After what was probably the KYW’s most successful year to date in 2015, the expectations for 2016 could not be higher. The Knockadoon Youth Week is growing faster than the speed of light and year after year we seem to take it up a gear and make the Knockadoon experience that extra bit special. A lot of changes happened in 2015, to name a few; we ran a three week programme for the first time in our history, we expanded into new regions such as Kildare and Down and we also said goodbye to our Senior Leader and KYW legend in Liam.
No organisation can survive without change and being in the KYW we have learned to adapt to change over the years. Sometimes these changes have been met with resistance. The decision to expand into three weeks was one of these changes that was met with resistance and if I am being honest, I can say that I was one of those who resisted this decision in the beginning. When I thought of the possibility of moving to three weeks I immediately began to look for the negatives, the risks and the fears. I was afraid of increased workload that we would place on our leaders shoulders, whom were already busy enough when we only had two weeks the previous years. I was afraid of the unknown and trying to organise campers to come down in areas that we have little to no reputation in or any leaders to represent. I was afraid of the admin side of things and how messy it could get with so many money collections. However I could also see the benefit to having a third week and if all went well what it would mean for the KYW. I was sitting on the fence as they say and slightly leaning towards keeping just a two week programme.
My outlook completely changed on this decision after I had a brief chat with Liam shortly after the meeting where he told myself and the KYW committee that the three weeks were a possibility. He made me realise that the fears I had about three weeks were not risks but rather they were challenges and that if we believe in the goals and values of the KYW enough, we can make it work. He then highlighted the fact that we had over 70 volunteer leaders who all have a unique passion and love for the KYW and also the priceless support from the Dominican community who would assist us and make our jobs easier. Looking back I can safely say that Liam was right, we did make it work. The lesson I learned from all of this is that although its necessary to talk about potential risks that come with change, if you believe in the greater good that comes with it and if you believe in yourself and the people around you to successfully get the job done then it is worth pursuing.
In 2016 and beyond there will be more change in the KYW. What we have in the KYW is special and our long term vision is to bring this to as many campers as possible over the next couple of years and expanding from three weeks to four weeks and then to five weeks and so on until we have an entire summer schedule. Some change will be accepted, some change will be resisted, however we ask that whatever changes we make that they are met with an understanding.
One of these changes will come this summer where for the first time ever we will be disbanding what was known as the Dundalk week and also the Tallaght week. We want campers to be able to choose whatever week suits them the best and not to be restricted to certain dates depending on what region they are from. We are only trialling this with the Dundalk/Tallaght campers this year and if all goes well we will open the entire three weeks up to everyone next year. More information will come on how you can book your spot for the KYW in January 2016 but for now the schedule will be as follows;
- 18th June – 25th June: Dundalk & Tallaght
- 25th June – 02nd July: Kildare, Cork, Down & Others
- 02nd July – 09th July: Dundalk & Tallaght
As the new Senior Leader my priority is to ensure that the KYW keeps moving forward towards our long term vision and at the same time keeps that high level of care and support for our campers and leaders. I am confident in my own ability as Senior Leader and believe that I have the drive and passion to ensure that the KYW achieves its goals during my tenure. As we continue to grow we felt it was also necessary to have two assistant senior leaders rather than one and I have no doubt that both Chris and Orlaith will excel in their new positions with the KYW. Im really looking forward to helping with the development of our leaders and working with all the new ones that have come into the group. Lastly I’m most excited about opening our doors to more and more campers and seeing them experience that ‘Knockadoon feeling’ for the first time.
If anyone has any questions about next summers KYW or want to find out more about the KYW, you can contact us via the websites ‘Contact’ section. Alternatively you can send an email to email@example.com or send us a message via our Facebook channel – Knockadoon Youth Week.
That’s all from me for now. Delighted again with the opportunity to be the new Senior Leader of the KYW. I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope our paths will cross in the near future at the next KYW event.