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Terry Smith, secretary of Lavey in Cavan, is adamant about the benefits of the Club Leadership Development Programme.
Terry Smith, secretary of Lavey in Cavan, is adamant about the benefits of the Club Leadership Development Programme.

CLDP provides valuable assistance

By Cian O’Connell

Terry Smith is now in his fifth year as secretary of the Lavey club in Cavan.

Throughout that stint, though, Smith praises the benefits and assistance supplied by the GAA’s Club Leadership Development Programme.

Smith believes it helps volunteers significantly to carry out their duties in the most effective manner possible.

“I've been going to different courses on and off in that time,” Smith says about his involvement as an administrator in recent years.

“After five years I'm still going to them when the opportunity is there. I think it is hugely beneficial to go along to these courses. The tutors are generally different every time, you get a new mix of attendees because a lot of clubs have different people there.

“So they are invaluable. You will always pick up something no matter how long you are involved with a club. Something new will always be picked up no matter what the course is.”

That the tutors and participants differ is one area which pleases Smith. “It is good because the tutors aren't just reading or strictly being led by a defined course - it isn't just a script or a lesson because they are adding their own views and experiences and knowledge that they have added,” Smith states.

Lavey Juvenile GFC members gather for a winter training session.
Lavey Juvenile GFC members gather for a winter training session.

“The most recent one I was at the guy was still involved in playing so he was able to give bits and pieces of his experience making it relatable and making it interesting. You will always pick up something new that you can bring back to improve your own club and your own role.”

Smith has noticed the willingness of GAA clubs to share information and knowledge. That is a real help according to the Lavey secretary.

“Definitely, that has been a big evolution and it is vital that it continues,” Smith replies. “I always say to people clubs that are in a room at these type of courses or meetings, they might have been after doing battle that afternoon, but everyone in the room realises they are there to contribute to their own county moving forward.

“People come from all kinds of diverse backgrounds, different occupations, different roles out there. They are looking for help essentially, for information that is going to help them in their clubs. They know it is a two way thing.

“If there is something they have learned or been in a role longer than someone who is only in it a couple of weeks I think on the whole people are happy to share information and to listen when something new is coming at them.”

Ultimately Smith stresses the importance and value associated with the Club Leadership Programme. Whenever an opportunity exists to acquire further knowledge Smith wants Lavey to be attending. “All the time, there isn't one of the courses, evenings or meetings where you wouldn't learn something,” Smith admits.

“The more of those types of courses that can be given, afforded to people and promoted the more it is going to benefit people. If you are rolling out courses like that which are concise, specific - using different tutors with different backgrounds and keep refreshing those people so it isn't the same guy or girl coming back every year.

The Club Leadership Development Programme provides a valuable service.
The Club Leadership Development Programme provides a valuable service.

“If everybody that is at one of those picks up something new and puts it into practice that makes a huge difference. You are talking about thousands of people in clubs benefit if small things are put into practice. That makes a massive difference across the board.”

Being on the Executive Committee in a club can be demanding, but Smith is certain that the practical tips and advice offered are extremely useful.

“There is a huge amount of detail to the different roles especially when you go into the finance aspect of it now,” Smith continues.

“The governance side and taking into account things like land ownership and property ownership, trustees, deeds of trust, applying for grants, all these kinds of things. They are huge tasks. A lot of important detail is there.

“The more information that can be distributed about those roles the better. Then you go down the road of Child Protection and Child Safeguarding. It is a lot of responsibility, but it is vital for the overall health of the organisation that it is all adhered to. It is vital for the health and future of each club that information is put into practice.

“There should always be a realisation that people coming in on the ground are coming in as volunteers. You could be fortunate you might have somebody involved with the Garda and Child Protection coming in to take the role of Child Protection Officer.

“If you don't, if you just have somebody - an administrative worker, a factory worker, a tradesperson or somebody working in agriculture and they are taking on the role of secretary, treasurer or Child Protection Officer they do need a lot of help, they need a lot of guidance. It is vital that it continues to go on.”

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