHLPA Goals & Dreams Fund donated 50 sets of brand new equipment to the Rams-in-Training program. The donation was part of the RBC Play Hockey Charity Challenge in Dec. 2012 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Each week participants will take evening classes at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). Each class is led by three mentors –Rams athletes, police officers and Ryerson nutrition student. Twelve Ryerson nutrition students will work with a nutritionist from Loblaw and Cecilia Rocha, director of the School of Nutrition, to teach nutrition three times a week. Children and youth will learn how to cook and the nutritional value of different foods.

Two of the six groups are specific to goalies and girls and Toronto Police Service will offer horse and SWAT training for each group.

Tri-Mentoring will give campus tours and show visitors university features such as science labs and journalism studios. Many of the Rams athletes are familiar with the children and youth, having met them through the Rising Rams mentorship program.

Ryerson’s Spanning the Gaps outreach program will also conduct workshops for parents to tell them more about Ryerson and what they have to offer and how, if needed, they can complete their General Educational Development test. Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program, which helps financially disadvantaged children participate in organized sport and recreation, will provide buses to bring the youth to and from the MAC.

Off-ice training will include skate treadmill exercises, water fitness and lessons on how to stretch properly and mend injuries safely. A Gould Street NHL day is planned for March along with a tournament in early April. The tournament will include a skills training camp where children will have the opportunity to change groups based on their skill level. The classes all build up to on-ice time in late April. The program ends in late May concluding with a banquet.

By Antoinette Mercurio, University Advancement

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