Published February 22, 2016 22:38
An idea that was sparked over a year ago between the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs and the Vernon Vipers came to life this (last) week: Having the Vernon Vipers wear Pink Jerseys and filling the arena with a captive audience of young members of the community while reinforcing the concepts surrounding Pink Shirt Day. To accomplish this, the idea was proposed to local schools about a game during school hours. The response was overwhelmingly positive. A regularly scheduled season game was set for 11:00 am on February 17th, rather than the typical 7:00 pm puck drop.
More than 1600 students from elementary schools in the North Okanagan arrived in busses to Kal Tire Place. Students were dressed in pink and many classes came with signs, posters and banners of inspiration for both hockey teams as well as to spread messages about Kindness. Everything from the song playlist at the game to the videos at the intermissions were selected to motivate positive thinking and promote self-image.
Prior to the event, “Caught’ cha being Kind cards” were sent to participating schools. The teachers collected and brought completed cards to the Viper game where one lucky name was drawn to win one of the Pink Jerseys and some special seats at the game with his friends. Nolen from BX elementary school was nominated by his teacher for showing kindness to another student. His name was called at the game and cheering could be heard across the arena. He was interviewed by our local radio station 107.5 KISS FM and spent the rest of the game matching the players in his pink jersey. A total of 466 caught’cha cards were turned in at the game, each of which described the act of kindness that had been witnessed in schools.
While the Vernon Vipers lost the game 6-4, the kids continued to cheer and encourage both Vernon and West Kelowna. The Vernon Vipers Hockey Club has received positive feedback and the Teachers plan to use the resource packages provided by the OBGC along with the experience of attending the game to continue the discussions about fair-play, social choices, kindness and the responsibility each person has in making our schools/clubs/teams and communities safer by reducing incidents of bullying.