Dundalk’s Irish Girl Guide Senior Branch receive €4800 grant
Dundalk’s Irish Girl Guide Senior Branch unit has received nearly €4800 in a Local Youth Club grant offered by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The grant is a once-off initiative rewarding clubs and youth groups for their participation in DCYA National Quality Standards. This means that the Senior Branch unit can finally buy camping equipment.
The unit was set up last summer and aims to “promote confidence, independence and leadership in young women, in a fun way through various activities.” The group is open to 14 to 30-year-olds and offers many leadership and travel opportunities.
Women who are part of the branch can become a leader, go camping, work towards earning badges and pins, obtain bronze, silver and gold Gaisce awards and travel to different countries to represent the Irish Girl Guides.
However, Dundalk’s Senior Branch leader, Chris Vinciguerra Cumiskey, wanted to start small. Dundalk’s Senior Branch unit is the only unit for older girls and women in the locality, despite there being many Ladybird, Brownie and Guide units in Blackrock, Knockbridge and Louth Village.
“I wanted to set up a Senior Branch unit in Dundalk because I feel like there isn’t much to do for older teenage girls unless you’re into sport or dancing,” Chris explains. “I was driving to Drogheda for two years with my daughters and it was just too much, so I decided to set up my own unit closer to home,” she says.
“I always wanted to be involved with Guiding in Ireland,” says Chris, who is originally from the United States. “I was a Girl Scout back home, but it took awhile for me to find a unit here that needed help. Now I have two units- Brownies in Drogheda, which is for girls aged seven to 10, and Senior Branch here in Dundalk,” she says.
“There are currently eight girls in our Senior Branch, and we have a mix of secondary school and college students,” Chris says. “We haven’t advertised with Dundalk IT yet, but we plan to in September. I am sure there’s girls from other parts of the country who went through Guides who’d be interested in getting involved.”
“We applied for the DCYA grant and the maximum you can receive is €5000, and we got €4800 which we are so happy about,” Chris smiles. “We are going to spend the money on camping equipment, I have a provisional order in for three tents, a mess tent and cooking equipment,” she reveals.
“Without the grant it would have taken us three or four years of fundraising to buy this kind of equipment,” she explains.
“We were fundraising a lot before Christmas, we held a bake sale for the Marist Secondary School staff, we were part of the blue token scheme in Tesco, and we also sold cookies,” she says. “But camping is such an important part of guiding, it would have been a pity to have to wait so long,” Chris says.
“We are planning on going camping in the spring and summer with the two Guide and Senior Branch units from Drogheda, because I don’t have all of my qualifications to go camping outdoors on my own yet,” Chris says. “We are planning on sharing equipment to cut down on costs,” she adds.
If you are involved in a youth club or voluntary organisation and you think you might be eligible for this grant, visit http://louthmeath.etb.ie/youth-services-projects/.
Contact Chris on 085 8383875 if interested