The 7th Galway Killererin Scout Troop
First published in Killererin - A Parish History
Scout Troop established in Barnaderg
The 7the Galway Killererin Scout Troop was established in Barnaderg in September 1993. It came about due to the lack of facilities or activities for young people in the parish with the exception of the GAA. Bernadette Forde, Togher, and Margie Nestor, Feigh, came up with the idea and Bernadette met with Assistant District Commissioner of the Scouting Association of Ireland, Ian O’Connor, in the Imperial Hotel, Tuam who outlined for her what the establishment of such a troop would entail.
Following a public meeting that year, the troop began in September and such was the interest of parents and children alike, Beaver, Cub and Scout sections were set up. Through the hard work and efforts of a few parents and leaders, fundraising began and the sum of £3,600 was raised. This money was spent on the purchase of equipment including tents, camping equipment, and insurance for both children and leaders. It was also used to provide the necessary training for leaders and the purchase of uniforms for the leaders who paid for them out of their own pocket the 1st year. This money was only refunded to them in the 2nd year as all concerned were adamant that the equipment was bought first enabling them to carry out a variety of activities with the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.
Overall Group Leader was Bernadette Forde, Treasurer: Mary Burke, Garra; Secretary: Maureen Gilligan; Scout Representative to parish council: Gerry Connolly. Scout leader was Sean Dolan, Castleview; assisted by Michael Miskell (Jnr.) Cloondahamper; Kevin Butler and Regina Fahy both from Barnaderg
and Bernadette Forde.
Golden Eagle Pack
Cub Leader of the Golden Eagle Pack was: Gerry Connolly, Clogherboy; assisted by Maureen Gilligan, Dangan; Mary McCabe, Garra and Eileen O’Connell, Dangan;
Hawk Pack Cub Leader was Margie Nestor, Feigh; Francis McGrath, Carrowmoneen; Teddy Kelly, Cahergal and Eileen Holian, Garra.
Beaver leader was Rita Reddington, assisted by Bridie Keane, Barnaderg; Deirdre Byrne, Castleview; Phil Butler, Barnaderg and Evelyn Hennelly, Dangan; Beaver leader Rita Reddington resigned at the end of the 1st year and was replaced the following year by Beaver leader Deirdre Byrne.
Variety of Activities
An extract from the annual report of scout leader Kevin Butler for the scout troop in 1994-1995 showcases the variety of activities undertaken by the troop that year. Following their investiture for which they had to learn their promise, they began an 8 week course in First Aid at the end of which
all scouts took their exam and were duly awarded certificates. On St. Patrick’s Day, 1995, the scouts along with the beavers and cubs paraded from the village to the church behind their banner playing tin whistles and singing songs. They then participated in the Mass by bringing up gifts etc. This proved to be very popular and the catalyst for the very successful St. Patrick’s Day parades that began in the village the following year.
Hiking and singing around the camp fire ……..
On March 29th, 1994, they hiked to Imanemore bog and had a campfire, sang songs and had a treasure hunt. On April 5th, they practised compass work at the local school and during the following weeks practised knots and when competent, reinforced these skills by constructing a chair from bamboos. Map
reading and compass work were learned the same year. Cooking skills were practised on a half-barrel constructed by Sean Dolan and some dreadful combinations such as baked bananas with Mars bars in the centre, baked potatoes with a raw egg cooked in the centre were all tried and tested.
In June, they hiked to the castle and studied the structure and history of the building. In July, an overnight camp was held behind the pitch thanks to the cooperation of landowner Kathy Kelly. Tents were erected, sausages were cooked. Needless to say, not much sleep was had and the leaders were joined by Irene Roche and Michael Miskell who helped out that night. Everything was packed up and children were back in their own homes at 8a.m. the following morning.
Trip to Achill Outdoor Education Centre
The year ended on a high with the scouts and their leaders going to Achill Outdoor Education centre for a summer camp where many activities were embarked upon accompanied by qualified leaders and instructors from the centre. These included rock-climbing, hill-climbing, canoeing, surfing and kayaking.
This sense of fun and adventure was replicated in the Cub and Beaver sections and leaders found themselves involved in activities that they would otherwise never have dreamed of doing. While sometimes, putting up tents in the pouring rain was not easy, the camaraderie born in those times and
friendships forged remain to this day. Sleepovers in the community centre, learning how to cook on camp stoves under supervision, participating in competitions with other groups were all part of the fun.
