This is my last ever Gareth's Gossip, which in someways is a little bit sad and surreal but more importantly means we have appointed the Midlands' new Regional Development Officer!
I am delighted to say Ben Hodgson, who many of you will already know, has accepted the role and officially takes over from me on Monday 15 July.
Ben brings a wealth of experience to the role having been involved with the management of Carsington Sport and Leisure for some 10 years as well as running his own business alongside this.
He is one of a handful of individuals who hold appointments as a Dinghy Coach Assessor, a Powerboat, Windsurf and Personal Watercraft Trainer as well as being a very active RYA Training Centre Inspector.
Ben has worked with many clubs in the Midlands when delivering instructor courses, inspections and in his previous role as a Team15 Regional Coordinator, so is well known (and liked!) in the region. I know you all join me in welcoming Ben to the regional RYA team and will support him going forwards.
On a personal note, I'd just like to say thanks so much for all the kind messages I've received since I announced I was taking up a new position. I will still be living in the Midlands so you have not seen the last of me!
Couple of reminders...
Every participating club receives an individual report of your membership data and a comparison of how this has changed year-on-year over five years, giving you valuable insight to help shape and/or stay on track with your club development plans. The information you submit also go towards producing a picture of club membership across the UK, with the analysis published in a number of insight documents.
Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, Sport Scotland and Sport Wales receive elements of the reports too to showcase the positive impact your work is having on activity levels and watersports participation around the country. We know it takes time to collect and collate this data, but it's definitely a worthwhile exercise.
Booking for the next Midlands' DISCO (Discover Instructing and Coaching) Day at Rutland SC on Saturday 20 July is open - book here.
DISCO is a new RYA Racing and Sport Development initiative with RYA Training, to help clubs inspire and draw people into volunteering as an instructor or coach. Whether you have enough race coaches but lacks in instructors, or vice versa, DISCO Days are an informal, fun way for your members to see what’s possible. This article sheds a bit more light - New programme helping you to inspire more instructors and coaches.
The Rutland event is just £15 and, led by an RYA Coach Assessor, each participant receives a personal action plan detailing the pathways available.
Thinking ahead to Tokyo
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics get underway is exactly one year this month (24 July - 9 August 2020)! As crazy at that seems it's not too soon to start thinking about what you could do to make the most of Olympic fever. Whenever there is an Olympics there is always a spike in interest in sport, and although the time difference - Tokyo is eight hours ahead of us during BST - will require some creative thinking to capitalise on the opportunity it's definitely thinking worth doing sooner rather than later.
Get behind the Midlands boys at Sail GP Europe
Cheer on Midlands-raised sailors Dylan Fletcher (Northampton Sailing Club) and Matt Gotrel (Draycote Water Sailing Club) when Great Britain SailGP Team do battle at the European leg of SailGP in Cowes on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August.
Dylan skippers the Great Britain SailGP Team, as they take on five rival nations – Australia, China, France, Japan, and United States - racing head-to-head just metres from the shore in identical 50-foot foiling catamarans. The supercharged F50s are capable of breaking sailing’s elusive 50-knot (60 mph) speed barrier. Everything you need to know about how to watch and/or get involved is here - SailGP Comes To Cowes
Maintaining Push The Boat Out momentum
Almost 50 venues across the Midlands got people on the water to try sailing and windsurfing during May, but for those who signed up as members and/or for course what, as sailors, can we do to try to keep these people in our clubs and on the water?
Last year's RYA Club Member Satisfaction Survey highlighted how soft skills, things like interpersonal skills, communication, leadership, teamwork, empathy, collaboration and problem solving, make a critical difference in why people stay involved at your club. But what does that mean to you? The top 5 tips at the end of this article provides a bit more insight - Why you really want to get involved in the Club Member Satisfaction Survey
Perhaps think about how you feel the first time you try something new? How do you want to be treated? It could be as simple as saying 'hi' to someone you've not seen around before. Some clubs have explored having a 'New member rep' on the committee, while just thinking about what activities new sailors want, i.e. social sailing, will help them feel welcome and supported.
Speaking from personal experience, I was doing safety boat duty at my club a few weeks ago and there was someone bimbling around who looked like they needed a hand. It turned out they had just got back into sailing off the back of Push The Boat Out and just needed a bit of guidance and rigging help. What you do doesn't always have to planned or strategic, just be aware there are new people around and help them.
So that's it for Gareth's Gossip. Next month, you will be reading 'Ben's Buzz' as your new RDO introduces himself and sets out his hopes and ambitions for the region. It just leaves me to say huge thanks again for everything. Have a great summer and happy sailing.