This week we spoke to our Development Officer, Daire, who has been a member of Citywise since he was eight years old. Daire took the time to fill us in on what it was like growing up in Citywise.
“Today, our Summer Camp banner went up on the side of the Citywise building. It got me thinking about the months to come and the great summers I have spent in Citywise Camps since I was eight years old. This season will be my 14th Summer in Citywise, so as you can imagine it’s difficult to choose just one memory. Unfortunately, some of these memories have warped together and for those that I distinctly remember, it’s nearly impossible to separate them.”
“However, for me, the best thing about Citywise has always been the people. It never mattered whether the activity was rounders or robotics, frisbee or footgolf. Citywise Summer Camps have always been about the welcome you get when you walk into the building. The atmosphere that you can feel and the excitement that Citywise leaders can generate even in between activities is amazing. The best thing for me was always turning up to Citywise ready for the day, €2 in my pocket for the café and a change of clothes in my bag, to say hello to your group leader and your new friends.”
“That welcoming feeling is what has kept me in Citywise for so long. I came for the activities but stayed for the people. After my first camp, I signed up for after-school programmes and have been here ever since. Throughout that time, I have developed so many great friendships from Citywise and we still talk about the trips to the beach, canoeing on Blessington lake and the laugh we would have on the famous Citywise waterslide. The Citywise waterslide was always one of our favourite activities. We would go and change into our old clothes, leave our bags somewhere dry and run towards the patch of grass beside the Citywise building. There was always an obstacle course to complete, but as we jumped over hurdles and crawled under nets, we only had our eyes on the waterslide. We would run as fast as we could towards the fairy-liquid covered slide and straight into the flow of hose water. After experimenting with our technique, we found that head first and onto your belly was the only way to make it all the way to the end of the slide, what seemed like a kilometre at the time. We would have stayed there all day if we could!”
“Beyond these great memories, the people involved in running these summer camps were my role models. The leaders that looked after us were always encouraging us to think big. I didn’t realise it at the time, but we looked up to them on the Summer Camps, we wanted to follow in their footsteps and become leaders like them. There was a real sense of excitement that came from seeing the smiles on everybody's face and a real sense of community. I wanted to be part of replicating these memories for other young people. When I look back on my first Citywise Camp, that’s my favourite thing about it. I stayed involved, took part in camp after camp and joined the afterschool programmes. I worked my way through the Citywise programmes, and they supported me all the way through my education. Now that I’m working in the place, I always say that Citywise tricked me into learning. An awful lot to get out of a Summer Camp!”