The Flyer Alumni’s 12 Days of Christmas.
In 2019, the Flyers Alumni Association launched a new program designed to become an annual tradition during the holiday season: the 12 days of Christmas giving. Each day for (at least) 12 days, the Alumni association donates money, vital supplies or volunteer time to charities, educational organizations or to individuals or families in need. 2021 marks the third year of the program.
Before the launch: Prior to the “official” start of the 12 Days of Giving for the 2022 holiday season, the Flyers Alumni donated $2,500 to Philabundance for its Camp Out for Hunger Campaign. In total, it was our honor and pleasure to make $37,700 worth of donations of money and goods to the community for the holiday season this year.
The Alumni Deliver Thanksgiving Turkeys to St. Francis Inn
We have made a tradition of annually starting our drive to give back to the less fortunate in our community during the holiday season by personally making a food donation delivery to St, Francis Inn in Kensington. This tradition predates the 12 Days of Christmas program and has become our yearly kick-off donation. The 2022 holiday season is the 17th that we started off with a donation to St. Francis Inn.
On Nov. 21, 2022, we delivered turkeys with all the traditional fixings, hams and daily food staples to St. Francis Inn. As always, we were warmly greeted by Father Michael and other familiar faces whom we look forward to seeing.
Keep in mind, however, that the work of St. Francis Inn is not tied to a calendar date or a certain holiday. Every day and every year, St. Francis Inn does incredible work in serving the needs of the local homeless community.
Learn more here: https://stfrancisinn.org
Spring Mountain Ice:
Free Outdoor Kids Hockey Clinic
We hosted our annual free kids hockey clinic on the outdoor rink at Spring Mountain Ice. A group of six instructors, including the Watson brothers, Brad Marsh, Bob “The Hound” Kelly and Rob Baer (the Philadelphia Flyers’ director of youth and amateur hockey programs) conducted a pair of hour-long sessions with the participating youngsters. At the end of each session, the Alumni gifted tuques emblazoned with the Flyers Alumni logo as a bonus holiday gift to the participating kids.
2023 Fantasy Camp: Free Registration Slot
the Flyers Alumni formally announced another aspect of this year’s 12 Days of Christmas; this one geared toward adult hockey-playing Flyers fans. The Flyers Alumni are giving away one FREE registration to the 2023 Alumni Fantasy Camp.
Alumni Association president Marsh has asked Flyers fans to nominate a deserving candidate for the free slot — it can be yourself, a friend, a loved one, etc — and briefly explain the chosen person’s candidacy. The Flyers Alumni themselves will select the winner.
The Fantasy Camp annually sells out all registration slots far ahead of the actual camp. Registration costs $4,000 but the Alumni want to provide a no-cost opportunity to someone who otherwise couldn’t go. The application is deadline is Dec. 21.
Full details are available here.
Side note: It’s not mandatory, but the Alumni request that applicants include a photo of the nominees showing their Flyers fandom. There is only one Fantasy Camp registration slot available but scores of worthy candidates. As such, the Alumni want to salute these fans, too, with a special photo gallery on the Alumni social media.
Busansky Elementary School
On Dec. 14, 2022, the Bob Kelly presented a $2,000 check to Samuel Busansky Upper Elementary School (Pemberton, NJ) on behalf of the Flyers Alumni 12 Days of Christmas Giving program toward the school’s annual holiday toy drive for families in need. Bob’s wife Stacey was a longtime teacher at Busansky.
Eluna was created in 2000 by Philadelphia Phillies alum pitcher and Souderton, PA, native Jamie Moyer along with his wife, child welfare advocate Karen Phelps Moyer. Founded in Seattle Eluna expanded in 2012 to include a new headquarters in Philadelphia.
The mission of Eluna is to support children and families impacted by grief or addiction. Our innovative resources and programs address the critical needs of children experiencing powerful, overwhelming and often confusing emotions associated with the death of someone close to them or substance abuse in their family. Eluna is dedicated to energizing new research on bereavement and coping with addiction within a household, inspiring political advocacy that will lead to higher standards of care and positive outcomes for children.
Flyers Alumni Association president Brad Marsh and Alumni Association co-founder Joe Watson, a member of the Flyers Hall of Fame, presented a $3,000 donation to Eluna as part of the 12 Days of Christmas Campaign. Joe’s wife, Jamie, works with Eluna as the not-for-profit organization’s special events coordinator.
For more information, visit https://elunanetwork.org/
Every Child Deserves a Bike: Raelynn Morrison
Our signature Every Child Deserves a Bike program originated during our 12 Day of Christmas campaign of 2020. Ever since then, we have annually incorporated an adaptive bike donation to a special needs youngster in the Delaware Valley as part of the 12 Days program during the holiday season.
This year, on Day 6 of our 12 Days, we donated an adaptive bicycle to Raelynn Alaina Morrison of Deptford, NJ. Brad Marsh and Joe Watson were on hand to present Raelynn with her fully customized adaptive bike and to oversee her first bike ride.
Raelynn deals with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and a degree of visual impairment. She is a quadripelegic and will be unable to walk or stand without assistance. However, she has undergone multiple surgeries to obtain a degree of flexibility in her legs and feet.
