Hope you're all good and well on the wind down to a well-deserved Christmas break now.
I have to kick off this month by saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended, and made, the RYA Midlands Affiliated Clubs Conference such a success.
Over 100 of you from more than half of our region's 88 clubs made it along and the feedback you have given us suggests you got even more out of this year than you did last.
Among the most telling feedback we've had is that 100% of you found the insights information on the health of our Midlands clubs either very informative (56%) or informative (44%). We are pleased that had the desired impact and, if you couldn't make it along you can read more about what was discussed here - Results: The health of our Midlands sailing clubs
In addition 96% found the department updates very informative (56%) or informative (40%), 84% rated the overall conference as excellent and 80% would like this to be an annual event.
There will be more reaction and reflection on the some of the major topics and workshop items in the coming weeks and months, including in our meetings with clubs, but in the meantime, thanks again.
Instructor Training Day - booking now open
You can now book your place at the RYA Midlands Regional Instructor Training Day at Rutland SC on Saturday 25 February (see Related articles box for link).
Amongst this year's highlights include getting to try out the new Glen Truswell-designed Fusion dinghy, which is making a big noise since its launch at the Southampton Boat Show in September, while we will also be addressing in-depth a major change which comes into instructor endorsements in 2017.
From 1 January all instructors can teach anywhere, and there will no longer be any discrepancy between coastal, inland, tidal and non-tidal qualifications. Accordingly there is a focus in the day's workshops on upskilling instructors in navigation skills.
The workshop programme is deliberately wider and more outcome driven this year as one of the major pieces of feedback we frequently get after the Instructor Training Day is that not everyone got to do all the workshops they would have liked. The way the day has been organised this year there is plenty of time to do all the workshops you would find most beneficial while still being able to get afloat.
The Instructor Training Day is always one of my favourite events of the year because of the energy and enthusiasm everyone brings so I'm looking forward to seeing you all again in February.
Are you signed up for Push The Boat Out?
As explained in the Health Of Our Sailing Clubs article, open and taster days now account for almost a fifth of newcomers to sailing and RYA Push The Boat Out from 13-21 May gives your club/centre the chance to take part in a national 'get involved' campaign with the clout of the RYA behind you.
All clubs/centres wanting to take advantage of the free branded resources must have signed up by the end of February. Here's how - RYA Push The Boat Out Activator Sign Up
Club Development Workshops to be announced soon
There will be a number of Club Development Workshop venues and dates announced in the New Year on the topic of getting more people to your taster/open/Push The Boat Out days, and, here's the really important bit, retaining them and converting them into regular sailors. Watch this space for details.
Get your nominations in for 2017 RYA Regional Youth Champion and RYA Volunteer Awards
It was absolutely fantastic to see so many Midlands sailors honoured with RYA Volunteer Awards by HRH The Princess Royal last month. In case you missed it no fewer than 12 sailors from our region were presented with awards and you can find out who won what here - HRH The Princess Royal Presents Midlands Sailors With RYA Volunteer Awards
Who at your club could you give a day out like this to? Anyone can be nominated for an award and the entries are now open for the 2017 awards so get your thinking caps on. Everyone who has won one of these awards will tell you it is an incredible day and experience and it really is a fantastic way to say 'thank you' and recognise what the hardest working people in your club do.
All the information you need is in the Related Articles box at the top, along with information on how to nominate one of your young sailors for an RYA Regional Youth Champion Award.
These awards recognise the outstanding achievement and performance of young people across the range of activities that the RYA represents, turning the spotlight on 2016’s most promising young sailors, windsurfers and powerboaters.
Winners must have shown success on the racecourse at local, national or international level. All the winners and their families will be invited to the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show for the official awards ceremony in March.
All that's left for me to say it have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and see you all in 2017!
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