Wexford is the first county to host a GAA Cúl Camp for autistic children
It was the first of its kind in Ireland.
Last week, Wexford became the first county to host Kellogg’s GAA Cúl Camp for children on the autism spectrum.
More than 120 kids attended the camp, which ran from Tuesday to Thursday. It was organised by the Wexford GAA WELLness programme in conjunction with Leinster Council, and the support group CAN (Cottage Autism Network).
CAN set up an initiative called Dream Big, which tries to promote inclusivity in the GAA.
Wexford Games Development Manager, Ray Harris, said: “We said wouldn’t it be great if we could do a camp for autistic children and their siblings, and from that conversation we sat down with CAN and brought along speech and language therapists from the HSE who volunteered their time. We just said, ‘Let’s do it’.
“When we first sat down we kind of thought we’d get 40. We had to limit the bookings actually at 120, as we had so much demand. We probably could have had about 200 but we didn’t know if we could cater for that many.”
Ray added that the camps were a major success, with children on the spectrum, as well as their brothers and sisters coming along. He said that they all "had the craic" and were "brilliant" from start to finish.
“The biggest thing was how emotional they found it, they could see their kids taking part in their county ground. They thought they’d never have the opportunity to do that. Even to hold a hurl for the first time or to kick a goal in Wexford Park was a huge thing for them."