Saturday 20 April 2019

Students put county and country on map

Students from Fingal represented Ireland at the 2011 Youthcamp event in the Danish city of Ballerup.
Students from Fingal represented Ireland at the 2011 Youthcamp event in the Danish city of Ballerup.

SIX young Fingallians helped put both the county and the country on the map after landing a major award at a three-day conference in Denmark earlier this month.

A delegation from Fingal Comhairle na nÓg represented Ireland at the 2011 Youthcamp event, held in the Danish city of Ballerup, which was dubbed the conference for 'future leaders and influencers'. Sarah Louise McGee, Daire Kelly, Liam Whelan, Katie Fleming, Ciara Molloy and Sophie Boucher flew the flag for Fingal and were joined by former members of Fingal Comhairle na nOg, Connall Shaw and Mark Roote.

Some 300 people took part in the camp, which culminated in an awards ceremony and the Fingal entrants did the Ireland proud as they collected the 'Country of the Year' prize for their exceptional participation, innovation and initiative, as well as the 'friendly and welcoming manner they showed to others'. The camp was organised by the Youth Council in the Municipality of Ballerup in association with partners from youth councils in Sweden, Turkey and Ireland and the award was both a ' real treat and a wonderful surprise' for the youngsters from north County Dublin.

Indeed, the party also displayed their Irish skills, gathering on stage to perform the national anthem in front of the camp participants, after Conall Shaw and Mark Roote had accepted the award. 'Youthcamp 2011 is only the beginning of what we have planned,' Lusk participant SarahLouise McGee said. ' We might be only a small minority, but what the camp has taught me is that my voice is just a loud as anyone's.' Open to young people between 15 to 25 years of age who had experience of the democratic process through youth projects, youth councils or youth organisations, the camp enabled participants to develop ideas, debate democracy and establish networks across cultures and borders.

These activities aimed to support young people in their work developing projects and in getting others involved in democratic decision making processes. Participants from 25 different countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, enjoyed workshops on subjects as diverse as international political co-operation, project development and youth participation and a range of social and cultural events such as film, music, swimming, video and art. The Youthcamp 2011 organising group consisted of young people from Fingal, Nacka in Sweden, Adalar in Turkey and the host city of Ballerup, while the camp was also CO2 neutral, containing an energy park, which generated energy to the camp. The Irish delegation was supported by Fingal County Council, Swords Youth Services, County Dublin VEC and Foroige.