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Youth Leadership Development Competition

The Rotary Youth Leadership & Development Competition is one of the most prized competitions for young people on this island. It is intended to search out and develop our next generation's leaders, and to this end it has been an outstanding success.
The Banbridge club has facilitated local participants in Rotary's Youth Leadership Competition since its inception -although the offer is not always taken up! Entries are invited from local schools and youth organisations, and entrants are interviewed for a place in area finals. In Ireland as many as 4000 young people have been interviewed across the country and, usually, 24 travel to Strasbourg.

The reputation of the Irish students attending the Euroscola previously has been wonderful. The standard of one group in recent years caused an EU Official to say " today in the European Parliament Ireland is a Superpower".

The Euroscolar Programme is best thought of as Students’ Open day. It is aimed at local schools and youth groups with young people in the age range of 15-19 and the final numbers must include some who are disabled or disadvantaged.
12 countries usually participate, each sending approximately 24 young people.
Each group is introduced to the European parliament by its Chairperson, which would be onerous enough without the proviso that it cannot be done in the student’s mother tongue!
Rotary in Ireland has long considered this competition to be its flagship in Youth Opportunities and our 2800 Rotarians are rightly proud of our representatives in Strasbourg.

Why not join in next year? Use the contact link on our home page

In 2009 for the seventh time in all, Banbridge had a representative on the Euroscolar programme when Conal O'Hare joined the Irish contingent in Strasbourg. . I wonder how many Rotary clubs can claim that - an excellent statement for the quality of education offered in our town. Indeed Conal was invited to address District Council - that's the all Ireland Rotary forum - and relate the experiences of the visit.

In 2005, Andrew Neill became the third student from Banbridge in four years, and the sixth in all, to progress to the Euroscolar day in Strasbourg.

In 2003, Aiden Reay addresses the Rotary Conference. He was one of 1825 young people from 350 schools throughout Ireland who participated that year.

2002  -  Emily Neill receives her certificate from District Governor Robert Warren
Extreme left is a proud Dad, John and on the right is the Head of the European Office, Dr. Jim O'Brien

Riann Coulter made the trip in 1994

Victoria Jennett was one of the lucky ones in 1993

Joanne Mawhinney also represented the area (no photo available)

Nicole Parkinson-Kelly of Banbridge Academy was successful in the 2015 finals of the youth leadership competition which were held in Portadown. One of three successful finalists, she was interviewed by two people with a professional background independent of Rotary, and she met stiff competition from Newry, Lisburn, Lurgan, Drogheda and Dundalk, eight in all. Nicole was described by the judges as " excellent ambassador for young people". Naturally she is delighted to take part in the week long programme in January with 23 other young people from Ireland. From left: President GerryMcElvogue, Linda Parkinson-Kelly, Raymond Pollock, Nicole Parkinson-Kelly, Dennis Livingstone, Louis Boyle.

Rotary in Banbridge recently had a special night focusing on young people. Nicole Parkinson-Kelly who represented Banbridge on the 2015 Youth Leadership group visit to the European Parliament, gave a presentation on her visit. Also in attendance were two young people Chris and Jacob who are keen mountain bikers, who gave a presentation on mountain biking. Both are keen bikers who use the Rostrevor Mountain Biking centre, and both are pupils of New-bridge College in Loughbrickland. In the group photo is President Gerry, Louis Boyle, Sheila English who is taking over from Grainne Bagnall as District Youth Services Chair, and Nicole. At the back is Chris and Jacob Julie together with some friends of Nicole.

The club is hoping that these young people are going to set up an Interact Club in the Banbridge area. Interact is the branch of Rotary based in secondary schools for young people aged 12 to 18.