Cub’s activities – Golden Eagle pack
In his 1993-94 report, Gerry Connolly, leader of the Golden Eagle cub pack reported on the cub’s investiture and the variety of activities they embarked upon that year. In November, leaders Eileen O’Connell, Mary McCabe, Maureen Gilligan and Gerry attended training in Galway. That same month, the theme was healthy eating and hygiene. Eileen O’Connell delivered a basic first aid course for the troop. On December 5th, they went on an outing to Mountbellew woods and had to follow a trail which was set previously by their leaders. The cubs also gathered conifers, moss, holly and ivy with which
they later made Christmas logs for sale at the Christmas fair.
In January, Ray Moore, a local garda sergeant, gave a talk on road safety after which they made posters. During the following months, all their activities were outdoors and included visits to the local reservoir, castle, abbey in Abbeyknockmoy, mausoleum in Monivea and a hike in Derreen woods. They had a cook-out in Poll a Chapaill bog, during which burgers, sausages, rashers and beans were cooked. They also played games in Poll a Chapaill and competed against each other in the long jump and sprints which earned them their athletics badges.
In May, they paid a visit to the Garda barracks in Tuam and were shown all through the station by Garda Stephen Burke who was Youth officer at the time. He hosted a party for them in the barracks much to their surprise after giving them a talk on drinking and drugs. Many other activities took place but the year culminated in a camp in Portumna for one night only much to the disappointment of the troop who would have liked to have stayed another night.
Cub’s activities – Hawk pack
Margie Nestor was Cub Scout Leader of the Hawk Pack and similar to all other sections, investiture took place at the beginning of the year once they had fulfilled certain criteria. Their 1st outing was to Cong, Co. Mayo during which they embarked on a long forest walk, observing all the wonderful sights and sounds of their surroundings. They also visited the grounds of Ashford castle which were breathtaking. This was followed by a trip to Tuam Garda Station for a visit and outings to the local water reservoir, the Abbey in Abbeyknockmoy, Barnaderg castle and a hike to Knockroe. The Cubs also had several walks around the village observing plant and wildlife in the area.
Accompanied by all other sections of 7th Galway Killererin Scout troop, they marched to the church on St. Patrick’s day. On May 7th, they attended a fun day in Claregalway for all the cubs in the district and a great day was had by all. However, the highlight of the year was the Cub Scout camp in Portumna in June. This was a district camp so once the tents were erected, the cooking started and games were organised by the District camp, the cubs went for several long and short nature walks and had loads of fun. The wild deer roaming the perimeter of the camp lent a little bit of magic to the event.
In her 1993-94 report, Beaver leader Deirdre Byrne provides a snapshot of their year listing activities the Beavers were involved in. From their investiture by Dick Ridge, District Scout leader at the beginning of the year, to making Halloween posters followed by a Halloween party and fancy dress in October, they had a great time. They attended a Christmas party for all the Beavers in the district in Galway but back home in the community centre, they had another party and also made Christmas cards for their mums and dads.
Nature and Pollution
In January, they had nature and pollution as their theme and participated in a litter clean-up and learned about feeding wild birds during the harsh winter months. The leaders also hosted a craft night in the Red Gap for the District Beaver leaders and were assisted by the Corofin Beaver leaders.
Other activities included making ‘special day cards’ for their green paw badges and raising money for different charities.Their summer outing was to Coole park, Gort which unfortunately was a wash-out due to bad weather so they abandoned ship and went to the omniplex cinema in Galway and paid a visit to Lackagh museum on the way home.
Parents and Friends Committee
The parents and friends committee consisting of Margaret Kelly, Grange; Helen Treacy, Dangan; Gerry McGrath, Togher and Doreen Hynes, Creevaghbawn were an invaluable source of support to the troop looking after the fundraising activities. Almost all leaders remained in place during the lifetime of the scout troop in Killererin but despite the best efforts of all involved, no new leaders came on board to replace them when these leaders wanted to move on. The troop lasted for 6 years from September 1993 until September 1999 when sadly it closed.
Training course for District leaders
A training course for all the leaders in the district took place in Barnaderg during the lifetime of the Scout troop and all the leaders received ongoing training during their time in the Scout troop enabling them to deliver effective programmes, Their commitment resulted in all sections, Beavers, Cubs and
Scouts winning district quality awards for the quality of their programmes every year of its existence.
It was a very worthwhile adventure while it lasted and both leaders and group members benefitted from the training and activities.