JOHN H. McCONNELL

SCHOLARSHIP FUND

McConnell The Columbus Blue Jackets in partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, have established the John H. McConnell Scholarship Fund in honor of the team’s founder.
#CBJGIVES

#CBJGives: Nationwide Children's Hospital

 

On our last day of #CBJGives profiles, we thought we would highlight one of our strongest partnerships, our friends at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

It starts with the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Family Resource Center, a place of comfort for families at the hospital, providing the warmth of home with a lounge, kitchen, laundry and play area, and maybe a little hockey fun as well. (Our Hats for Heroes showcase is the picture above).

Our partnership continues with bike helmets, a joint venture that rewards kids for riding their bikes with their helmet on in their neighborhood, a special ceremony recognizing their safety. A brand new Blue Jackets Foundation branded helmet awaits them at the ceremony - and a hug from that lovable bug, Stinger.

Our partnership wouldn’t be complete without our regular patients visits - they’re the highlight of not only a kid’s day, but also our players.

We love our friends at Nationwide Children’s - they really are our best friends.


#CBJGives: Ohio Sled Hockey

 

The coolest thing about hockey is the way kids of all abilities and sizes find a way to play the game. And what is cooler than playing hockey on a sled?

Ohio Sled Hockey is dedicated to providing individuals with physically disabilities an avenue to participate in a competitive sport setting of sled hockey. Further, the program provides an opportunity for the development of qualities and values learned in sport to be carried over to the daily life of an individual and athlete with a disability.

We love to support Sled Hockey in a variety of ways, whether it’s helping them get to this year’s NHL Sled Classic in Pittsburgh, alleviating the cost of equipment, and of course, being their number one cheerleaders.

Any program that helps to grow the experience of ice hockey and ultimately will break down the physical barriers to the game is a program that we want to be a part of - and we’re so happy to do so.


#CBJGives: Youth Hockey

 

Sometimes while playing the game that we love it becomes expensive to stay protected and educated about the game of ice hockey. We’re happy to help support CCYHA, EYHA, One Goal Association, and other local youth hockey programs in giving all kids the opportunity to play the game of ice hockey.

The Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) is committed to the development of youth ice hockey players in central Ohio. CCYHA offers various hockey programs for youth to high school players, including both girls and boys teams. Through a financially stable and educational environment, CCYHA provides a first class hockey experience for all youth players.

While girls’ hockey is becoming more prominent in the central Ohio area, CCYHA is devoted to growing this aspect of their organization and program. Through our support, CCYHA provides a hockey experience for girls’ that is filled with encouraging support, instructional hockey guidance, community sponsorship, training for coaches, and activities to create a more stabilized program in order to grow the game. The CCYHA girls’ hockey program has nearly doubled within the past year with now having 75+ participants in the program and we’re happy to assist CCYHA in developing a sustainable and supportive girls’ hockey program in order to give the full hockey experience to female athletes in the Columbus-area.

Our continuing support of the Easton Youth Hockey Association allows for all participants to reach their fullest potential by having love and respect for the game of ice hockey. EYHA is devoted to helping kids learn the skills of ice hockey while also developing characteristics of sportsmanship, commitment, leadership, and teamwork. This past year we were able to offer 30+ players with full and partial scholarships. Here at our foundation, we love providing the opportunity to grow the game to those that may not have the resources to take the ice.

Finally, our partnership with One Goal Association provides ice hockey equipment starter sets for new players. The purchase of equipment and playing fees can become expensive for a first-time ice hockey player, but through our support of One Goal Association, we are able to provide new ice hockey families the opportunity to play the game without having to purchase new equipment.

We are grateful to make the game of ice hockey accessible to all kids and we are looking forward to continuing these partnerships with youth hockey associations in coming seasons.


#CBJGives: Make-A-Wish

 

You might say that some of the work we do with our pediatric cancer heroes is similar to work that the Make-A-Wish Foundation does, specifically providing opportunities for kids with pediatric cancer and their families to heal through distraction.

So it only makes sense to partner with Make-A-Wish then, right?

We’re proud to announce Make-A-Wish as a new partner of ours, helping to off-set travel and other expenses for families with kids with life-threatening conditions. Our own pediatric cancer heroes often take these trips-of-a-lifetime, and we couldn’t be happier to support. Plus hearing feedback like this from Make-A-Wish, gives us the feels all over again:

While our mission is to grant the wishes of kids with life-threatening medical conditions, our impact goes well beyond making a single wish come true. In fact, most adult former wish kids say they felt stronger because of their wish. Through the wish process, families feel “normal” again by focusing on something other than treatments.

