Three children from Connolly Street in Kilkenny were presented with awards from Ossory Youth for their incredible feat of climbing nine mountains in the south east over nine weeks.
Twelve year olds Michael Phelan and Calem Donovan and thirteen year old Thomas Donovan took on the gruelling tasks in some of the wettest weather imaginable to complete the challenge set by them in the programme run by Ossory Youth in conjunction with the Fr. McGrath Centre.
Paul Bolger, Youth worker with OY said when presenting the awards to the young mountain climbers,that their determination and discipline in facing the challenge filled him with admiration and their behaviour and the team work they showed proved to him the effectiveness of this pilot programme in helping young people with challenging behaviour develop team skills.
Paul said mountain four turned out to be the one where children really hit the pain barrier and on a cold and very wet day as well, but the did not give up and carried on to the summit and after that each mountain seemed to get easier for them.
Paul, his co-worker, Patrick Bookle and eighteen year old junior leader and volunteer at the Fr. McGrath Centre, Dylan Clifford accompanied the children through all of the challenges.
Paul singled out volunteer and community leader Dylan Clifford for special mention and said the Butts community should be very proud of him as not only had he been such a good role model for the local children who obviously respected him greatly but that Dylan, struck himself and Padraig, ‘as a natural born leader’.
Karin Todd, Coordinator of children and youth programmes at the Fr. McGrath Centre, thanked OY for making the programme happen for these kids who were all now immensely proud of being amongst the few people in the Butts or Kilkenny that could say they climbed nine local mountains.
She also thanked Kilkenny Employment for Youth for releasing Dylan from his training programme every week to let him work on this programme with the kids.
Twelve year old Michael Phelan thanked Paul, Padraig and Dylan for giving him the chance to do something ‘really different and interesting’ and he said he felt proud of himself for having done it.’
Thirteen year old Thomas Donovan said he got a real sense of achievement from having stuck it out –but there was times when he was half way up a mountain on a wet day when he wondered… ‘were we all crazy!’.
Dylan Clifford said he was really proud of the three boys and they had done the Butts community proud by not giving up and sticking the challenges out and in the way they supported each other when their friends were flagging.
The nine mountains the team climbed in the southeast were Brandon Hill, Comshingaun, Seefin, Slievenamon, Galty Beag, The Devil’s Bit, Knokroe, Mount Leinster, Sliabh Foye,