FRIDAY week last marked the graduation ceremony following completion of the second Young Mariner Programme, a nine-month outdoor education course which put students through their paces at the Kinsale Outdoor Centre.
They took part in challenges such as sailing, sea and river kayaking, open canoeing, power boat driving, wilderness first aid, campcraft and ancillary skills, such as navigation, sea safety and more.
They also undertook the Gaisce Bronze Award, which focussed primarily on their skills training and coastal clean-up and environmental awareness; a topic that is currently very much to the forefront of the social conscience.
The event incorporated a tour of Kinsale OEC for those in attendance, followed by the eagerly-anticipated graduation ceremony, which took place at the Trident Hotel with members and distinguished guests.
The programme was conceived by Jon Hynes, director of Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre, in a bid to provide an opportunity to local youth to gain the very best in training. Speaking at the event, Mr Hynes said: ‘I hope that our young graduates can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they have gained some incredibly important skills that will stand to them in endless ways in their future endeavours.’
During the course, the students visited the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy to explore future opportunities in the marine sector.
Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, TD, was also in attendance at the event and commended the young mariners on their achievements and contribution to the community.
Mr Paul Darby, development officer with Gaisce, the President’s Award, also attended and celebrated the values of those who achieve this special award and how it can span the key themes of developing oneself, working together, learning new skills and working in the community.
Anyone who would like to register their interest in the next Young Mariner Programme, which begins in early September, should contact Kinsale Outdoor Education Centre.