On Monday, March 26th, 2018, Elevate hosted its very first Youthfest event in association with Clare Youth Service. The day saw 250 young people come together for a fun, welcoming and interactive day out that informed, inspired and uplifted the young people in attendance to help understand and improve their mental health and wellbeing and to realise their unique and collective potential to lead fulfilling lives. The event took place in the new Barn at Hotel Doolin. A fantastic day out was had by all.
A number of elements made up the day to include key note speakers, live music, a drumming and dance workshop, laughter yoga and much more. Mental health activist Jamie Harrington shared his inspirational story with the youths in attendance. Soar Founder and former Clare All-Star hurler, Tony Griffin delivered a wellness workshop which empowered the young people to thrive, believe in themselves and fulfil their true potential. In his own words, Tony commented:
I feel Elevate’s work in Clare is of the highest importance to the future wellbeing and mental health of all Clare’s young people. What I saw at Youthfest is evidence that when young people are given the right environment and are believed in, they can inspire us all. When you consider that almost 75% of all mental health disorders first emerge between the ages of 15 and 25, and that it is evident that mental health difficulties emerge in early adolescence and peak in the late teens and early 20s, it emphasises the vital importance of days like Youthfest. As a co-founder of Soar, an organisation that has worked with 28,000 teenagers I can’t speak highly enough of the endeavour of Elevate in what it is doing for the next generation of Clare people.
Comedy duo, The Two Johnnies were a huge hit with the youths with their comedy sketches and entertainment.
Hotel Doolin delivered feel-good, street food for everyone which added to the relaxed ambiance of the day.
The young people were also afforded the opportunity to perform live music throughout the day. This was a fantastic element to the day and well received. This was an excellent platform for the youths to showcase their amazing talent.
Elevate Founder, John Burke was delighted with the success of the day and spoke very highly of the partnership that had been made between that of Elevate and the Clare Youth Service. In his own words:
What was really significant for Elevate was the partnership with Clare Youth Service. We feel that the youth club network in Clare is incredibly powerful for young people, in particular in rural Clare, and it was great for us to be able to work with them and support their great work in some way. The day itself had heaps of fun but also some very poignant moments too.
Brian McManus, Youth Work Manager with Clare Youth Service shared his highlight of the day as being the array of guest speakers who spoke openly and frankly about their experiences of mental health and the importance of reaching out for help when facing personal difficulties. He thanked Elevate for the collaboration with Clare Youth Service, in his own words:
This was a fantastic opportunity for young people across the county to meet, to develop socially and personally through contact with young people from other areas…thanks to Elevate for raising the Banner for youth wellness.
Youthfest undoubtedly met its objective of highlighting just some of the many ways people can have fun, get creative and socialise, and look after their health and wellbeing all at the same time.
Photo Credit: Susie Conroy and Gavin Coughlan