Leadership at High Noon in Co.Mayo

foroigeadmin March 31, 2021

This month we are checking in with the Leadership for Life Programme. So much has been happening since the Online Graduation Celebration in February,  lots of our young people have begun their first module in the Leadership for Life Programme. This exciting programme enables young people aged 15-18 to develop the skills and qualities necessary to be inspiring leaders. Young people are empowered to make a positive change in their community through practical actions and projects.

We want to share Caitlin Thompson’s Leadership for Life project. Caitlyn's project is an inspiring example of how young people can have real impact in their communities through reaching out and showing leadership at its best.

As part of module 3 of the programme, Caitlin has undertaken a wonderful community action project designed to help older people in her community during lockdown. The story is best told by Caitlin in her own words:


Caitlyn's Leadership for Life Module 3 Community Action during Lockdown Project

I'm Caitlin Thompson and I'm from Lacken in County Mayo. I am a member of the Lacken Foróige club and the chairperson of Mayo Comhairle na nÓg. During the first lockdown I had the opportunity to complete Module 1 & 2 of the Foróige Leadership for Life programme via Zoom and I am now working on the third Module. 

My local community centre, Lacken Community Care, hosts events called Hi-Noon and Fit-Noon which give the older generation of Lacken and surrounding parishes the opportunity to socialise, have some fun and also get in some light fitness. 

Due to Covid-19 these activities have been unable to continue. Seeing this gave me my idea for my Community action project. I decided that every Friday from 12-1, for 6 weeks, I would host an online Zoom meeting open to anyone who is cocooning at home and is looking for a break from Covid realities. 

We have done 3 weeks already and we have regular guests like Damien McHale, who plays some music at the Hi-Noon club and Conor Dennehy who usually does some fitness at Fit-Noon. It's great that they can come online and be a familiar face. I also have had Ballinglen Arts centre doing Art Therapy, a storyteller called Joe Brennan and I hope to have comedian Conal Gallen next week. 

My project has been really well received as Western Care Service Users have become involved. These are people with a wide range of learning and associated disabilities from Co. Mayo. I am so delighted to have them online as they add a different perspective to the proceedings. 

Global Gathering of Support for the Eldery

One of the advantages of using Zoom means we can have guests from anywhere in the world!!  We've had people joining from Belmullet to Kildare and even further afield like Scotland and Birmingham. I'm really happy that I can empower the older generation to have the same experiences we are having on Zoom and also build their confidence when using technology, which they are very capable of doing. 

It has been wonderful to keep the Hi-Noon club going online. Considering the meetings are being held over Zoom I have named this project Hi-Zoom.  

I have really come out of my comfort zone over the past 2-3 weeks while completing this project using Leadership skills like creating logic models (a planning tool). It has pushed me to speak in front of people I don't know very well and it instilled in me the confidence to be interviewed by Tommy Marren on Mid-west radio last Thursday.

I'm so grateful to be able to connect everyone in an online community and possibly provide people with a welcome break from reality and some virtual companionship. I really appreciate all the help and guidance I have received from Stephaine, Sharon, my Foróige leader, the Lacken Community Care chairperson and all the ladies from Hi-Noon. 

If you would like to find out more about our Leadership for Life Programme please email [email protected]


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