Los Angeles youngsters to visit Fylde

Los Angeles youngsters to visit Fylde

Many people have heard of the School of Hard Knocks – an initiative which brings together groups of adults, teenagers & youngsters who are socially disadvantaged, unemployed, often from inner cities, to learn through rugby.

They have never played the game before and the scheme is intended to enthuse them about the game whilst using it as a learning and development opportunity. They occasionally field a team which plays competitively against a conventional club. Sky Sports TV has a regular series covering the guys involved, the build up to games, training and so on.

Ryan De La Harpe has helped out with the coaching and Paul Arnold has also contributed. It can be quite inspirational when individuals progress in self-confidence, benefit from team work and so on.

The SoHK also has a collaborative scheme with a US venture called ICEF Rugby, an initiative started in Los Angeles by former player & coach Stuart Krohn, as a programme assisting young people in the Southern part of the City. ICEF has an impressive record in helping young people re-orient their lives, gain self-confidence, get out of gang problems & criminality, reach college – and mainly to enjoy playing rugby!

Most know nothing about the game before getting involved in the project. Part of their programme involves taking parties of their students abroad to play rugby and gain knowledge of a wider world. Some of their personal stories are also affecting and they act as role models in other community schemes.

The SoHK is hosting a visit by 24 ICEF students – 12 boys, 12 girls, all 16 or 17 years old – to the UK in March/April.

On the 3rd of April they are in the North West and will be attending the Sale Sharks v Northampton Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final. On Saturday 5th they are playing on Merseyside in the morning and will then be coming by minibus to the Woodlands to see a top community club in action as we take on Henley Hawks.

They hope to meet Bill Beaumont, Brian Ashton & Mark Nelson during their visit.

Filming their trips is an important part of their global publicity effort and they will be doing that on the 5th. The party will consist of the 24 young people, 4 staff/coaches, 4 members of the film crew and a couple of SoHK staff.