Donegal Youth Council Showcase
Celebrating their two year term
All good things must come to an end. The 2016-2018 Donegal Youth Council’s term has just concluded, with a special showcase event celebrating all of their achievements over the past two years. The 33 young people who made up the Youth Council were from all over Donegal, elected by their post-primary schools, youth groups, and the Donegal Traveller’s Project.
The Showcase took place in the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny on September 15th and was attended by proud parents and guardians, project workers and funders. It was opened officially by Donegal Cathaoirleach Seamus O’Domhnaill who said “I, like all of the Councillors had the honour and pleasure of meeting with the Youth Council on numerous occasions, and we were absolutely blown away by them. The work they have done has not been short of brilliant, and I want to respect that and to honour that tonight.” And continued: “The one thing that I would say to each of them is: Don’t ever forget the responsibilities that you took on, on behalf of your peers, and carry it through life.”
The Showcase covered all of the work the Donegal Youth Councillors did over their term. From the major agenda items that were voted on at the beginning of their term by their peers, like their Body Image ‘Shape of You’ event, Sexual Health and Education ‘Beyond the Birds and Bees’ event, Sports Recognition for Girls Roadshow, Facilities in Schools, and the months of preparation work that went into each one, to the work they did with the Older People’s Council, Donegal Road Safety Working Group, The ‘4 L’s’ Positive Mental Health Campaign with Donegal GAA, and briefing politicians, both local and national to name just some of their achievements. They spent many evenings and weekends working hard to improve the lives of young people in Donegal.
Karen Gallinagh Murphy, of Karen Murphy Speech, Drama and Communications got to know the current Youth Council while helping them prepare for one of their events. “The word that I would use to describe this term is: ‘dynamic’. I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I spent working with them.” she said.
The evening also included performances from several youth councillors, showing their talents extend far beyond politics. The audience were treated to a rendition of Shotgun, by Jason McLaughlin, as well as two original dance performances from Lauren Cooley and Kai McHugh.
Youth Council Coordinator Carlyn Maguire was presented with a surprise gift by the Youth Councillors who wanted to thank her for supporting and guiding them throughout their term. “When you walked through those doors in October 2016, you probably thought ‘I can’t do this’. So whenever you sit your Leaving Cert, or embark on your next chapter please remember that you can do it. You’re doing it. And you smashed it. You came in and committed and dedicated yourselves over the past two years, and I am so proud of you.” Carlyn shared with the group.
Finally, the Youth Councillors each took turns to share their favourite memories and what the experience on the Youth Council meant to them. More than one shared that it was “the best 2 years” of their life, and encouraged other young people to take the chance and put themselves forward for election.
Elections for the 2018-2020 Donegal Youth Council will be taking place in October. With the Donegal Youth Council team travelling to different schools and different projects to present over the coming weeks.
Donegal Youth Council is funded by the Donegal County Council, HSE Health Promotion and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs and is co-ordinated by the Donegal Youth Service at local level. For more information contact DYC Coordinator Carlyn Maguire on: (074) 91 29630, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or find Donegal Youth Council on Instagram & Facebook.