Bringing a little bit of normal back to our heroes - we like the sound of that.


#CBJGives: Westgate Playground

 Blue Jackets Westgate playground

Remember last summer when we built this awesome hockey themed playground? Even the guys at Puck Daddy thought it was cool.

Well, guest what? We’re building another one!

Coming this September, we’ll be transforming an area of Westgate Park with a Blue Jackets-themed playground. It’ll be the icing on the cake for the park, as the park is already renovating their recreation center.

We’ll be partnering again with our friends at Columbus Parks & Rec and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association - you can see the mock-up of the new playground above.

We’re so excited to give the kids at Westgate a hockey-themed place to play and can’t wait for it’s completion.


#CBJGives: YMCA of Central Ohio

 YMCA Columbus Street Hockey

We think it’s safe to say that we love the game of hockey and we’re pretty sure that you do as well.

That’s why we’re excited to announce a new partnership today, one with the YMCA of Central Ohio, to enhance and improve the street hockey programs they provide at their centers around Central Ohio.

The YMCA’s program gives over 400 kids the opportunity to build respect and love the sport, fans, players and referees. Further, it educates parents and kids on healthy competition and the safety and rules of street hockey. We think it’s best to let them explain just how awesome this opportunity is:

"YMCA Street Hockey is an opportunity for young children and young adults to become physically active through exercise on a regular basis. Children will learn the skills, fundamentals and safety of the game. Character development will occur among kids, young adults and their parents [and] the program will elevate love and respect of the game."

In addition to our partnership helping to host street hockey classes at your local Y, our help will also hire and train YMCA staff and support the purchase of new equipment as well.

Growing the game - we love the sound of that.


#CBJGives: The Childhood League

 

Do you remember the days when it was just you and your tricycle (or big wheel!) ready to hit the open road? You know, the open road that was the neighborhood block. ;)

It turns out sometimes the tricycle is more than just a way to cruise around, it can also be used for physical therapy and activities for kids with special needs and developmental delays. That’s what our partnership with The Childhood League is all about.

The Childhood League Center offers an environment to supports the growth of kids and families by fostering values of self-worth and confidence. They shared with us:

“We know that movement matters to brain development and for the physical development of healthy and strong bodies. We also know that movement matters to the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation as physical activity and play are essential to the Foundation’s mission.”

They’re right that physical activity and play are important to us, which is why we’re happy to help them purchase 11 hand-powered tricycles, 4 scooting tricycles and 13 pedal-powered tricycles and assist in funding the physical therapy program.

After all, helping any kid get out and play, is just a fun as cruising the open road.


#CBJGives: Columbus Ice Hockey Club

 Columbus Ice Hockey Club

Imagine being given a stick and a pair of skates and not knowing ANYTHING about hockey. Sounds a little intimidating, right?

That’s why we’re proud to support the Columbus Ice Hockey Club (CIHC) - they help take the intimidation away from the game and creating an approachable atmosphere to hockey. Affiliated with the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program, and Columbus Parks & Rec, CIHC provides ice skating and hockey instruction to minority at-risk youth ages 4-18. Affecting over 3000 Central Ohio youth, the club uses hockey to teach teamwork, camaraderie, self-esteems and leadership all as part of their core skills off-the-ice.

Our support helps the CIHC provide Try Hockey for Free Days, pond hockey, skating sessions and Learn to Play/Learn to Skate programs, as well as the creation of a girls hockey program. And they just might have introduced us to our favorite new stick handling drill. So fun!

We love seeing CIHC’s program grow and flourish and are so happy to call them grant partners.


#CBJGives: Easter Seals of Central Ohio

CBJ Foundation Life Skills Center 

We think every kids deserves the opportunity to play in their community, a mission we share with Easter Seals of Central and Southeast Ohio.

Easter Seals promotes physical activity for kids with special needs and disabilities and gives them the opportunity to live, learn and work in their respected communities. One of the ways they achieves this is through our Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Life Skills Center - a large indoor gym with a ballpit, basketball hoop, slide, climbing wall and, of course, a place to play indoor hockey.

Our support helps serve 2700 families in the Central Ohio area and helps Easter Seals expand their programming from camps during the summer to year-round activities.

It’s support we’re proud to offer - especially when you see the delight on kids faces when they have the opportunity to play.


#CBJGives: Ohio Youth Hockey Association

 Ohio AAA Blue Jackets

We’ve always said that as a foundation, we’re committed to supporting and growing the game of hockey regardless of ability to play. Some of our youth organizations we support help beginners, and then there’s some, like the Ohio Youth Hockey Association, that are actually teaching future NHLers.

