IRISH IDEAS with NIALL McELWEE
A Child & Youth Care Diary:
I have just returned from the 8th international child and youth care conference hosted by the beautiful city of Montreal. What a conference! There were some 1,600 delegates from around 35 countries — including several from Ireland. Denise Lyons from the Institute of Technology in Blanchardstown and Fergal Fox from the Health Services Executive Dublin/Mid-Leinster region presented their first international workshops in Canada, so congratulations are in order to both. I believe that it means a great deal for the development of our field to get more and more people interested in international travel thus opening out the possibilities of engagement with colleagues from other systems.
Brody and Niall in Bike Leathers
Catching up with Friends
A Book Launch without Books
Fergal, RCMP Officer & Niall
Congratulations to Chief Susan Levi-Peters and the community for such a wonderful display of solidarity and for allowing the Irish Tricolour into their flags of honour. It is the first time in my career that I have launched a book without physically having one in my possession as the Customs Officers in Montreal were somewhat reluctant to release the books to us without all the appropriate forms signed off and duty paid but, as is the way in child and youth care, we made do with photocopies and glossy, colour covers. No-one seemed to mind too much and I think the important thing was that we were present in the community on the day. Susan McKenna couldn’t make it but was there in spirit.
After the book launch and meal, we drove back to Miramichi to the college where the Principal, Marie-Paule Theriault, had arranged for a welcome session with specially commissioned cakes, teas, coffees, juices and – yep – that Irish Tricolour again. Fergal and I were feeling very welcome in picture postcard New Brunswick and we want to thank the college staff for turning out to support their colleagues.
More Planes and Trains
I was delighted to meet up again with Professor Mark Krueger from the US who is recovering from an illness. Mark is well known to the Irish Child and Youth Care audience and is a guy who manages to ‘keep it real’ despite his lofty position in academia.
As I walked around the conference on the last day listening to the conversations of delegates and popping in and out of various impromptu meetings I was reminded of why child and youth care is so real. Albert Einstein, the world renowned scientist, once said "It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure".
Well done to the organisers for a seamless event. Well done to all who participated. And, thank-you to our friends in Canada. It was awesome. You rock!