Hello everyone, my name is Ashley Henson. I grew up a fairly normal kid in the northern suburb of Parafield Gardens. I attended the Pines Primary School, but I didn’t really have a taste for school work and just wanted to talk to the other kids and have fun. Most of my parent - teacher nights involved my parents getting told how much I talked.
In 2001 I started attending Salisbury high school. Soon after starting at Salisbury I became involved with the wrong type of people, I started truanting from school and getting up to some rather mischievous activities. It was about half way through 2002, after some trouble with the police, my parents transferred me to Parafield Gardens High school.
Unfortunately, the cycle of truancy and bad behaviour continued, and when I was about 16 I was put into Parafield Gardens’ alternative education program with Don Anderson. Don was a hard, but fair teacher, and didn’t take crap from any of his students.
Soon after moving into Don’s Group, I was approached about being involved in an ice hockey program for students called the IceFactor. I thought this was a fantastic idea as at the time my mind was not focussed on education and this was an opportunity to learn new skills. Prior to starting the Ice Factor program I had never been ice skating, but I had a lot of fun and the coach John Botterill made sure it was a good laugh. Eventually I could not only stand on two feet on the ice but I could play ice hockey.
As part of Ice Factor, I was involved in some awesome activities, one of which was walking down this run way for the very first Ice Factor Spectacular all those years ago.
I also won an ice hockey coaching clinic through the program, which was run by some of the Adelaide Adrenaline ice hockey players. This was a great experience which included 5 days of on and off ice training, and ice hockey strategy. One activity I particularly remember, and enjoyed was being attached to a parachute and having to run about 50 meters chasing everyone else.
The Ice Factor program gave me the knowledge and confidence to work with others in a team environment and it also taught me that no matter how difficult something is, I could achieve it if I focussed, and put my mind to it.
After the Ice Factor program, I put my resume in at the Ice Arena and was given a volunteer position there and I continued to play ice hockey. I eventually got to play in B Grade as a forward for the Redwings.
During this time, at about the age of 18 my life changed, I met a beautiful woman named Octavia, who was working with me at the Ice Arena, whom I married in 2011, and I’m proud to say we are expecting our first child early in the coming year.
I continued volunteering, while working various jobs until I got a job at the Coles Distribution Centre. Sadly at this point I had to give up ice hockey and volunteering due to the heavy workload and time restrictions of my new job. I hope to soon get back into ice hockey.
A little after a year at Coles I received a permanent job position and that year my wife and I purchased our first home. I have continued to work at Coles but about 2 years ago I began to think about a better, brighter future. Before Ice Factor I did not set goals and did not think that I could be a high achiever.
From a young age I have been interested in computer programming, and especially video game production and design. So, with the encouragement of my wife, I applied to enrol at university, through entry by the Special Tertiary Admissions Test, and to my astonishment, I was accepted for a degree in Information Technology, Games and Entertainment Design.
Last year I completed my first year at UniSA. I finished in the top 15% of all information technology students and I received a UniSA Merit Award. As a result I was invited to join the Golden Key Honours Society. Completing my first year with such great results, I decided to transfer to a degree in Software Engineering, which I hope to complete by the end of 2016.
This program has changed my life, I met my wife, and many friends at the Ice Arena and through the Ice Factor Program. It has taught me transferrable life skills such as;
· Discipline through team training and exercises;
· Efficient and effective team work through off ice coaching which helped the team and I to understand our role better within the team;
· Leadership, as I was the vice-captain of the Parafield gardens team, the Reapers.
· Being able to complete tasks outside of my comfort zone and think outside of the box.
I have done things I thought I’d never accomplish, such as getting married, travelling overseas, buying a home, and enrolling at university. I don’t believe any of this would have been possible if I had not participated in such an amazing program, and for that I am very grateful.
In conclusion, I would like to thank;
· Mrs Marie Shaw for continuing to support such a brilliant program for dis-advantaged youth.
· Don Anderson for always encouraging and believing in, not only me, but all of the students involved in the program.
· My parents and my family for supporting me throughout everything.
· My beautiful wife Octavia Henson for encouraging me to realise my potential.
· John Botterill and the Botterill family for teaching me the fine art of ice hockey and also for the good times on and off the ice.
· All of you for your support of the program; and
· Most of all I would like to thank the Ice Factor Program for everything it has offered and taught me throughout my time spent participating in the program.
Thank you all very much. Have a good night.
- My name is Mel, I'm almost 22 years old and I had the privilege of spending a few of my high school years as a member of the ice factor program... I was recently asked what the program meant for me and my life, and honestly, I've been struggling to write something that truly does it justice.
when I was first offered a place in the program I was a very troubled, very lost, young girl. My first few years of high school went by flawlessly, but in year 10, I had a few things happen in my life that changed me... I didn't know at the time, but I was suffering from depression and anxiety; I had no idea how to handle it! I was constantly skipping school, I was smoking, drinking, hanging with bad people, I had no self worth, and I'd lost all motivation for my life. I was on a downward spiral of self destruction.
The ice factor program saved me. At first I thought it was a waste of time... I couldn't skate, I believed because I was overweight I'd never be accepted as part of the team and I had no self confidence to even try. - I'm very grateful that I was wrong
The ice factor program taught me so many valuable lessons, most of which still influence my life today. Being part of the team taught me persistence, resilience, determination and to never doubt myself or what I can do if I put my mind to it. Even when I spent more time on my butt than my skates, i never received anything less than constant encouragement, from my team, my coach, and everyone involved.
Throughout the program I was blessed with some amazing opportunities and experiences; I was given a scholarship for a creative writing course, I learnt some amazing ice hockey skills, I sang the national anthem at tournaments, and I was part of an ice factor spectacular...just to name a few!
Being part of that team changed my view on life and myself. In the beginning, I was filled with negativity, self doubt, and self loathing, but the people in the ice factor program saw me in a different light... They were all such beautiful people, so strong, supportive and incredibly kind. They believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, they saw my potential... They invested their love, time, and effort into building me up, and encouraging me to be all I could be... Eventually, I began to see myself the same way they did! For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged somewhere... I felt significant!
I could never explain how much ice factor truly did for me... only the ones privileged enough to take part will ever understand the mark ice factor leaves on your life. It was an amazing few years... But sadly, all good things come to an end and as much as I would have loved to, I couldn't be a hurricane forever. I left the program and graduated year 12.
Since finishing school I started a bachelors degree in psychology which I transferred to a youth work degree. All I want for my life, is to do for other young people, what the ice factor program did for me... I want to give them hope, and show them they're not alone. Unfortunately I've had to defer due to personal issues, so at the moment I'm working, aiming to continue my study ASAP! I can't wait to be impacting young lives the way everyone in the program impacted mine!!
Thank you to all the incredible Ice Factor guys who believed in me - you touched my life, I wouldn't be the same person I am today without it!!
- Christies Beach Hurricanes