Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative continues to inspire next generation

May 30th, 2018 | Club News, News

26 May 2018; Participants, members of the Earley family, and Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan in attendance at the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Recognition Day at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

On the same year as Dermot Earley Senior would have turned 70 years of age, nearly 400 people gathered together in Croke Park on Saturday, May 26th to celebrate his great legacy. The Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative, delivered in partnership with Foróige and NUIG, seeks to empower GAA members aged 15 to 18 years-old to make a positive difference in their club, county, and communities through values-based leadership. On Saturday, 166 young men and women from clubs across nine counties (Mayo, Roscommon, Galway, Kildare, Offaly, Dublin, Antrim, Donegal and Monaghan) received a certificate from Uachtarán Cuman Lúthchleas Geal, John Horan, to mark their completion of modules one and two of the progamme. Of these 82 are scheduled to complete module three, graduating from NUIG with a Level 6 Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action in October.

Five young leaders shared their experiences of the programme, which was designed by youth organisation Foróige, with the assembled family and friends: Cera Kenny (Naas GAA Club, Kildare), Ciaran Harkin (Annaghdown GAA Club, Galway), Cormac Henry (Mayo Gaels GAA Club, Mayo), John Higgins (St. Brigids, GAA Club, Antrim) and Molly Dempsey (Raheny GAA Club, Dublin). They recalled how the programme has transformed them from shy, quiet, teenagers to people who now possess the skills and confidence to take on responsibilities within their local GAA club and community. They spoke on how they have learnt leadership and life skills such as communication, goal setting, self-awareness and reflection; how they have the wherewithal to break down challenges when they arise, building resilience in the process. Most of all they highlighted the connections and friendships they have made along the way. Helping to guide their nine-month journey through this exploration of leadership were a troupe of facilitators volunteers from within the GAA and Foróige, each of whom completed a four-day Diploma in Training and Education delivered by NUIG and Foróige. On the day all tutors were recognised for their time and commitment to the programme and provided with certificate from NUIG’s Registrar Pol O’ Dochartaigh.

The Earley family were represented on the day by Dermot’s wife, Mary, and their children, Dermot Jr, Anne-Marie, Noelle and Paula, including some of the extended Earley family. Dermot Jr, a former Kildare inter-county All Star, said: “My father was passionate about enabling young people to achieve their full potential. On behalf of the Earley family we are delighted to give our support to this initiative and look forward to the positive influence these young leaders will have on their GAA clubs, their communities and beyond.”

An Uachtarán CLG, John Horan, said; “The Association and the Irish nation are built on the shoulders of our great leaders of the past, such as Dermot Earley senior. The GAA’s future and the communities we serve will be built on the leadership of these young men and women. I want to acknowledge the NUIG’s contribution in providing a tangible academic recognition for the work the facilitators and the participants are putting into this exciting programme and Foróige for their exceptional programme content and support.”

David O’Reilly, Chairperson of the National Council of Foróige said; “Foróige is delighted and honoured to join with the GAA and NUI Galway to roll out the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative.  Dermot Earley epitomised the values of true leadership on and off the field and we hope it inspires participants to take a leading role in the GAA and their community.  We are proud to be associated with the legacy of Dermot Earley in such a meaningful way.”

Stacey Cahill, GAA National Co-ordinator said; “I want to thank our troupe of tutors, from the GAA and Foróige, for giving so freely of their time as volunteers and making this programme come to life for members from 200 clubs across nine counties. Since its inception we have equipped over 400 young people across the country with essential leadership skills to enable them to reach their full potential”.

For more information on the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative please contact Stacey Cahill on stacey.cahill@gaa.ie or 01 8192387.

About Foróige

Foróige is the leading youth organisation in Ireland, working with over 50,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 650 Foroige clubs & cafés, 160 targeted projects and national youth programmes such as Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Health & Wellbeing, Citizenship and Entrepreneurship.