Rosslare Youth Club marks 50th anniversary
Past and present members of Rosslare Youth Club gathered together to celebrate the organisation's 50th anniversary at a fun-filled event in the local community centre.
The club held its first ever members night on Friday, September 13, 1968, in Rosslare ICA hall. The founding members were composed of: President - Fr Paddy Browne; Secretary - Christine Roche; Treasurer - Leo Lambert; Assistant Treasurer - Jackie Gorman and committee members: John Roche and David Breen.
Mr Roche and Mr Lambert spoke to this newspaper about the origins of the club and highlighted the aims of the committee at the time.
'The main aim was to develop the personalities and strengthen the characters of the members,' said Mr Roche.
'The committee meetings were held in the Parochial House on Sunday mornings,' he added.
The first event held by the club was a fundraising dance in the Golf Hotel, Rosslare, and that was followed up by the club's opening night.
'It took off from there and we held meetings every week,' said Mr Roche. From the very beginning the club has been a very active organisation and in the 1960s through the 1970s it held activities like golf, darts, swimming lessons, cards, debating, quizzes and table tennis.
The club has also been involved with Ferns Diocesan Youth Service (FDYS) initiatives since its foundation.
'We had very strong membership from the beginning and it was the highlight of our week at the time to meet up on Friday nights after school,' said Mr Roche.
Mr Lambert said a lot of work went into setting up the organisation prior to the opening night. He also said that no-one knows who actually came up with the idea in the first place but added that with other youth clubs already set up around the country it was likely that inspiration came from one of those.
A large number of people attended the anniversary night during which Fr James Murphy said a prayer for deceased members, leaders and helpers.
The Chief Executive Officer of FDYS, Kieran Donohoe, also spoke on the night and highlighted the importance and significance of the club and the service it provides to young people.
The club's current Treasurer, Colette Lambert, spearheaded re-establishing the club again in 2015 after it took a hiatus for a couple of years.
Along with Cherie Jones she was effectively following in her father's footsteps by getting involved but it's something she really enjoys and this year Trisha Farrell has come on board as Secretary to help run the club.
Ms Lambert said the anniversary night was very much a celebratory event: 'It was a real celebration and we showed old memorabilia items from the club's history as well as a number of videos including when the club won the National Dance finals in Galway [in the 1990s].'
A video of the members performing 'Sister Act' in 1994 was also very popular on the night as former members reminisced about the past, recalled fond memories and rekindled old friendships.
There was also a poignant aspect to the videos as some of the people featured in them have since passed away.
'We had a video of when we started back in 2015 and we showed photos from the various activities we participate in now,' said Ms Lambert.
She said the current members participate in a wide range of activities including discos, day trips to Tayto Park, cinema outings and taking part in FDYS initiatives like Youth Factor.
'We also do youth leader training, first aid training and photography and art,' said Ms Lambert.
The club currently has around 30 members and will be starting back for the new term with registration on September 7 and the first night for new members and First Year students taking place on September 14. The entire club will resume activities on September 21.