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Ukrainian children learn the ropes!

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More than 15 Ukrainian children from the Innisfallen Hotel have joined the local Killarney Scout Group.

Natalya Krasnenkova

SKILLS: Sean Sweeney the Killarney Scout Group leader showing some the Ukrainian children scouting skills.

SCOUTS: Over 15 Ukrainian children from the Innisfallen Hotel have joined the local Killarney Scout Group.

Every Wednesday, Ukrainian children walk to the nearest school in Fossa to spend time with Scouts. The children say that they really like to put up tents, make wooden furniture from boards, and learn to knit knots from ropes. Very soon the children will go to camp with local Scouts. The Killarney Advertiser asked Sean Sweeney, the Killarney Scout Group leader, about working with Ukrainian children.

Why did the scouts from Fossa invite Ukrainian children to join the movement?

The Fossa group were beginning to make plans to have the Ukrainian children join when Killarney Scout Group said they had arranged an evening's activities at the hotel. We discussed it among the leaders in both groups and felt it would be easier for them to access scouting in Fossa as they could walk to and from meetings. So after a nice evening's activities we registered the Ukrainian children interested in scouting with the group. The ethos of the group is inclusion and an opportunity for all children to enjoy the activities scouting has to offer regardless of background. We also felt that as part of our Scout law a Scout is helpful and considerate of others and that it was important that we be as helpful as possible to the Ukrainian families who have come to live in our parish.

What are your first impressions of communicating with children from Ukraine?

No matter where in the world they come from children are children and are always quick to learn and are able to adapt to situations. While there is a language barrier there to be overcome it should not prevent a young person getting involved and having fun. The Ukrainian children were quick to get involved and like our own Scouts they are enthusiastic and appear to be enjoying what they are learning so far.

How do you overcome language barriers?

When we need to teach some technical items like pitching tents or building tables we find the scouting resources online and using an online translator we create a Ukrainian version of the resources. For other things we use hand signals and it is amazing how much a frown or smile can communicate. Some of the young people have enough English to be of help to us also in overcoming the language barrier. When working with young people, a little patience and some good humour go a long way.

What are the plans for spring and summer for Scouts and how Ukrainian children will be integrated into them?

In May we will have our county Scout camp locally. This is where Scouts from all over Kerry meet over a weekend to camp, learn skills and have fun together. We hope the Ukrainian children will participate as it is always a highlight of our scouting year. As the evenings get longer we will spend more time outdoors learning scouting skills and will have some day hikes and hope to have a group camp of our own in late June or early July.

Tell us about your movement: ideology, history of Fossa, how many local children join the Scout movement?

Fossa 8th Kerry was established in September 1982 with just a Scout section for boys aged 11-15. Two years later a Cub Scout section was founded and a year later a Venture Scout section was added. Finally in 2018 Beaver Scouts were started in the group. Since the pandemic we have reopened our Scout and Venture Scout sections but are currently looking for volunteers to help us reopen the younger sections in September. Anyone interested in helping us please feel free to contact us at fossascouts@gmail.com.

Over its history we have had many generous people give of their time as leaders in the group to ensure that we kept going and kept providing the fun of scouting to about 3,000 young people and counting. Fossa 8th Kerry is part of the national association called Scouting Ireland. Scouting Ireland's goal is to encourage the social, physical, intellectual, character, emotional and spiritual development of young people so that they may achieve their full potential and, as responsible citizens, to improve society. As part of Scouting Ireland we have taken part in Provincial, National and International camps and have enjoyed the company of many international Scouts over the years.

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30 years of Innisfallen Island MassThe annual special concelebrated Mass on Innisfallen Island takes place next week.

Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm. Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by […]

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Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm.

Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by Geoffrey O’Donoghue who sadly died four years after it began.

“There was an Augustinian Monastery on Innisfallen Island and the people, including priests and monks and they say Brian Boro, went out there to study. The lake, Lough Lein is called ‘The Lake of Learning’,” said his wife Mary who carries on the tradition in his memory.

“My husband Geoffrey was a descendent of the O’Donoghues and he wanted to have Mass on the island. The O’Donoghues built Ross Castle and owned the lands and the lake surrounding it which was later donated by John McShane to the people of Killarney. He [Geoffrey] asked one of the friars and one day he got a call from the OPW that there would be a plaque unveiled to John McShane and they asked if the Mass could coincide with it. It was attended by Sr Pauline, John McShane’s daughter.”

She added that all the public are welcome to attend. Boats, which will have a nominal fee to cover their costs, will be carrying passengers out from 4pm onwards.

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Photo of “hidden gem” wins Camera Club’s latest competition

A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition. Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the […]

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A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition.

Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the Novice category, Iryna Halaieva’s photograph of O’Sullivan’s Cascade was deemed the winner.

“A waterfall is my favourite waterbody and long exposure is my favourite photographic technique,” she said. “I do my best to have as many waterfalls as possible in my photo collection. I heard a lot about O’Sullivan’s Cascade and wanted to visit that hidden gem of Kerry. So, shortly before our club competition I went with a friend to Tomies Wood to photograph it. It was a dream come true for me.”

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