The fifth annual Dream Week concluded on Friday, August 16th and it was nothing short of a huge success. Forty children from Garden of Dreams partner organization, SCO Family of Services, participated in the week’s activities which incorporated each division of The Madison Square Garden Company at various locations in the tri state area. Dream Week has become one of the Foundation’s core programs to expose New York City’s neediest children to exclusive summer activities outside of their daily environment. One Dream Week participant, Coji, said, “My Dream Week was a dream come true”.
Dream Week kicked off with MSG Networks at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey on Monday, August 12th. Red Bulls players Luis Robles, Eric Alexander, Brandon Barklage, and Andre Akpan spent the morning teaching the children soccer skills and playing small-sided games before having an opportunity to interview the players with MSG Networks announcers, Steve Cangialosi and Shep Messing.
The day then continued at the MSG Training Center where the New York Rangers hosted Dream Week on the same ice as where the players practice. Each child laced up their skates, put on their new Rangers practice Jerseys that were personalized with their last names, and took to the ice! Rangers legends Adam Graves and Dave Maloney, MSG Networks announcer John Giannone, and the Rangers Sled Hockey team were on hand to skate with the children and teach them the basics of ice hockey.
Day 2 of Dream Week started off right here in New York City at Radio City Music Hall, where MSG Entertainment gave us the opportunity to participate in the Christmas in August celebrations. The Rockettes led the children in a “Morning Wake Up Call” workout routine before a behind the scenes tour of Radio City! Following the tour, the group stepped outside to see the unveiling of the Christmas in August ice sculpture and receive gifts from Santa.
After departing Radio City, the children headed back to the MSG Training Center for an afternoon with the New York Liberty. The entire team was on hand to give an exclusive tour of the New York Liberty locker room, weight room and classroom. Next, the children headed to the practice court and had a blast being introduced by name and running through a tunnel created by the Liberty players. The players spent time teaching the children basketball skills, and ended the afternoon with a dance party and an autograph session!
Day 3 was spent entirely at the MSG Training Center, and the morning session was all about outdoor fun for Field Day! The group took turns at sliding down the slip ‘n slide, running through the inflatable obstacle course, playing basketball at the Knicks Groove Truck and playing street hockey with the Rangers Road Tour.
The afternoon session for Wednesday was hosted by the New York Knicks, starting with a huge surprise visit from Head Coach Mike Woodson. Coach Woodson spoke with the children and answered questions before everyone headed inside to receive a tour of the Knicks locker room where to each child’s surprise was a personalized Knicks jersey and backpack waiting for them! On the Knicks practice court, the children learned basketball training and performance exercises from As1 Effect.
Day 4 started out in East Meadow, Long Island at Sitan Gym for a Muay Thai kickboxing session with MSG Sports Properties. The Muay Thai professional athletes taught the children basic kickboxing moves, but more importantly the traditional responsibilities of discipline, respect and sportsmanship. Each child was treated with a pair of boxing gloves to take home!
As soon as kickboxing ended, it was time to head to Bryant Park with Fuse to enjoy the Broadway in Bryant Park performances from Mamma Mia!, Motown the Musical, Once and Forever Tango. The children were seated in the first few rows of the park and enjoyed boxed lunches while they watched the performances. They were even able to meet some of the cast members after the performances!
The final day of Dream Week started out at the MSG Training Center with a fun BBQ including special appearances from Rangers players Rick Nash and Derek Dorsett. Following the BBQ, the Dream Week Awards Ceremony, hosted by Damaris Lewis, helped culminate the week. Damaris and Rangers legend Ron Greschner presented each child with a commemorative plaque and a certificate for their participation in the week.
Once the awards ceremony concluded, the group headed to the Prudential Center for Garden of Dreams Night at the New York Liberty game!