Was my honour to help deliver an adaptive bike to Raelynn as part of the @FlyersAlumni 12 Days of Christmas and Every Child Deserves a Bike programs. The smile on her face made our day! pic.twitter.com/pVWX0qPFlo
— Joe Watson Official (@JoeWatsonHockey) December 17, 2022
Despite the challenges that she faces, Raelynn is a determined young lady with a positive, can-do attitude. She was an ideal candidate for an adaptive bike, which will allow her for a higher level of independent movement. To learn more about Raelynn and donate directly to Help Hope Live’s Mid-Atlantic Catastrophic Illness Fund set up in her honor, click here.
On Day 8 of the Flyers Alumni’s 12 Days of Christmas, the Flyers Alumni made a $3,000 donation to Team Foster
Team Foster provides disabled veterans with resources that the government, military and Veterans’ Administration do not, including service dogs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), grants to help veterans in financial distress and various other direct support services. The not-for-profit organization was named in memory of Erick Foster, a United States Army Second Lieutenant who made the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in action in Iraq in 2007 after his unit was ambushed by insurgents.
Team Foster partners with accredited service dog trainers to obtain, uniquely train and partner service dogs with injured and disabled Veterans. Each service dog takes two years and more than $25,000 to train. The government does not provide this service. Team Foster helps veterans in need by:
Helping Veterans obtain highly-trained service dogs they need at no cost;
Providing grants for the unmet needs of Veterans and their service dogs;
Ensuring Veteran service dogs receive the highest quality training;
Promoting awareness of service-related PTSD and TBI and advocating for the long-term needs of our Veterans.
Team Foster, the Flyers Warriors program and the Flyers Alumni Association have forged a close relationship. One of the Flyers Warriors players, goaltender Brittany Shortall, obtained her service dog, Rebel, through Team Foster. Rebel not only has been life-changing for Brittany, but he is also a fixture at Flyers Warriors games.
Team Foster hosts 5 or 6 events per year, with one of their signature events being the “Ruff Ride” in June. The 2023 Ruff Ride will take place at Citizens Bank Park on June 3-4. For more information, visit teamfoster.org.
Back on Oct. 23, 2022, the Flyers Alumni presented an adaptive bike to Evangeline Torres as part of Every Child Deserves a Bike program. While Brad Marsh was meeting with the family, he asked Evangeline’s brother, Luis, if he was looking forward to riding his bike along with his Evangeline on her new adaptive bike. Luis informed Brad that he did not have a bike of his own.
On Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas, Brad purchased a bike of Luis’ choosing for Luis to able to ride alongside Evangeline.
My Biggest Fan
On Day 10 of the 12 Days of Christmas, Brad Marsh and Bob “the Hound” Kelly presented a $5,000 check to the My Biggest Fan Foundation. Current Flyers winger Zack MacEwen, who created the foundation to honor the memory of his late father, Craig MacEwen, was on hand for the presentation.
One of the traditions that has developed within 12 Days has been to devote one day to supporting a charity operated by a current or Alum Flyers player. Last year, for example, the Alumni made a donation to Tim Kerr Charities. This year, the Alumni selected Mac’s charity.
The My Biggest Fan Foundation provides financial support to hockey families in need; honoring the sacrifices and devotion Craig MacEwen provided to his own sons to enable them to play the sport they loved. The foundation provides:
Scholarships for hockey schools, post-secondary education, and camps.
Financial support for hockey registrations and tournaments.
Equipment for players in need of support.
MBFF has worked with families across Canada. The main area of focus is MacEwen’s native Prince Edward Island, along with other regions where he played during his formative years in the game including Amherst, Nova Scotia, Moncton, New Brunswick, and Gatineau, Quebec.
“We wanted to show our support for ‘My Biggest Fan’ because hockey families are the backbone of our sport. Zack came up with a heartfelt way to help other families as a way of honoring the memory of his dad. It’s important for all of us Alumni to recognize the role our own families played to make it possible for us to play. It’s our pleasure to help Zack pay it forward,” Marsh said.
Paying Forward Our Good Fortune
On Day 11 of the 2022 edition of the 12 Days of Christmas, the Flyers Alumni visited a family in southeastern PA to spread some holiday cheer. The Alumni purchased groceries for the family of four (a single mom and her three children) and assorted Christmas presents for the family. Every member of the family is a big Flyers fan, so the biggest gift was one for the entire clan: four tickets to attend a Flyers’ game in 2023 as guests of the Alumni. Special thanks go out to Help Hope Live, who connected us with the family. Help Hope Live works with one of the family’s children.
On the final day of the 2022 edition of the 12 Days of Christmas, the Flyers Alumni board selected the winner of our contest to win one FREE registration spot for the 2023 Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp: Geoff Patterson from Cobden, Ontario. Geoff, a longtime Flyers fan, is a retired manager from the Parks and Recreation Department, who is active in playing senior hockey. Geoff serves as the communications director and the play-by-play radio broadcaster for the CCHL’s Pembroke Lumber Kings. An outdoor sporting enthusiast, Geoff enjoys paddling, fishing and hiking. We look forward to seeing Geoff at the 2023 Fantasy Camp (Aug. 18-21, 2023) at the Class of 1923 Arena.