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Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

President’s Awards for youth club volunteers

Four voluntary youth workers with St Oliver Plunkett Youth Club, Crossmaglen were in the presence of Uachtarán na hÉireann.

Michael D Higgins, earlier this month, from whom they received Gold Gaisce Awards in recognition of their efforts in community work and personal development.

Gaisce is a personal development programme for young people, enabling them to fulfill their potential while helping others in their community.

Eimear McMahon, Aoibheann McConville, Sinead Watters and Mairead Watters attended the event in Dublin Castle on December 4th where they were presented with their respective Gold Gaisce awards.  The huge achievement of the girls from the Crossmaglen and Culloville areas is all the more remarkable, given that they are four of a total of just 77 from across the whole of Ireland who attained the gold status.

Eimear McMahon, Aoibheann McConville, Sinead Watters and Mairead Watters, youth workers with St. Oliver Plunkett Youth Club in Crossmaglen, who were presented with Gold Gaisce awards by Uachtarán na hÉireann. Michael D Higgins, recently.

Ahead of completing the Gold award programme, Aoibheann, Sinead, Mairead and Eimear had previously progressed through the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes with St Oliver Plunkett Youth Club (SOPYC), and in 2014 under the leadership of Mickey Gaffney within SOPYC, the girls began their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award journey.

Over an 18-month period, they recorded and excelled in the five required disciplines of the programme– Community Involvement, Personal Skill, Physical Recreation, Adventure Holiday, and a Residential project. The girls enhanced their skills through refereeing courses, sports leadership and first aid.  They are all eager volunteers and so spent time helping out in the youth club, and also Culloville Camogie club. The physical section was completed by increasing their time and intensity in the gym, and playing camogie and football

The girls also had to plan, organise and evaluate a residential with cross border groups. This also included planning activities such as drama, drumming workshops, food tasting games, and team building games.

Their final expedition to complete the Gold award was based in Cumbria in the Lake District and involved a camping and hiking expedition over four days.

St. Oliver Plunkett Youth Club takes this opportunity to congratulate Eimear, Aoibheann, Sinead and Mairead and would like to acknowledge and thank John Carragher for his continued support and knowledge for the youth club’s Duke of Edinburgh/ Gaisce participants.  John also represented the club, and supported the awardees at Dublin Castle as the President’s Award Leader (PAL).  

The Youth Club also acknowledges and extends appreciation to Mickey Gaffney for his guidance and organization of this programme from the start up in 2012.