With a significant increase in the number of young Irish men and women moving to the United States or Canada in the recent times , a trend likely to continue for some considerable time, it is appropriate that the North American County Board (NACB) of the GAA has just launched its five year strategy which aims to secure the future of the games in North America in the years ahead.
The strategy document, which has been devised with the assistance of the board’s partners the GAA’s Munster Council, covers the promotion of Hurling, Gaelic football, Camogie and Ladies Football across the continent.
The NCAB, which was established in 1959, caters for more than 10,000 players playing with 114 clubs and is currently engaged in 15 youth programmes.
Cities like Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit and San Francisco have served as the traditional cornerstones of the association but in the last 20 years strong clubs and communities have begun to emerge in cities like Washington, Seattle, Denver, San Diego, Indianapolis, St Louis, Minneapolis, Portland, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Akron to name but a few.
A Colleges Games Programme has also been established recently which has seen our games take root in a number of universities across the US.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Criostóir Ó Cuana lauded the ongoing work of the board and commended those involved in devising the new strategy.
He said: “North America has traditionally been a hot bed for our games and never before has there been as much importance attached to being well organised and efficient in how we organise and promote our activities.
“Four years ago the Association at central level published a Strategic Vision Plan with the intention of streamlining our activities and realising a set of attainable and measurable goals.
“Since then we have encouraged our units – at all levels – to do likewise. I am delighted that so many have engaged in this process, not least boards like that in North America.
“I sincerely wish them every success in its roll out and implementation and urge members across the vast continent that is North America to give this action plan the support it deserves.”
NACB Chairman Joe Lydon said “This Action Plan provides us with the roadmap ahead. It is another milestone for our Association and we are certain that it will enhance the association at all levels in the NACB area.
“Our challenge is to not only to reach our targets and goals but to exceed them and develop our organisation to a level not envisaged when it was first set up. Truly then the GAA can boast of being an international Association underpinned by strong and vibrant units outside of Ireland.”
The document is laid out under the following headings:
• Games Development
• Communications, Sponsorship and Marketing
• Volunteers, Player Welfare and Club Excellence
• Administration, Structures, Operations and Fixtures
• Financial Excellence
• NCAB and Munster GAA Partnership
For more information on the activities of the North American Board visit http://www.northamericangaa.com/