Newport GAA promote #GAAyouth

Newport GAA promote #GAAyouth

Newport GAA promote #GAAyouth

Newport GAA promote #GAAyouth

The GAA's National Youth Committee has been given responsibility for an overall programme for Youth Consultation - named #GAAyouth - as the GAA seeks the views of children and young people on the issues that matter to them. The purpose of the committee is to also explore existing models for children and young people to voice their opinions and to make recommendations on how suitable models can be developed going forward.

As part of the #GAAyouth Programme, the National Youth Committee have identified a number of existing initiatives that work well and allow children and young people in the GAA to voice their opinions including the Youth Forum run in Newport GAA Club, Tipperary as well as the Annual Youth Forum organised by Tipperary GAA for players from all clubs in Tipperary.

For the past two years Newport GAA have held an annual Youth Forum in the club, which is organised and run by a group of young players who are in Transition Year. The Forum is held for young players ranging from U14 to Minor level and allows them to talk about issues that they feel should be brought to the attention of the Club Executive. The whole idea started back in 2012 when, Cora Moroney - Children's Officer in the Club - approached a group of players who were doing Transition Year in the local Secondary School, St. Mary's, and asked them if they would be interested in running a Youth Forum for their fellow players.

In addition to this, Tipperary GAA also organises an Annual Youth Forum for players in Transition Year. At the forum, students are encouraged to make suggestions for the improvement of the GAA at local and national level.

To tell us more about the events held by Newport GAA and by Tipperary County Board, spoke with Youth Ambassadors who represented Tipperary at the recent #GAAyouth Consultation Day, including Cian Flanagan, Kevin Connolly and Kealan Floyd (all Newport GAA); Miriam Moroney and Caroline Mullaney (Newport Ballinahinch Camogie Club) and Christina Hayes (Ballina GAA) - all six currently in 5th year in St. Mary's Secondary School, Newport.

Q. Cian, Kevin and Kealan - you three were directly involved in organising the 2014 Youth Forum in Newport GAA - how did you first get involved?

A: Last year we were all in Transition Year and the three lads who had organised the first Youth Forum in 2012 were in 5th Year. They came to us and asked us would we be interested in organising the Youth Forum for January 2014 and all three of us said yes. By November we had picked a date for the Youth Forum and began the organisation for the evening.

Q. What did you have to prepare for the Youth Forum?

A: Firstly, we had to decide how to structure the Youth Forum and what would be discussed. We met once a week to agree the topics that would be discussed. We tried to build on the topics that had been discussed the previous year and selected issues including facilities, links with local schools etc.

As well as that we arranged for Eamon O'Shea (Tipperary Senior Hurling Manager) and Conor O'Mahony (Tipperary and Newport Senior Hurler) to come and talk on the evening about the role of the Club in the Community.

Finally, we had to contact other players to attend so we set up a Facebook group and sent out texts to people. It was really important for us to have good representation not only from Newport GAA, but also from the Newport Ballinahinch Camogie Club as well as the Newport Handball Club so we

made sure to contact players from these clubs as well. By the end of it we had 36 people at the Forum.

Q. Miriam and Caroline - you attended the Youth Forum - what happened on the night?

A. After Eamon O'Shea and Conor O'Mahony spoke to us we talked amongst ourselves with no adults present. The lads had everything prepared in advance and they structured it so that there was 6 groups with 6 people in each group. Every 10 minutes, a new topic would appear on the powerpoint and circulate questionnaires on the topic. The groups would all discuss the topic and come up with answers to the questions.

Q. Cian, Kevin and Kealan - what sort of ideas did the young people have for the Club Executive and did the Executive listen to your ideas?

A. There were loads of ideas and opinions on the night. Our job was to collect the questionnaires and use them to put together a report and recommendations for the Club Executive. It was a really good time to present the ideas as the Club Executive were preparing a 5 year Strategic Plan at the time.

Some of the feedback from the Forum included the need to give equal attention and promotion to Handball. The young people also discussed the need to increase the role of the Club in the local Primary and Post Primary schools and this has happened. Now one of the club coaches comes into our school and is involved with the management of the school team. One of the other recommendations was to construct a Hurling Wall and this was recently built which is great!

Q. How will the Newport Youth Forum be organised going forward?

In the next couple of weeks we will approach some of the current Transition Year students and ask them would they be interested in organising the Forum for January 2015. This year we'll try and involve more Camogie and Handball players in organising the Forum.

Q. All of you attended the Tipperary GAA Annual Youth Forum in early 2014 - what happened on the day?

We were invited to the Annual Youth Forum in The Dome at Semple Stadium. About 70 Transition Year students from all over Tipperary attend the Forum and we discussed a number of issues including Player Welfare and preventing alcohol and drug abuse. Liam Cahill, the Tipperary Minor Hurling Manager also spoke to us. Finally, we got a tour of Semple Stadium where the Stadium Manager, David Morgan, talked about how the Stadium works on big match days.

Q. How important do you think it is for adults to involve young people in decision-making in the GAA?

It is really important that young people have a say in decisions. All of us feel more ownership of the club and we really benefitted from the experience.

Q. Do you think the Youth Forums are a good idea?

Definitely. But it is important to have an adult - somebody like Cora - to support the young people in organising the event. She allowed us to take responsibility for it but was always there providing advice and help.

Q. Christina - you attended the #GAAyouth Consultation Day in June 2014 - what did you think of the day?

I think it was really beneficial for us - it meant a lot that the recommendations were listened to and that action will be taken. It was also important that Camogie and Ladies Football were involved because we aren't always given the same treatment. It was a great way to hear about good ideas in other counties as well as to see that other young people in other clubs and counties are in the same boat as us!

We also got great support from the Tipperary County Board - Seán Nugent (Chairperson), Tim Floyd (Secretary) and Nicholas Moroney (Youth Officer) arranged for our transport and also got us kitted out in Tipperary tracksuits which was brilliant and showed us that they really were behind the idea of young people having a voice in the GAA.

If you know of any ideas or initiatives in your Club or County that help young people to have their say as GAA members, please contact Caoimhe - or 01 865 8622. All ideas are welcome!

For more information on the #GAAyouth programme, visit