Fittingly, “Gaisce” is the old Irish term for “great achievement”. There are three Gaisce award levels – bronze, silver and gold – and some youth dedicate themselves to eventually completing all three.
Personal development, community service, new experiences and adventures, health and fitness, experiential education, a sense of accomplishment, determination – these are just some of the benefits youth aged 15 to 25 encounter when they complete Gaisce, The President Award’s programme.
For each award, participants must complete activities in:
- Community Involvement: From volunteering in a nursing home to mentoring younger students.
- Personal Skill: Developing a new skill, such as acting, woodworking, graphic design, debating, first aid, photography and more.
- Physical Recreation: Regularly participating in a physical activity such as rugby, running, fishing, aerobics, dancing, rowing, martial arts and more.
- Adventure Journey: Planning and embarking on an overnight group adventure that involves completing a journey on foot, bicycle, horseback, canoe…
(For the Gold Gaisce award category, participants must also complete a residential project.) On November 12, 2013, President Michael D. Higgans presented 33 Gaisce gold recipients with their awards. “Award winners included Siobhán Buckley from Co. Cork who spent 52 weeks in Kanturk Community Hospital, where she provided entertainment for older residents by playing music, painting pictures and helping patients design Christmas cards and letters to their families,” reported The Irish Times’ Alison Healy. “To meet other goals she took up harp lessons, took part in music competitions and walked the “Camino De Santiago” pilgrimage trail in Spain. According to Healy, more than 20,000 Irish youth applied to participate in Gaisce Bronze, Silver and Gold programmes during 2013 and that each year participants “contribute more than 100,000 voluntary hours in their local communities.”
If your Gaisce students or youth group members are looking for a place to complete their adventure journey requirement, Kippure Estate offers several packages led by experienced and suitably qualified outdoor staff. Our instructors will come to your school or centre to facilitate the planning process. Our programmes include hikes through the Wicklow Mountains (which meet Gaisce Bronze and Silver requirements). We also have onsite group accommodation and a plethora of other outdoor experiences, such as high ropes courses and orienteering, to make the adventure journey even more thrilling.
Fore more information visit: http://www.outdooreducation.ie/an-gaisce.htm