In October 1980, a meeting of a local parent’s association meeting discussed the need for “a community project which develops a community spirit. It transcends all barriers and beliefs. For two weeks we are one”.

The aims of the project at that time were:

  1. To instil confidence and responsibility in our youth
  2. To tap the talents of our adolescents
  3. To develop an awareness of our environment
  4. To develop an approach to leisure time

The age limit for the project was set at 9 -14 years. A number of work groups were set up to focus on various activities including:

  • · Arts & Crafts
  • Sports
  • Tours

Reporting to the committee, these work groups helped produce the program of events for the first every Greystones Summer Project. Our first project opened with a fancy dress parade through the town. A combination of Arts, Crafts , Tours and Sporting activities using local facilities – St. Kevin’s, St. David’s & St. Brigid’s as well as St. Killian’s hall. Local family homes were volunteered for certainactivities, including cookery and computers. Our first project finished with a barbecue and sing song on the South Beach.

From the outset of the project has been self-financing. Initially, the committee ran
fundraising events including cake sales and concerts. The fee for the project in the first year was £2.50 per child (£ 5.00 per family). This fee included all activities with the exclusion of a tour to the zoo, which cost an additional £1.00! Over the years, it became more difficult to arrange fund raising activities. The committee decided that the cost of the project should increase to cover costs we hope you will agree that even at €35, the packed program of activities is a bargain.

In our first year enrolment numbers exceeded all expectations – 300 participants enrolled
with just 59 parent/teenage helpers. From the outset the issue of parental support became key for project committees! 1986 saw the amendment of participant age groups to 8-13. Over the years the summer project grew in size to its peak in 1998 where 500 participants took part. As well as the participants, the number of teenage helpers grew sizeably.

In 1985, it was suggested that we facilitate the younger teenagers (14-16) to allow them to continue to participate in the project in a more responsible capacity – preparing them to
become senior helpers. As the time went by, the training of teenage helpers was formalised to ensure we prepare them for the responsibility of assisting in day to day activities of the Project.

Co. Wicklow