GAA Youth Development - Community Development Case Study
|Codes: Hurling, Camogie, Football|
Case study: GAA Youth Development
The first step was to set up a Healthy Club project team who carried out a community wide survey to ascertain what areas of health the club and community would like to focus on. Youth development was one of the key topics/ issues which emerged from the survey.
One hundred and thirty teens were surveyed and there were some major stand-out concerns including Respect, Well-Being, Cyber- Bullying, Body Image, Mental Health and Peer Pressure. Alongside adopting the appropriate policies, the club continues to host a series of events, seminars and workshops addressing these key issues.
Within the club:
- Club Executive
- Club members
- Coaches / juvenile mentors
- Child Welfare Officer
- Members of the Health Club Project group
- Juvenile and Camogie Clubs
One of the greatest strengths in the club is the commitment from the Club Executive and the promotion of the project in the club and wider community. The AGM Annual report has a dedicated Healthy Club Section which indicates how seriously the club perceives health and wellbeing.
Outside the club:
- North Tipperary Sports Partnership (NTSP)
- Aras Follain (Peer Support Centre)
- Living Links
- Suicide or Survive (SOS)
- North Tipperary Social Inclusion Unit
- Local schools
- GAA speakers and experts in the areas above
- Local hotel – venue for seminars
- Nenagh Guardian
- Tipp FM
These partners offered support and expertise in the relevant areas with minimum costs to the club.
Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative:
Members of the club aged between 16 – 18 years were recruited through the Healthy Club project to participate in the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative. The programme enables young people to develop the skills, inspiration, vision, confidence, and action plans needed to be effective leaders, both on and off the pitch. It involves 30 hours of workshops covering topics such as decision making, communication, leadership, team building, critical thinking and presentation skills. In addition, participants put their enhanced skills into action through a club or community based action project. The young participants graduated with a Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action from NUI Galway.
Anti- bullying Campaign:
The anti- bullying campaign, Teammates Now – Friends Forever, involved team bonding sessions and trips where juveniles could interact with each other in a different setting. The Club Children’s Welfare Officer engaged with all the juvenile coaches for feedback regarding any issues they had during the season and any future proposals they would like to make.
The club also held a number of seminars and workshops covering the topics outlined in the survey. They were delivered by a range of individuals from county players, mental health advocates to psychologists which were very successful with up to 350 attendees. The main aim of the seminars was to raise awareness about issues affecting individuals, especially youths and to empower participants;
When dealing with instances of harassment, bullying, discrimination etc.
To understand the club policies and procedures in maintaining a safe & respectful sporting environment
To understand the role and responsibility all stakeholders have in ensuring a respectful sporting environment
Other areas of focus included gambling, substance abuse, addiction etc with guest speakers including Justin Campbell (former Galway hurler and professionally trained addiction counsellor) Niall Mc Namee (Offaly footballer, player engagement officer for the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and mental health ambassadors specialising in addiction recovery), John Leahy (Former Tipperary Hurler and HSE Addiction counsellor), Conor Cusack (former Cork Hurler and mental health advocate).
Health and wellbeing is at the core of Nenagh Éire Óg GAC club with a with a particular focus on youth development. The AGM Annual report has a dedicated Healthy Club Section which indicates how seriously the club perceives health. The results of the club and community needs assessment survey were summarised and promoted on all media platforms including newsletters, posters, social media etc. The Healthy Club section in the newsletter highlights all the health promoting initiatives taking place within the club, as well as the details of the Healthy Club Project Team. There is a safe and supportive culture promoted within the club where young people are respected and respectful of others.
Quotes from participants:
"Talks like this have helped me hugely".
“Very enjoyable informative talk with some very simple tips on improving/maintaining health and happiness”.