‘Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog.’ – Roald Dahl.
We are entering the 8th year of the KYW, and when you stop for a minute to think about what this group has achieved in those 8 years a number of words flood to mind; to sum it up really quickly I would say our progress has been absolutely extraordinary and slightly surreal. We have seen some remarkable combinations of committed leaders make their mark on the KYW over the years, and during our annual October retreat in Knockadoon Camp just two short weeks ago, a group of over 70 of our leaders reflected on how far we’ve come.
- Between 2011 and 2017, under the leadership of Les, Liam and Niall the KYW went from being a week long programme to a 3 week programme, from having approximately 50 campers to nearly 300.
- We greatly extended our camper bases; in addition to having campers from Dundalk, Tallaght and Waterford we now have a huge amount of support and interest from Newbridge, Newry, Annaclone and Cork.
- Our leader group multiplied. From having 25 volunteers on camp during our week long programme in 2011, the group had over 90 members in July 2017, and looking ahead to next summer, we have 110 young people aged between 17-26 who work tirelessly to ensure that our summer camp is a continued success.
The above is just a fraction of the things that the KYW has achieved. What is it that I find surreal about it all? Where else in the world do you find such a huge number of young people who are so completely committed to something from which they gain nothing financially, and very little personally? All that we have to gain from the work that we do is the buzz of helping others – from the age of 17 each of these remarkable individuals have given themselves up to something that is so much bigger than themselves, for the benefit of the young people from all over Ireland. Essentially, we are a group of friends who all either work or study full time, and in our precious hours off from work, college, school, exams, scout groups, sports teams and youth clubs, we plan, organise and manage a massively successful summer camp.
So what is next?….. ‘Never do anything by halves… be outrageous. Go the whole hog.’
The mission of the KYW is to give young people a safe and friendly environment where they can relax and develop as people. The mission of myself, Niall and Aaron, is to strive to extend this to as many young people as we possibly can. We are eternally grateful to the Dominicans for all of their support and encouragement over the past few years – without which we could not have achieved as much as we did. This year, we are delighted to announce that the Dominicans have enthusiastically agreed to add another week to our programme. In summer 2018, the Knockadoon Youth Week will run for 4 weeks, the dates and regional breakdown of which are as follows:
Week 1: June 16th – June 23rd (Dundalk, Tallaght, Kildare, Cork)
Week 2: June 23rd – June 30th (Newry, Annaclone, Kildare)
Week 3: June 30th – July 7th (Dundalk, Tallaght)
Week 4: August 18th – August 25th (All Regions)
There is a lot to be done in the months leading up to next summer, and I speak for all 110 of the leaders when I say that we cannot wait to get started. In order for us to plan effectively for what is sure to be one of our best summers yet, we are releasing our application forms earlier than usual – the release date will be Saturday the 2nd of December and our application form will be available online from both our website and our Facebook page. Taking feedback from last year into consideration, our application form will now allow parents to secure a place for their child with a deposit, allowing the balance to be paid off at a later date. We will be posting another post in the coming days with a full explanation of how the payment & deposit system will work this year.
‘If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it.’ – Roald Dahl.
I was invited to join the leader group in August 2010, and since then I have been going full speed to do the best that I can as a leader. I am passionate about many things in my life, but like the 109 others who are intrinsically linked by the red jumpers that we wear, there are very few things that I love more or am more passionate about than Knockadoon. KYW18 is on the way, and I will always be grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of it.
If anyone has any queries about next summer, or the process of booking a place for their child online, you can contact Niall directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always our social media channels will have all our news, updates and reminders in the coming weeks and days.
Sin é, mo chairde.
Le grá go deo,