Following a successful first round of hockey camps, the Adam Herold Leadership and Development Program is looking for new towns to apply for next season.
The inaugural programs took place in Gravelbourg and Balcarres, with a mini-camp happening in Montmartre where Adam learned to skate. Roughly 160 kids took part in the four-day camps in the small towns and learned plenty of new skills.
"We're doing more than just hockey," Adam's father, Russell Herold said. "The whole idea was to show kids, especially from rural communities that sometimes don't have the opportunity because of distance or whatever, to get exposed to high-level training and see what it takes to play at a higher level. To see that there are things they can do at home, especially on the off-ice side of it, you don't a big fancy gym to work out, you can work out properly if shown how to do it."
To help with these new skills, the Adam Herold Legacy Foundation brings in ex-pro hockey players and certified trainers with their hockey development.
"The feedback was excellent. Kids are getting exposed to on-ice guys as well as off-ice that are ex-pros most of them. They've been in the hockey community a long time and they've got a lot of accomplishments of their own," Herold noted. "They're showing kids skills that they don't get in their own home community and it's pushing the kids and pushing their limit a little bit, showing them what to improve on."
Hockey development is only half the title for these camps, with leadership being the other aspect. Kids are taught what it means to be a member of the community and as part of completing the camp must do 10 hours of volunteer work. Herold believes it's just as important, if not more important than the on-ice portion.
"We've got the leadership component of it where we talk about giving back into your community and how to be a leader in your community. That's an important part of it, that's what we think will set us aside from the normal hockey camp. It's much more than that — it's to help develop leaders in the community," he said.
That side of the program is where they've gotten the most feedback. Parents and coaches have noticed a change in attitudes of some of the younger kids and have noticed more community involvement.
There are classroom sessions where kids are taught these skills and why they're important. They are also shown videos from NHL players Brayden Point and Josh Morrissey, as well as coach Mike Babcock on what being a leader is and why it's important.
Another cool aspect is that the camp doesn't necessarily cost families any money. The selected towns will have the camps for their entire minor hockey association, but the onus is on the kids to raise some money leading up to the camp. Whether it's through a car wash or helping clean yards and homes, the players themselves raise money to help cover the costs of the instructors. However much they can raise is paid, and if it's not enough the difference is covered by the Adam Herold Legacy Foundation.
It's a different approach and they're trying to help kids be better humans, not just better hockey players. Herold said it's one way they're trying to give back.
"Our friends that helped in starting this foundation with us, they thought Adam was too good of a kid to just be forgotten," he said. "We needed to continue his legacy and this was a way to do it. It's a way to show the kid he was, the leadership side of Adam and the giving back to his community and his teammates. You just want to spread some of the good things that he would have done in his life if he would have had the chance."
Any towns or communities looking to apply can check out www.adamheroldlegacyfoundation.ca to see requirements and the application process. The deadline to apply is March 31 and two communities will be selected for camps for the 2019/2020 hockey season.