Help us to learn, that it is okay to make mistakes.
That we are each unique, and that, above all, we are all equal in your eyes.
If, then, we can learn these things we would truly, act justly, love tenderly,and walk humbly with our God.
What is Meitheal?
The name Meitheal was taken from an old tradition in the west. Farmers living in the same area would have a Meitheal every year, the whole idea being that they would work together to bring in their crops. This built up strong friendships and respect among the people involved in the Meitheal.
The Meitheal programme is designed to educate and empower young people in their schools. The students, leaders and others educate each other through leadership, taking action, liturgy, reflection and evaluation.
All students who participate on the programme have to attend a week’s training course.
This course will give the students all the skills they will need to work as a Meitheal team in their school.
The programme challenges people to look at themselves, to believe that they are worthwhile and that they have a special contribution to make. It focuses on the gold within and encourages people to discover some of that gold. The young people who participate on Meitheal come from all walks of life and different situations. On the training week the young people are treated as equals and discover that they have got something to offer and that (others) their own peers can see good things about them and its okay to be ME.
Meitheal is also about the people in my group knowing who I am, knowing that I care. People experience the warmth, friendship and encouragement I have to offer and know that I am honest with them.
The programme askes people to step beyond their own needs and to act on the needs of others. On the training week the students are given the skills to identify needs in their school and how to act upon those needs. Meitheal is also about looking out for the people in your group and maintaining the spirit of Meitheal. Meitheal students are encouraged to use their learning in everyday life with their friends, family and parish.
There are many people involved with the programme in different ways, parents, teachers, students and volunteers who work as leaders each year.
The Meitheal programme is the start of a process, the development of young people, it is envisaged that students involved in the programme would later become leaders in their own parish and community.
Meitheal is very much about transformation, it’s about trying to make a difference, to make your school a better place for all.
Meitheal does not look for standards, numbers or results from the groups; it looks for groups of young people doing their best, caring for each other and the students with whom they work. Growing as individuals and believing in their own true potential.
The Meitheal Group tries to identify the different needs in the school and by listening, discussion, taking action and evaluation; they then try to answer these needs. Here are some examples of the actions the Meitheal Groups have carried out.
The Meitheal Group plays an important role helping the new first years settle into the school. The integration of young people from national school to secondary school can be a very daunting experience. For first years to be met by senior students on their first day in secondary school helps the young people to settle in a lot quicker. The Meitheal Group introduce them to their new school, give them a tour and explain the running of the school. The Group talk about Meitheal and let them know that the Group is there for them should they ever need them.
Bullying is always a constant threat to our schools. Meitheal groups do not tolerate bullying in their schools. Meitheal groups have been very successful in identifying and dealing with bullying issues. Their presence and contact with the students have made it a lot easier for students to settle and a lot harder for bullies to bully.
Meitheal Groups work hard all year to organise different activities and events for the students in the school. Some activities might be to raise money for charity or their own school; others are just purely to have fun.
SKILLS LEARNED IN A MEITHEAL GROUP
- Meeting Skills
- Decision Making
- Listening Skills
- To lend a helpful hand
- Communicating with hierarchy
- To tackle problems
- Patience, co-operation
- Planning Skills
- To stand up for ourselves and others
- Being aware of inclusion and exclusion
- More diplomatic
- Effort and hard work
- More responsible
- Delegation and organising
- Reflection and evaluation
EXPERIENCE OF A MEITHEAL GROUP
- PROBLEM SOLVING
- CONFIDENCE BUILDING
- WORKING WITHIN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
- DEALING WITH FAILURE AND SUCCESS
- WORKING WITH CONFLICT – ACHIEVING AN ACTION RATHER THAN DOING NOTHING
- WORKING WITHIN A GROUP – GAINING A FOUNDATION IN EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
A Meitheal Term
- Approach school
- Launch programme
- Summer training
- Work in school
- Further training weekends
- Achievements night