29 Jun 2022

St Mary's introduce all inclusive 'All Stars' programme for children

A welcoming environment for all children

St Mary's introduce all inclusive 'All Stars' programme for children

Committee members Lorraine Butler and her daughter Faye, and Martin McGirl and his son Caelan.

St Mary’s Kiltoghert GAA Club in Carrick-on-Shannon is pleased to announce the introduction of the GAA for All – All Stars Club programme.

This initiative is being rolled out for children with any additional need which hinders their full participation in mainstream sport.

The rationale, in St Mary’s All Stars, is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where all children can participate.

Committee members Fergal White and Kathy Butler.

Their emphasis will be on engagement, participation, development of fundamental movement skills and most importantly, fun, in a safe environment.

“We have plans for integration and reverse integration within training sessions, as a starting point.

“However, this is not set in stone, as we will continually adapt to meet the needs of the children. The initiative is child centred and we aim to give children the support they need.

Social Inclusion Officer, Emma Glancy and her daughter Ciara.

“Another important aim for us is to promote the ethos of inclusion in the community and the club,” the club stated.

Parent, Martin McGirl, explained the importance of including all children in club activities.

“Children with disabilities get the same enjoyment out of supporting their club, preparing their gear, and heading off to training as their peers. They love the feeling of being involved with their friends, and being an active part of the team.

“However, the pace of the training sessions, and the pace of the games, can be too much for our children with disabilities to keep up with.

“The “All Stars Club” programme is terrific in that the training sessions and games are specifically designed to accommodate children of all abilities, and will allow our son Caelan to reach his full potential, in the sport that he loves.”

This programme has been in the ether for a while. In November, a committee including parents, coaches and club officials, was formed. The initial intention was to begin their All Star Academy in late February, however that date will likely change due to HSE restrictions.

“Our coaches have been recruited and have been Garda vetted and have completed GAA Safeguarding 1. All coaches attended a 2 hour CARA webinar, delivered by club member Brian O'Donnell, with a focus on awareness of disability, inclusion and meaningful integration.

St Mary’s All Stars will be launched officially when restrictions are eased.

GAA for All is a national initiative run by the GAA. The GAA charter espouses the aim of this social inclusion initiative which is to offer an inclusive, diverse and welcoming environment for everyone.

Inclusion essentially means people having a sense of belonging, of being comfortable in being part of something they value.

Inclusion is a choice. Diversity means being aware of accommodating and celebrating difference.

This initiative welcomes all children who would like to become involved. Club, parish, county boundaries are forgotten. All children are welcome.

Contact details:
If your child would like to be involved, or if you have any questions, please contact:
Kathy: 0868318696
Emma: 0862379036

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