Monday 20 April 2015

GAA hailed for helping young people develop

Brian McDonald

Published 29/08/2014 | 02:30

Pictured at the UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation at Croke Park was Foroige delegates Natalie Ward (16) from Mullingar, Anna Rose Kennedy (18) from Shillelagh Wicklow and Rowena Malee (17) from Kiltimagh Mayo.
Pictured at the UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation at Croke Park was Foroige delegates Natalie Ward (16) from Mullingar, Anna Rose Kennedy (18) from Shillelagh Wicklow and Rowena Malee (17) from Kiltimagh Mayo.

The GAA was identified as a shining example of how to foster youth engagement at a major conference for young people.

An international Unesco symposium at Croke Park was told by a leading academic that the organisation had perfected the ability to stitch together communities.

Professor Mark Brennan, Unesco Chair in Rural Community, Leadership and Youth Development at Penn State University, said that other countries could learn from the GAA’s example.

Prof Brennan said: “The Gaelic Athletic Association is a true grassroots organisation. It empowers, involves and invigorates not just individual young people, but their families and wider communities. We hear a lot about the ‘fabric’ of society. Organisations such as the GAA are examples of a wonderful type of clever stitching which can make this fabric strong and support young people as they develop.

Some of the representatives from sport at the event included Alan Kerins, former All-Ireland winning Galway hurler and founder of Alan Kerins Projects, and Hugo MacNeill, the former Irish rugby star who runs Goldman Sachs investment banking business in Ireland.

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