Irish-American teens invited to Ireland for summer camp

Two-week programme funded by Government aims to strengthen ties with diaspora

Twenty high school students will take part in the two-week programme, which includes classes, workshops, activities and field trips around Ireland. Photograph: Thinkstock

Twenty high school students will take part in the two-week programme, which includes classes, workshops, activities and field trips around Ireland. Photograph: Thinkstock

 

American teenagers with Irish roots are being invited to apply to participate in a summer camp in Co Donegal this July “to strengthen their links with Ireland”.

The Global Irish Summer Camp, operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, is open to young people aged between 15 and 17 who have never visited Ireland before. Twenty places will be available on the pilot programme this year.

Students will be based at the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland Campus in Bundoran, Co Donegal. Over the course of two weeks, they will travel around Ireland to visit important historical sites, as well as attending classes and workshops on Irish history, language and culture.

While the programme will have a strong educational focus, it will also include “interaction with all facets of Irish society and culture as well as day trips and outdoor adventures”.

The concept is closely based on the Israeli Taglit-Birthright scheme, which has seen more than 400,000 young Jewish people from around the world visit Israel over the past 15 years.

Announcing the opening of the application process, acting Minister for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan said the camp would be “an excellent opportunity for children of Irish emigrants to strengthen their links with Ireland though a short immersive visit”.

“Following their participation in the programme it is hoped that they will leave with a new-found love of Ireland which will stay with them for many years,” he added.

Dr Niamh Hamill of the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland said the project would strengthen the ties between Ireland and its diaspora.

“It is crucial that Ireland presents itself to the world, and that future generations abroad maintain the links that have been so carefully nurtured by past generations,” she said.

Participants will have all their costs covered while in Ireland, including accommodation, meals and transport, but will have to pay for their own flights to and from Dublin.

Funding for the summer camp is being provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs under its Emigrant Support Programme. The camp will be administered by the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland and the UCD Clinton Institute, following a tender process.

Applicants must provide a “creative and personal submission” in the form of a written essay of less than 1,250 words, or a three-minute video, explaining why they want to take part, and outlining their Irish heritage.

For more information and to apply, see globalirishsummercamp.com. The deadline for applications is April 20th.

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