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GAA’s Coolest Cúl Camp - Roscommon leads the way.

posted 2 Mar 2012, 03:27 by Unknown user

The Vhi GAA Cúl Camps provide boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 13 with an action-packed and fun-filled week of activity during the summer holidays which revolves around maximising enjoyment and sustaining participant involvement in Gaelic Games. During this summer of 2011, Roscommon GAA in association with the Roscommon Sports Partnership ran an inclusive Vhi GAA Cúl Camp specifically organised for children with disabilities. Over a period of four days 15 children participated in GAA activities and motor skills development games. GAA coaches voluntarily gave up their time to assist with the camp while numerous other volunteers helped out. With the large number of volunteers one on one coaching could be provided which was of huge benefit to the children. Brothers and sisters also attended the camp.

The original idea for this Cúl camp came about when a parent approached Annette Mc Geeney, Sports Inclusion Disability Officer (SIDO) Roscommon Sports Partnership, expressing her wishes for a Cúl Camp suitable for her two autistic children, as she felt the other camps just did not cater for their needs. Annette liaised with Willie Hegarty, Roscommon’s GAA Games Development Officer on devising a suitable inclusive Cúl Camp so that children with a disability could also enjoy the games and activities which were available to other children in Cúl Camps around the country

Prior to the camp commencing it was decided that all coaches involved in the camp would be invited to attend a Coaching People with Disabilities Workshop, which was run by Coaching Ireland. Each of the coaches took away some valuable information from this course, which greatly benefited them in assisting children with a disability and ensured that they were prepared to meet the needs of all those who would be participating at this special Cúl camp. All of the coaches involved attend primary schools on a regular basis, taking children for GAA training and this particular course on Coaching People with Disabilities was of tremendous benefit in helping them gain more confidence in adapting games for children with disabilities, to ensure that everyone is included.

On the 2nd August 2011, the scene was set for the first ever camp of this kind to be run in the country. According to Willie Hegarty, ‘for the following four days children, along with their brothers and sisters, enjoyed GAA skills, tunnel games, parachute games and karaoke singing to name just a few activities, while coaches gained a real sense of fulfilment knowing that they were the ones putting the smiles on all the children’s faces and making a valuable impact on their lives’.

Tony Watene, the GAA’s National Inclusion Officer said "I'd like to compliment Willie Hegarty, Roscommon Games Development and Roscommon County Board for their ongoing achievements in inclusion.  Last year they trialled a very successful inclusion project in Monksland, which saw many ethnic minorities participate in our games.  This latest, highly positive inclusion accomplishment is the first of its kind, not only for Roscommon GAA, but for the Association, overall. Congratulations to all those who made it possible.’

According to Jimmy O ‘Dwyre, National Cúl Camps Coordinator, "this camp in Roscommon shows the result of many people working together on a project which bought such happiness to so many children and families. I am very aware of Willie Hegarty's excellent coaching and organising work for Gaelic Games in the county and this initiative is a further example of his vision. Well done all round."

It is indeed important to acknowledge the tremendous work undertaken by Willie Hegarty, GAA Games Development Officer, Roscommon Sports Inclusion Disability Officer, Annette Mc Geeney and Fiona Southwood, for their determination in implementing a initiative of this kind. This is a significant step forward for a major National Governing Body in designing GAA programmes for children with disabilities. While this programme started out as a pilot programme but from the success of the Cúl camp this summer, the GAA in Roscommon are willing to take it on board as one of their programmes in the coming years. The future looks bright in the area of inclusion in Roscommon and this is hopefully the first of many such programmes, which the GAA are striving to extend throughout the rest of the country.

Yes, it is important to state that this particular Vhi GAA Cúl Camp initiative, which took place in Roscommon can be regarded as being the ‘GAA’s Coolest Cúl Camp’ in 2011.

Unknown user,
2 Mar 2012, 03:27