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  • Northside East

Adventure seekers take on challenge

Saturday, 29th June, 2019 4:00pm
Adventure seekers take on challenge

Pictured at the ceremony to mark the end of the challenge were (back, from left): Georgalee Thomas, Olivia Paget, Lt Col Ray Kane, Gaisce Bronze Award Holder Grace O’Rourke, Josh Whitney, Grace Codd, Max Cleary; (front-left) Bobbie Kean, Joel Osaghae, Gabriel Dumitran and Adam McMahon. PHOTO: JEFF H

Adventure seekers take on challenge

Pictured at the ceremony to mark the end of the challenge were (back, from left): Georgalee Thomas, Olivia Paget, Lt Col Ray Kane, Gaisce Bronze Award Holder Grace O’Rourke, Josh Whitney, Grace Codd, Max Cleary; (front-left) Bobbie Kean, Joel Osaghae, Gabriel Dumitran and Adam McMahon. PHOTO: JEFF H

THIRTY youngsters from across Ireland, including a number from the Northside, concluded four days of hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, swimming and army assault courses at the annual Defence Forces Adventure Challenge. 

Eleven of the participants were from Dublin: Gabriel Dumitran (Coolock), Tadhg Walsh (Baldoyle), Bobbi Keane (Clontarf), Georgalee Thomas (Glasnevin), Grace Cod (Lusk), Olivia Paget (Raheny), Adam McMahon (Swords), Darragh Nagle, Joshua Whitney, and Joel Osaghae (all Tallaght) and Max Cleary (Navan Road).

The youngsters are all participants in ‘Gaisce–The President’s Award’, a self-development programme for young people. 

The recruits, aged between 15 and 17, were put through their paces by personnel from the 2nd Brigade Artillery Regiment of the Defence Forces, who led the participants through a host of incredible adventure challenges, training and team-building exercises. 

The challenge shows young people what they can achieve when they step outside their comfort zone.

Yvonne McKenna, chief executive of Gaisce – The President’s Award, said: “Due to the leadership and generosity of the Defence Forces, 30 Gaisce participants from all over Ireland experienced a unique insight into military life first-hand. 

“These young people pushed themselves to their limits, and in the process, developed skills, built confidence and created friendships and memories to cherish. We congratulate them all on their achievements.”

Gaisce is a challenge to young people from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, to dream big and realise their potential. Gaisce invited participants, aged 15-17, to nominate themselves for consideration.

The once in a lifetime opportunity kicked off for the young people at the Custume Barracks, Athlone before moving to the Curragh in County Kildare, and finishing with the participants completing their final challenge of conquering the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

Speaking about the challenge, Defence Forces spokesperson, Lieutenant Ian Gallaway, said: “The foundation of all Defence Forces training is our values of physical courage, moral courage, integrity, selflessness, loyalty and respect.

“We hope that we can help to develop those values in the young people who take part in the Gaisce programme.”

Gaisce Bronze Award holder Grace O’Rourke, who recently became the only female to complete RTE’s Special Forces: Ultimate Hell week, addressed the participants at a special ceremony recognising their achievements.

Grace first became interested in the Defence Forces when she took part in the Gaisce Defence Forces Challenge as a teenager.

“It is all the small lessons from setbacks that have helped me grow and conquer challenges that I never thought I was capable of,” she said.

“It is from the setbacks that you can take the most feedback. It is in not quitting and applying this feedback to your next challenge that builds you and helps you progress further."

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here