Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you had an enjoyable festive break.
It was awesome to get the news over the holidays that Olton Mere SC's Andrew Yates, a member of our Regional Volunteer Team, had been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours for services to sailing in Solihull.
I'm sure you all join me in wishing Andrew huge congratulations. Here's the full story in case you missed it - Solihull Sailor Awarded BEM In Queen’s New Year Honours
Now Christmas is out of the way we can start looking forward at what 2017 has in store. You can make sure you club and centre diaries are fully up-to-date with everything going on across the Midlands this year by clicking on the What's On In the Midlands link in this newsletter.
Push The Boat Out in May is obviously one to really start thinking about now, especially as we learned in December's newsletter how the proportion of sailing club members being introduced through the traditional route of by a parent or other family member has fallen by about 40% since the '60s, while open/taster day engagement accounts for almost a fifth of newcomers. We'll come back to this in a minute...
The other one to get booked on to now is our RYA Midlands Regional Instructor Training Day at Rutland SC on Saturday 25 February. The full agenda can be downloaded via the link in the Related articles box at the top of this page, and, as highlighted in last month's Gareth's Gossip, the workshop programme is deliberately wider and more outcome driven this year following feedback from recent ITDs. It is the unofficial start of the season!
Dates for this winter's Club Development workshops have also been announced, and will include an update on RYA activity in the new four-year cycle, followed by a focus on working to improve the retention from open days and Start Sailing courses into club members. One thing also worth flagging up at this point is that the Sport England Small Grants scheme is expected to now be available until September 2017 (at least).
The number of venues has increased to six this year too. Booking is coming soon and it will be announced on the RYA Midlands Facebook page and also updated on the What's On In the Midlands page so keep an eye out.
So back to those open / taster day stats...
Last month's Results: The health of our Midlands sailing clubs article provided an overview of what happened in terms of club membership trends, member satisfaction and facilities and physical and capital health between 2015 and 2016 across the Midlands.
As promised the full RYA Club Membership Census 2016 Insights report has now been published (see Related articles above) and so you can note for yourselves some of the more in-depth things Midlands clubs reported on in terms of their membership last year and how that compares nationally.
Remember that this census was completed by 91% of Midlands club - well above the overall national response rate of 85% - meaning if something is suggested in here, it is pretty certain it is a trend that is either common throughout the Midlands and/or can be substantiated by the data.
Take the time to have a look through and see if what your own club has experienced fits in with the regional and national findings. If not it may give you a good starting point to review your activities?
Let Benn help you make 2017 the year YOU do Honda Youth RIB Championship
We were delighted to learn that Benn Freeman, who many of you will know from his work with clubs in Birmingham and as Training Principal at Tamworth SC, has been appointed the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship UK Event Manager this year.
The Midlands has proved to be an emerging force in developing young powerboat drivers over the past few years with both Girton SC and South Staffs SC (twice) winning brand new RIBs courtesy of their young drivers winning a Honda Youth RIB national age-group crown.
We can reveal that this year's Midland Area Final takes place at Staunton Harold SC on Saturday 1 July so you basically have six months to chat to Benn and/or our Midlands Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship Area Coordinator, Will Baldock, to get your youngsters into a RIB and get them entered for this event.
Don't forget Honda RYA Youth RIB workshops will be run at February's Instructor Training Day so instructors can have a go at the challenge and learn how to run training and an event at their club or Training Centre.
It really, really worth is it as both South Staffs and Girton will attest. Here's a reminder of how South Staffs got HYR up and running at their club - The truth about the Honda Youth RIB Championship
Enjoy a date with a legend
What an evening this should be! It's not often a Volvo Ocean Race winner, double Olympic silver medallist and new MBE comes to the Midlands so don't miss the chance to hear Ian Walker in person next month. Tickets can be booked by clicking on the image below, and they are sure to be very popular so don't miss out!
The latest RYA Club Membership Census clearly showed that there has been a vibrancy and positivity around our Midlands clubs over the past couple of years. It is our New Year's Resolution to try to help you build on this impetus throughout 2017.
Have a great month!
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