The Ohio Youth Hockey Association, the parent organization for the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, sets forth to provide an elite level of ice hockey for youth in Columbus. With the recent championship in the Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament, "the most important minor hockey tournament in the world", the AAA Blue Jackets provide the highest level of hockey for Columbus and Central Ohio youth.

Our funding helps the scholarship fund for the AAA Blue Jackets, assisting families of players in financial need, and helping to cover high travel and playing fees associations with elite hockey.

With proven success on the ice, we’re so proud to support the Ohio Youth Hockey Association.


#CBJGives: After-School All-Stars

 After-School All-Stars with Stinger

Because of YOU, this year we’re able to touch and partner with more organizations helping kids in the Central Ohio area.

One of those organizations is After-School All-Stars (ASAS), a group that offers free after-school programs in order to keep kids safe. After-School All-Star helps over 500 Kindergarten-8th graders in Columbus by providing engaging and empowering activities that continue purposeful learning after the school day has ended.

One of those activities is the Sports As A Hook program, which helps kids develop skills suck as teamwork, vision, discipline and respect through sports. We’re proud to help fund and participate in this program, as well as fund ASAS LiFE Sports curriculum, which betters that quality of sports programs available to challenged youth.

We can’t wait to share with you further all of the amazing partnerships we’ve created with After-School All-Stars this year!


#CBJGives: Boy Scouts of America

 Skate into Scouting

Raise your hands - how many of you were Boy Scouts growing up?

Hockey and Boy Scouts have a lot of character traits in common - dedication, respect, hard work - so it only makes sense that a further partnership was born, introducing scouts to hockey skills on the ice. That’s how Skate into Scouting was born.

Skate into Scouting is our partnership with the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America that introduces scouts to the game of hockey and provides them an avenue for physical activity through skating at the Chiller Ice Rinks. Since 2008, over 25,915 scouts in Central Ohio have been introduced to the game and reciprocally, introduced to the benefits of of Boy Scouts membership.

"Thanks to the generosity of the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, the partnership has introduced thousands of youngsters to the sport of hockey and continues to reinforce our important, mutual belief: that encouraging youth to embrace physical activity and healthy habits will improve community wellness for years to come."

Scouting and skating - we like the sound of that.


#CBJGives: A Kid Again

 A Kid Again

It’s moments like the picture above that help restore a kid’s healing and happiness when they’re sick. Moments that we’re proud to help create for our friends at A Kid Again.

Together we’ve partnered to create a Blue Jackets Adventure, a chance for kids to be kids at - where else? - a Blue Jackets game. Upon arrival at Nationwide Arena, we roll out the red carpet and are so happy to provide experiences from zamboni rides, to bench warming - and of course a Stinger visit - all during the game.

Here’s just a little bit of what our friends shared with us about the experience:

"The Blue Jackets Adventures continues to have a very high percentage of attendance and, not surprisingly, our families LOVE their Columbus Blue Jackets. [You] help us to provide Hope, Happiness, and Healing for our families raising kids with life-threatening illnesses!"

You can see why we love supporting groups like these - and we look forward to their visits year after year. Thanks A Kid Again!


#CBJGives: CCYHA Special Hockey

CCYHA Blue Jackets Special Hockey - Skating at Nationwide Arena! Feb. 1, 2014 from Dave Weissman on Vimeo.

One of the things we love most about hockey is it’s inclusiveness, welcoming all abilities and age levels to the game regardless of your ability to play.

It’s the reason we love giving clinics to all ages and abilities, visiting all areas of the state, and supporting organizations like CCYHA Special Hockey.

CCYHA Special Hockey is an organization committed to providing the game of ice hockey to kids with developmental disabilities. Affiliated with the American Special Hockey Association, they allow athletes of different mental and physical abilities to play, and make the program affordable for kids who wish to be a part of it.

Team manager Chris Wenzke specifically mentions alleviating the financial burden for special needs families:

"The assistance we receive from the Foundation keeps our program affordable so we can attract many families with special needs kids to the program."
Our shared commitment to growing the game seems to be working - Special Hockey has expanded their Learn-to-Skate sessions to attract new players to the program and expanded their schedules to play in three ASHA tournaments this past season.

Giving all kids the chance to play the game we love - you can see why we’re so happy to support this organization.


