Youth Circus member Darragh chats about his experience on the GCC Board of Directors

In honor of Charity Trustees Week, we interviewed Darragh O'Donohoe, youth circus and board member at Galway Community Circus, about his experience as a young person on the Board of Directors.

Darragh was appointed to the board in 2020 and is a full time student at NUI Galway studying psychology. He has been a youth member of Galway Community Circus for nine years and has participated in the circus on all levels. He has been as a student, volunteer, teacher and has served as a member of the organisational team behind Scratch Night (among other more specific roles). He is in his first year of membership with the board of a three-year term.

Why did you decide to join the Board of Directors for Galway Community Circus?

I first joined the board because I was approached by the management of the circus with the idea of including a youth member. This person would represent and give the perspective of the membership of the circus when dealing with directorial matters. I thought that this sounded like a great idea and that the ability to represent the youth members of GCC in a direct sense was a great thing for me.

What impact do you think your work on the board has on the organisation, especially as a young person on the board?

I think my membership on the board has, and will continue to, allow the board to better serve the interests of the membership. This is obviously a key aim of a community focused charity such as GCC. The other members of the board have a wealth of experience in the arts sector, business management, financial management or more life experience than one as young as myself could hope to have. However, I am the only board member that knows what it means to be a part of the circus as a student, a performer, a teacher, and now as a director. And even more importantly than any of those specific roles I have had in the Circus I know what it means to have grown up both in and with GCC, as I started 10 years ago at the age of 11. This is an invaluable perspective to the board as I can envision the impacts of our decisions on the day-to-day experiences of our membership.

What is your favourite thing about being a board member?

My favourite thing about being a board member is the increased insight I have been given into an organisation I have been a part of for a decade. My new position means that I have truly seen parts of every aspect of the circus now, and that kind of access into the organisation that I partially grew up in is incredibly interesting and rewarding.

Do you have any advice for someone considering becoming a board member for an organisation, especially as a young person?

My main piece of advice for anyone, young people specifically, who have been presented with the opportunity to join the directorial board of an organisation is an almost perfectly simple one: do it.

I say this mostly for one reason. Young or old, there are two things I believe are important for a person to have if they want to seriously consider joining a directorial board. The first is interest; this means having an interest in both the organisation and the specifics of a role on the board. I believe I have taken to my position on the GCC board as well as I have solely because the organisation means so much to me and I am passionate about how it works and how it is changing. The second thing I believe to be important is what a person can bring to the position. A role as a director of an organisation is one that carries a level of responsibilities and it is important that anyone who wants to join a board does so with the ability to bring something to the table. For me this was my perspective as a youth member. For others it could be any number of things (I listed some in an earlier answer).

If you are passionate about the organisation and can bring something new to the management of that organisation then you should definitely consider going for a place on the board. It is a rewarding and enlightening experience, especially for a young person for whom this kind of directorial experience may have seemed decades away in their career.


To learn more about our Board of Directors, click here.