Following on from another highly successful Ulster Scots Summer School in 2010, Loughries intend to host another in 2011 - this will be year 5. Once again it will be held at Castle Gardens Primary School, on the last week of July - 25th to 29th - planning is at a very early stage.
There is scope for groups like Loughries to host talks, lectures, trips, musical events etc, perhaps aimed at the 'mature folk' - however it is vital to offer something to the younger folk also - they are the future for Ulster Scots, the next generation. We must encourage our young people to explore their culture and feel happy and comfortable in who they are - they will be better equipped for life.
We have a dedicated team of leaders who gladly give up 1 week of their summer holidays to organise and take part in the summer school and this year is no different - except one of the teachers, Rachael is pregnant and won't make it sadly, however the rest of the team is eagerly planning away.
I attended a Summer School seminar on Thursday evening and it is very interesting to see a few changes in the summer school criteria - obviously someone has been looking at Loughries Summer School in recent years and utilised some of our ideas!
In 2010 we had a visit from DECAL Minister Nelson McCausland, who had a great time with us and I hear was suitably impressed with the summer school - as a result of the Ministers visit we had huge publicity - 5 minutes on BBC Newsline - BBC Radio, Newsletter, Newtownards Chronicle, Culture NI and a few others.
This year we intend to have a very low profile and keep the summer school low key - we are a victim of our own success, as in 2010 we had a waiting list of 15 children, we are only permitted to have 60 children per day and if truth be told we could have twice that number, the demand is there.
More on this later!