Participant Stories: Glen Kelly

Glen is from Athy, Co. Kildare. Having been involved with Gaisce since he was 15, attaining both Bronze and Silver Awards, he recently completed his Gold Award. He says his decision to ‘go for gold’ stemmed from his Gaisce experience, which taught him to always see things through, no matter how difficult.

For his Personal Skill, he chose to further develop his sign language skills. Every Saturday, Glen, along with a small group, would meet with Maggie Owens for an hour and a half to improve their signing skills. An overall challenging experience,  Glen attended various sign language events like the ‘Signs of Life’ exhibition in Temple Bar, where he had the opportunity to practice his sign language skills with a range of people. At these events, he also got the opportunity to  perform songs that were then translated into sign language.

As part of his Community Involvement, Glen coached in Athy Gymnastics Club every Saturday. Arriving an hour early, he would  set up equipment including trampolines, floor mats, safety mats and the tumbling track, all of which require the utmost diligence to ensure safety standards are adhered to. Glen spent from 12pm to 7pm each Saturday at the club, coaching the special needs class for children and adults with disabilities ranging from Autism, Asperger’s and Down Syndrome. Glen’s challenge was to adapt his style of coaching to individual gymnasts’ needs – he  even had the pleasure of coaching gymnasts to the Special Olympics.

Using his trampolining as his Physical Recreation, Glen and his PAL set a goal for him to progress to the advanced level and to qualify for the All-Ireland Finals. It took months of training for him to be able to complete the advanced routine, but in April last, he competed at the National trampoline Finals in Newry.

For his Adventure Journey Glen embarked on a Canoe and Camp trip on The River Barrow.

Finally, for his Residential Project, Glen decided to spend three weeks in Carraroe, Co Galway living with a local family to improve his spoken Irish and language skills. Glen feels that his trip was a great experience; he has become much more outgoing as a result.

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