Gaisce -The President’s Award Statement on COVID-19

Update 31st March 2020

Gaisce is closely monitoring Government and hse.ie advice on the Covid-19 and will update this page as the situation evolves.

Gaisce – The President Award are following Government directions and will be working remotely as far as possible but can be contacted during regular office hours. Contact email addresses and contact numbers for the full Gaisce team are available here.

Below you will find an outline of temporary measures we are taking until April 19th. Should Government directives extend beyond April 19th, we will update this statement accordingly and extend temporary arrangements as necessary.

Information for PALs

The health and wellbeing of Gaisce participants and PALs, and staff in our Award Partners is of primary importance to us. Given that the government have increased measures as of Friday 27th March, we have reviewed our programme requirements and have applied temporary modifications to minimise the impact on participants’ ability to continue and complete their Gaisce Award. We will continue to monitor queries and communicate with PALs. 

Gaisce at Home

Many you will have already seen our brand-new campaign,  Gaisce at Home/ Gaisce Sa Bhaile. As young people now find themselves at home during the Covid-19 situation, we launched ‘Gaisce At Home’ to encourage young people to stay – or get – involved in Gaisce. We’ve received such a positive response so far and appreciate your support of the campaign!

The Adventure Journey

Gaisce Award Partners and PALs who have planned Adventure Journeys between March 12th and April 19th, in the first instance, should seek to postpone to a later date.

The Adventure Journey is an integral part of the Gaisce award for participants in terms of it being an important peer experience, helping to develop planning, independence and leadership skills, as well as learning about and exploring the great outdoors, getting out of comfort zones. However, if postponement is not a feasible option for their participants, PALs must contact their Gaisce Development Officer to discuss how they may instead direct participants to complete a group project. This can be done individually, for example, with aspects of the project shared out between a group. Participants can share their collective work on-line or by other means, as agreed by the PAL and group. Projects can be documented in written, audio or visual form. We may ask for projects to be shared with Gaisce. 

Suggestions include projects on how to plan and prepare a great adventure journey or how young people can support the Sustainable Development Goals in their communities. For any questions, concerns or alternative ideas you have for a group project please email or call your Development Officer. We’d also like to hear your alternative ideas for each Challenge area. Contact details for all Development Officers are available here.

For Community Involvement, Physical Recreation and Personal Skill

If a young person’s chosen Community Involvement, Physical Recreation or Personal Skill is not possible to be undertaken between 12th March and 19th April, they may choose an alternative activity that they can do from home during this ‘social isolation’ period. Participants should try to communicate with PALs to approve this change to ensure consistent guidance during this challenging time. If communication is not possible participants can go ahead and change to activities that are more suitable for home.

Participants should keep evidence of their activities being completed via journal, videos or photos for their PAL, as well as updating their record sheets. Participants don’t need to change activity information on the Gaisce participant on-line portal, as documenting in the record sheet will suffice.  We recommend that PALs contact their Development Officer with any ideas, questions or concerns.

Residentials for Gold

We recommend postponing residentials until the Covid-19 situation allows for normal social engagement.

Information for parents

To ensure communications are managed during this challenging period we ask parents to contact PALs directly for any questions or concerns relating to their young person’s Gaisce Award. Thank you as always for everything you to do to support young people participating in Gaisce – The President’s Award!

Upcoming Events and Training

All scheduled events and training during the period of 13th March – 19th April have been cancelled.

Silver Awards

The Silver Awards Ceremony scheduled for 23rd April in Dublin have been cancelled due to current restrictions in response to Covid-19. Gaisce will hold another Silver Awards Ceremony on 5th November in Dublin.  Further regional Silver Awards Ceremonies will also be arranged as soon as circumstances permit.

Medal Dispatch

Please note that medals will not be dispatched during the period 13th March -19th April. Due to this pause in dispatching, there may be a delay in subsequent medal dispatches. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you and your Awardees.

Defence Forces Challenge

Due to the ever-evolving situation as Ireland responds to Covid -19, the upcoming ‘Gaisce Defence Forces Challenge 2020’ due to take place from June 2nd-5th has unfortunately been cancelled. There may be an alternative date rescheduled for 2020, but we cannot confirm this presently.  All submissions received by the application deadline will be eligible for any new dates considered for 2020.  

Garda Re-vetting

In line with our Safeguarding policy, we recently contacted active PALs last vetted by Gaisce over five years ago If you have not responded to this call to action, please review our original email and respond as required as we have extended the deadline. We appreciate your support on this. 

Updates on Covid-19

If your organisation is not already doing so, please follow the following sources on twitter and re-tweet messages relating to COVID-19:
@HSELive
@hpscireland
@roinnslainte
@CMOireland

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