Two young people from Westmeath were part of a major conference addressed by rugby great Paul O’Connell in Maynooth last week.
Ciara Maxwell, and Adam Costello joined 250 other teenagers from India, the USA and Ireland in Kildare for Foróige’s Leadership for Life Youth Conference. (Continues below photo...)
Ciara Maxwell and Adam Costello.
The conference, on the grounds of NUI Maynooth, brought together teenagers to empower them to become leaders in their own lives.
Paul O’Connell gave a talk to the young people last Thursday, as part of the Aldi guest lecture series, where he highlighted the importance of staying positive.
O’Connell, the Aldi Play Rugby Ambassador, said: “God-given talent is a myth – successful people work harder and smarter and that’s how they achieve their goals.
“It’s really important to keep positive.
“Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something.
“You have the capacity to work, train and do anything you put your mind to.
“It doesn’t matter what it is, stay the course and be the person you want to be.”
Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige, said the young people have come to the conference because someone in their lives saw their potential to lead, grow, develop and influence, whether that was a parent, Foróige youth worker, or teacher.
“Among other things, these teens will learn about resilience and perseverance this week, and further develop their ability to believe in themselves.
“It’s more important than ever for these young people to realise that leadership is not about ego or personal advancement, it’s about showing the way and inspiring those around you to be the best that they can be.
“The conference offers these young people the fantastic opportunity of exploring their own unique set of leadership skills, whilst encouraging them to believe in their own ability to make real and powerful positive change in the world.”
The 250 delegates, aged 15 to 18, will graduate on tomorrow Friday morning (August 3), having completed various stages of the leadership programme.
As part of the week-long conference, the delegates also met inspirational guest speakers Louise Foody, director of Digital and Brand at Kingspan Group, and Maria Walsh, former Rose of Tralee, entrepreneur, and broadcaster.
Ciara and Adam are members of St Joseph’s Foróige Club, Streamstown.