“At the start I had no idea what I was getting involved in. Before Foróige I would sit at home twiddling my thumbs waiting for things to do,” so says Michael McGlynn, a Foróige member from Donegal.
A trailblazing youth movement, Foróige gives young people the help and support they need to reach their true potential. The organisation is passionately committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for Ireland’s young people – young people just like Michael.
Since its foundation in 1952, Foróige has grown steadily since then to become Ireland’s largest and leading youth organisation, working with over 54,000 young people each year. Foróige achieves this with the support of over 6,000 adult volunteers and 370 staff who deliver our suite of world-class youth development programmes through our network of clubs and projects.
Michael is just one of these 54,000 young people. How would he sum up his Foróige experience? Simple, he says, “fantastic”. Michael describes himself as a typical teenager. “I come from a lovely quaint county up north called Donegal. I enjoy computers, sports and the usual banterful craic that most teenagers partake in! “During the summertime I like to take part in the annual ritual of turf cutting and, no, I don’t have any idea why I have such an odd combination of hobbies,” he says.
Joining Foróige at 12-years-of-age through his local Foróige Youth Project, Michael got involved in the many levels of youth participation structures available within Foróige.
All young people are encouraged through Foróige to get involved in influencing decision-making and the direction of the organisation by voicing their opinions, attitudes, perspectives and values.
Michael was a member of the Foróige Reference Panel, which consists of 22 club representatives who have direct input into the running of the organisation at national level.
“I was elected to a committee where I was able to influence changes to how Foróige operates and not so long ago I was involved in a training programme about youth advocacy. I’ve been really involved now for about a year and it’s been crazy,” he added.
“I’ve undertaken fantastic training days and gotten so many life skills, met so many great people. Being able to influence how such a massive organisation engages and works with young people has been so amazing.
“The whole thing about Foróige is that they are the most smile provoking people around.
“There’s always a certain joyful buzz when it comes to Foróige events and anything they do. It always strikes me how friendly the volunteers, staff and even the other young people are. They’re always so happy. It’s such a feel good organisation,” he says.
Looking back on his time with the organisation, Michael asks himself what would have happened to him if he hadn’t got involved in Foróige? “I would have a lot of free time to do absolutely nothing,” he says.
FORÓIGE’S FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES
The Foróige flagship programmes, which include youth entrepreneurship, youth leadership, youth mentoring and youth citizenship, have drawn national, European and international acclaim. They are also widely recognised as setting best practice benchmarks on a global scale.
Foróige’s youth clubs, projects and innovative programmes, which are delivered through our club and project network, provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, strengthen their resilience and enrich their community.
DID YOU KNOW?
Research conducted in 2013 by global consulting firm Accenture entitled ‘Closing the Skills Gap in Ireland’ found that among the capabilities and aptitudes that employers identified as being important in the next three years; leadership, teamwork and entrepreneurship were rated highest, in that order. Foróige’s Leadership programme supports young people to develop these skills.
LEADERSHIP (ALBERT SCHWEITZER LEADERSHIP FOR LIFE)
The Foróige Youth Leadership Programme teaches young people how to embrace their leadership potential and kick starts their path to becoming lifelong leaders in their communities, business, politics or wherever life may take them. Young people learn a range of leadership skills through their participation in this programme such as communication, decision-making, problem solving and critical thinking. The programme targets 15-18 year olds and is the first youth programme in Ireland to be accredited by a University (NUI Galway). At the fifth annual Youth Leadership Conference held in NUI Maynooth last year, young people from across the globe got an opportunity to attend workshops and talks from inspirational leaders from the world of sport, business, academia and media.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP (NETWORK FOR TEACHING ENTREPRENEURSHIP, NFTE)
The Foróige Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (NFTE) changes the lives of young people from low income communities by enabling them to develop skills in business and enterprise and in so doing, helping them to unlock their individual talents and potential. Involvement in the programme has been proven to support young people to build self confidence and interpersonal skills as well as increasing school completion, employment and career aspirations and college attendance. Worryingly the prevalence of those aspiring to be an entrepreneur in Ireland in the future is only 8.5% (2011) which places us behind both the OECD and EU average. Introducing young people to the concept of entrepreneurship at an early stage is a vital component of creating an entrepreneurship culture. Our programme enables young people to identify a business idea, develop a business plan and secure seed capital to start trading. In Ireland, a total of 1,500 participants from low income communities set up 750 businesses as part of this year’s Foróige NFTE entrepreneurship programme, generating a collective turnover of €250,000. The programme runs from September to May every year.
CITIZENSHIP (THE FORÓIGE YOUTH CITIZENSHIP PROGRAMME)
This programme enables young people to explore important social and cultural issues and examine how they can impact on society. The citizenship programme is about young people taking collective action for the common good. It involves young people identifying areas of improvement that they want to see, researching the problem, taking action and evaluating the outcomes. Over the past number of years this programme has culminated in a high profile annual awards show which was broadcast on national television in a primetime slot. The show, Ireland’s Top Teens, highlighted the most impactful citizenship projects carried out by young people across Ireland.
MENTORING (THE BIG BROTHER BIG SISTER PROGRAMME)
The Foróige Big Brother Big Sister Programme supports the development of a mentoring relationship between an adult volunteer and a young person who needs some extra support. The young person and the volunteer mentor are matched based on their common interests with a view to them forming a friendship that will help the young person reach their full potential. The Foróige Big Brother Big Sister programme has been independently evaluated by NUI Galway and has been proven to be an extremely effective low cost intervention for young people who need extra support. The involvement of a volunteer mentor in the life of a vulnerable young person through BBBS acts as a powerful developmental support and connects them to their community.
A FORÓIGE CLUB OR PROJECT NEAR YOU?
Is there a Foróige club or project near you? Visit www.foroige.ie and follow the map locator to identify the clubs and projects in your county. We work with young people aged 10-18.
Find out more about us at www.foroige.ie
Interested in Volunteering
There are LOTS of volunteering opportunities in Foróige in our clubs and projects, in our Big Brother, Big Sister mentoring programme and much, much more. For more information, email email@example.com.