We are delighted to share a few of our students who participated in the Silver Gaisce Programme. They recently completed all the required elements and will very shortly be receiving their well deserved Silver Gaisce Award.
Gaisce or ‘great achievement’ is a self-development programme for young people between the ages of 15-25. It is also known as the President’s award and is given to those who complete the Gaisce programme and show the following values: Empowerment, Inclusion & Equality, Respect, and Excellence. The Silver Award is the second level of the Gaisce Award. It is comprised of four distinct parts: 1. Community Involvement, 2. Personal Skill, 3. Physical Recreation, 4. Adventure Journey.
It is a great achievement to have reached this level over a 26 week period and the girls have said they are not finished yet. they already have their eyes set on achieving the Gold Gaisce Award, the highest award you can achieve as part of the Gaisce programme.
Here is what the girls doing their Silver Gaisce Award had to say.
“After completing my Bronze Gaisce Award in Transition Year at The Institute, I decided to continue with Silver Gaisce in 5th year. I enjoyed the Bronze Award so much and it seemed like a good idea to make a commitment outside my studies for 5th year, to ensure I took some time out of work during the year. Through the course of the year, I had 3 main commitments, a personal skill which was playing the flute and working on grade 8, a sport, in which I chose to do running as I find it a great outlet from the books and finally community involvement, where I returned for the second year to the Brownies, Irish Girl Guides group I was a member of when I was younger. These commitments gave me 3 hours out of my week to take a break from the hecticness of school and between challenging but rewarding runs, many flute lessons & practice and weekly Brownies meetings with filled with the fun with the young girls I gained so much experience but also really enjoyed myself.
The final challenge to complete the Silver Gaisce award was our Adventure Journey, hiking. Covid got in the way of our initial plans but towards the end of the summer we managed to rearrange our plans and set out together, just the three of us, on two days of 25km hikes across the Dublin Mountains and the following week the Wicklow Mountains. Our first day of hiking was memorable to say the least, we set out from Marlay Park in the lashing rain headed for the Dublin Mountains. Over 6 hours of hiking, we initially crossed the mountains in fog, not a view in site, but as we returned back across the views of Dublin were phenomenal and so worth it. The peace and tranquil out in the mountains, barely passing anybody, was warmly welcomed. A day’s escape from the strange world we live in now! The following week we embarked on our second 25km hike from Knockree, Enniskerry and headed for Roundwood. Luckily, we were granted a day of great weather and the rain gear wasn’t needed this time! This hike was slightly more strenuous as we crossed the Wicklow Mountains, but the scenery was breath-taking from above Powerscourt Waterfall to Djouce mountain to panoramic views of Dublin and Wicklow and being above Lough Tay. It was a long day, with steep ascents but it was filled with fun, chatter and lots of moments of thought of “wow, we’re actually doing this, look how far and high we’ve hiked!” Although it was over 6 hours of hiking, as we neared Roundwood, we looked back at mountains we couldn’t believe we had crossed, it hadn’t even felt that long as the day had been so rewarding, a lot of fun, and it gave a huge sense of achievement with 50km of hiking in the space of a week! It has certainly instilled a love of hiking in me and is something I will no doubt continue past this award.
Completing the Silver Gaisce award was a great experience, teaching me a lot about myself, getting to know the 2 other girls better and all the more rewarding managing to complete it in a year of extraordinary circumstances. I’m already planning how I can complete the final award, Gold Gaisce, after the Leaving Cert next year!”
For our first 25km hike we set off from Marley park. We walked through the Dublin mountains to Glencullen, where we ate lunch before heading back to Marley park. Despite it being lashing rain we had a great time and managed to find our way in the fog!
A week later, we started from Knockree and hiked to Roundwood. This was a really beautiful stretch of the Wicklow Way and as we were up so high the views were incredible. We made it to Roundwood and were very much ready for bed!
Overall, the hikes were a great experience and I have learnt a lot through doing my Silver Gaisce Award.
Here are just a few photos of the girls on the Adventure Journey part of the Silver Gaisce Award.