Zeminar is a Huge Success!
As I stood back stage with Donal Walsh’s mum, Elma, I felt the familiar flutter of nervous energy bounce around my insides as the MC called my name.
The crowd were still finding their seats and the auditorium buzzed with activity. I walked out to a warm welcome from the students and joined Elma on a bright purple couch which was placed centre stage.
She was invited up first to share her story which contained equal measures of heartbreak and motivation. I instantly forgot about the hundreds of students sitting in front of me and simply listened to Elma’s words.
For those unaware, Donal Walsh became very well-known after appearing on Brendan O Connor’s ‘The Saturday Night Show’. He captured the hearts of the nation as he tirelessly fund raised while battling cancer. Donal raised €65,000 before losing his battle on May 12th, 2013.
Once Elma returned to the couch it was my turn to address the crowd. I had nine minutes to share my life story.
The speaker schedule was very tight and I was told to stay within my allotted time if possible. Staying within your time frame can be the difference between getting another booking or not.
Event organisers have to be able to rely on you to keep the show running smoothly so I was pleased to have managed it! Each time I share my story with a new crowd, I feel as if I am speaking for the first time. I speak from the heart and never bring notes on stage with me.
I don’t want to be tied into following a ‘script’ and even though this process leaves you open to forgetting your train of thought, I think the off the cuff style with storytelling is much more personal and therefore worth the risk!
I am delighted to have been given the chance to speak at Zeminar’s inaugural event as it is one that is going to increase in size each year.
Zeminar founder Damien Clarke has already been approached by two international organisations looking to franchise. Ticket sales for year one reached 13,000 which isn’t too shabby!
The only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of Donegal schools present’ and that has nothing to do with the organisers. Teachers and principles should have made it their business to have their students attend.
I have no doubt Donegal teens missed out big time and my only hope is that the people of Donegal don’t do the same next year. I heard a lot of ‘Oh Dublin gets all the big events, we can’t travel’. I met students who had travelled from Tralee so that excuse is just that, an excuse. Get off your asses and make it happen people!
Road Trip to Milford
My week ended with a trip to Loreto Community School in Milford where I was invited to speak to the students to mark National Mental Health Week.
It was my first time visiting the school and I felt instantly welcome. I was met by one of the students when I finally arrived (yes, I got lost even though half of my family are from Milford).
The talk was organised by Ms Aisling Mills and was well received by the students. I often worry about sharing too much with students as I don’t want to worry them with such serious topics but they seemed to accept everything I said with a maturity far beyond their years.
We took some photographs in front of their ‘kindness’ wall and before I knew it, I was on the road again. The week absolutely flew by but a lot was crammed in. I cannot believe we are nearing the end of October already, it’s scary!
Nikki-s 0-60 Swimming Challenge-Update
As some of you know, I have been having weekly swimming lessons thanks to Aura Leisure Complex and my instructor, Gavin Doran, has come up with some very creative ways to make the lesson interesting.
I have had duct tape wrapped around my wrists and fingers, I have had floats balanced on my head and, last week, I was diving for a lead weight (it did NOT end well).
The challenge we set in the beginning was to swim 60 unbroken lengths of the pool. Last week was my eighth lesson and we managed 40 lengths. I was both surprised and delighted and want to thank Gavin for pushing me forward. He has the patience of a saint!
I want to congratulate my cousin Chris Bradley and his new wife Lizzie on their recent marriage which took place in Malta. We were all there to witness their special day and we couldn’t be happier to welcome Lizzie into the Bradley clan! Enjoy the honeymoon guys!