THE vast majority of GAA clubs own their own facilities, some may lease, and very few have no facilities to call ‘home’.
Although increasingly there are fewer and fewer weeks of the year when the GAA club is not being used, the summer months are the time to get the best out of your GAA base. With kids being off school there is an opportunity in the coming weeks to increase the potential of your club.
The summer months are a good time to maximise opportunities to get more kids and their parents into the club. A number of clubs will host their own summer camp during this time in addition to county board-led camps. Not only is the club providing a service for families, they are also promoting the club; giving access to kids who may not normally reach for the football or hurl.
In addition to club-led camps, clubs should also consider if they could link with externally organised summer schemes, youth clubs and so on.
This could be as simple as providing young, suitably qualified volunteers to help out the summer schemes in order to be a friendly face to children who might not already be engaged in the club.
Of course, in order to run any event for kids in the summer months usually requires having responsible adults available throughout the day. The club committee should pull together coaches, and parents to determine a schedule of when possible events could be held. Remember to include young adults in this as well, as this age group are normally very willing to help out, they just need to be asked!
In addition to camps for young kids, the club should utilise the longer evenings, and better weather, by organising activities for other groups.
Recreational GAA is an initiative to get non-playing adults active in playing fun-filled non-competitive Gaelic games. Every club has plenty of adults who have hung up the boots in a competitive sense but who would welcome a chance to play socially. Summer evenings are an ideal time to schedule social games within the club.
GAA for Dads & Lads, Gaelic For Mothers & Others, and Mum and Me are initiatives being rolled-out by the GAA, Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie Associations, respectively. More information on these can be found on the respective websites. Remember to ensure all activities are covered by the club’s GAA public liability insurance before undertaking any additional activities.
Rounders is an excellent GAA code to be played in the summer. It is likely that few members in the club have played it competitively so it is a great opportunity for all ages and abilities to come together in having some fun. For more information on playing rounders, visit the rounders website on www.rounders.gaa.ie.
Although the number of clubs hosting sports days have dwindled in recent years, more and more clubs are looking to organise fun-filled events for all the family at little cost. Sports days are an excellent way of inviting club members and others into the club and should be considered.
No matter what the event taking place is, clubs should be sure to capture the day on camera. Be sure to seek photographic consent of those involved first. It is all about using the GAA club to maximum effect to the benefit of club members and wider community.