Localise has recently partnered with the Dunshaughlin Rockets Basketball Club, marking their first collaboration with a sports team in implementing a programme. The Rockets coaches had selected young people from all age categories within the club to take part in this initiative. The Rockets were looking to prioritise becoming an integral part of the community rather than merely existing within it.

The participants of this programme came together to complete the Volunteering in Action programme, which was delivered over three weeks in three two-hour sessions. During the programme, they explored their existing skills and attributes that make them capable volunteers, even if they had never volunteered before. For many, this was their first volunteering experience. Throughout this process, the group collectively decided to dedicate their time to the residents of a local nursing home. They created personalised handmade cards for each resident and organised a table quiz that could be enjoyed by both the residents and the participants. Additionally, the group brought in prizes such as chocolates, crossword books, hand lotions, and other gifts. A representative from Heatherfield Nursing Home expressed her gratitude to the group during the programme wrap-up, saying, “What you did for the residents was incredibly special. They are still talking about it. When their families come to visit, it’s the first thing they want to talk about and they proudly show their card that was made for them. It means a great deal to them and their families.”

Establishing a youth sports team that is deeply embedded in the community holds significant importance for several reasons. While situating a team in a community may fulfil the basic need for sports participation, forging a profound connection with the community brings numerous advantages that can have a lasting impact on both the team and the community itself.

When a youth sports team becomes embedded in a community, it garners the support and active involvement of local residents, parents, and businesses. This increased support can take various forms, such as volunteering, attendance at games, and overall community engagement. A community-embedded team fosters a sense of belonging and identity among its members. Players develop a stronger bond with their community, and reciprocally, the community takes pride in the accomplishments of their local team. This sense of belonging creates a positive environment that nurtures team spirit, unity, and the development of lifelong friendships among players and their families.

Sean McEwen from Localise emphasises, “Volunteerism helps young people become leaders both within and outside of sports by fostering various skills, promoting responsibility, offering mentorship, encouraging collaboration, and nurturing empathy. Through this project, each participant has developed teamwork abilities, empathy, social awareness, and numerous other skills that will benefit later in life. This experience has cultivated leadership qualities that extend beyond sports, enabling them to become leaders in school, the community and in their future endeavours.”

Every participant will receive a National Youth Volunteering Portfolio (MyVP). This portfolio documents the skills and attributes young people acquire through volunteerism and serves as a pathway to further and higher education opportunities.

If you are a local youth sports team or youth club seeking to engage your young members in community engagement and volunteering, register today!

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