#CBJGives: Flying Horse Farms

Flying Horse Farms
The positivity, exuberance, excitement and unrelenting compassion that radiates from Flying Horse Farms makes every camper, volunteer and staff member feel a sense of appreciation, a sense of family, and a sense of belonging when they're at camp. We were lucky enough to experience this for ourselves and its just one of the many reasons we love supporting this great organization.

Flying Horse Farms allows kids with various medical conditions, cancer, asthma, heart and kidney disease, to experience the age old past-time of summer camp and most importantly, to just be kids. Kids get to experience activities ranging from boating to sports, archery to ropes courses, and maybe even a game of ball hockey on the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Sport Court. These are all activities that help heal through distraction, and for a lot of campers, all activities they never thought would be possible.

The most symbolic aspect of Flying Horse Farms is the "hole in the wall" - the entrance to camp, and once a camper passes through, they leave behind the stresses and worries that might face on a daily basis.

Because camp is free for all kids regardless of their ability to pay, we're thrilled to provide support to Flying Horse Farms for their programming. After all, the true magic of camp, is all of the friendships and possibilities it creates that last a lifetime.


#CBJGives: KidSMILES

KidSMILES Pediatric Dental Clinic

Sometimes it’s hard to get kids to brush their teeth.

But mix together one part Stinger + a giant toothbrush + a school assembly and you’ve got a recipe to teach kids the importance of dental health.  Oh, and maybe have a good time too.

KidSMILES Pediatric Dental Clinic does exactly this, visiting over 15 elementary schools over the past three years to educate kids on good dental hygiene. In addition to a visit from Stinger, kids get a goody bag of dental supplies, a brushing timer, dental health tips and a Stinger coloring page.

But KidSMILES also takes it one step further, administering $10 dental appointments to Columbus-area kids in need at their new clinic, which opened last summer.

That’s why we’re proud to be a founding organization for the program.  Anytime we can keep kids healthy in a fun an interactive way, we love to be a part of.


#CBJGives: Flashes of Hope

Flashes of Hope

These are the pictures that give us all the feels….

It’s the joy on the kids’ faces, the honor written on our hockey players faces and the beautiful moments and memories that can only be captured at a Flashes of Hope photo shoot.

That’s why we love our friends at Flashes of Hope.  They provide an opportunity for kids with cancer to enjoy a must-needed break from treatment by offering photo sessions that make them feel confident about their changing appearance.  The great thing about these photos is that they not only capture their bravery and courageousness, but also the simple joy of being a kid.

Over 300 kids have been served through our funding on the Columbus chapter, 300 families who have an experience like this one:

“We were hesitant to have the pictures done, [but were] totally blown away with the quality and LOVE them. I can look back on that phase of (patient’s)battle and smile because of how you captured the moment. Thank you for providing me this memory. I am forever grateful.”

Our support also extends beyond the Columbus area – we’ve introduced Flashes of Hope to nine NHL teams across the country. Flashes of Hope is an integral part of our pediatric cancer heroes program and we’re thrilled the memories that our heroes and players form here locally also have an opportunity to extend to many other kids around the nation.


#CBJGives: Ronald McDonald House

CBJ Foundation Community Room

There might not be more of an iconic philanthropy image than that of the Ronald McDonald house – with Ronald McDonald himself giving a kid a helping hand. 

If we could add a third helping hand to that image, a Blue Jackets hockey glove, we would do so, not only because we love to support our local house, but we’re even more excited to deepen our relationship with them this coming season.

Our relationship with the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio dates back to 2010, when we started to help assist families with children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital via the house’s Helping Hands program.  See, we’ve always believed that we can help fight pediatric cancer through treatment and research, but we also believe we can help the fight through the power of healing through distraction – helping to relieve the stress of treatment for both kids and their families.  Helping Hands does exactly this – providing the comforts of home at the Ronald McDonald house across the street from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Comforts such as home cooked meals, a place to stay, and an environment to recharge – providing both emotional and physical comfort and allowing families to be close to their child. This past year our funding provided comforts for 32 families staying at the house.

This year we’re also excited to expand our relationship with the house, thanks to our very own Lady Jackets.  The Lady Jackets are already volunteers at the house – read Brett Letestu’s first hand account here – but they wanted to take their commitment further and dedicated the funds raised from their Player Favorite Basket auction at the holidays to create a princess room.  Officially called the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Community Room, can you think of a better place to heal through distraction than in a fairy-tale castle?  Look for a reveal of this room closer to the start of the season, complete with a celebratory Tea Party to boot.

We love funding our friends at the Ronald McDonald House – and look forward to a continuing partnership for years to come.