RDO Blog - February 2022

Ben's Buzz! Catch up with all the latest news for Midlands club and centres with Regional Development Officer Ben Hodgson...

It’s been really good to see so many eager beavers on the water taking part in club racing and winter series events, with training programmes also starting across the Midlands. The Regional Training Groups for our aspiring junior sailors in different classes have been busy too!

I was at Rutland SC earlier this month for a great weekend of instructor training and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) delivered by our regional Training Team. There was lots of interest from more than 30 instructors and club volunteers who were keen to get ready for the new season and refresh their knowledge.

As spring draws closer, now is a good time to think about how you hope to kickstart the new season at your club or centre, and welcome back those members and customers who might not have been on the water over the colder months. It’s worth taking a little time now to plan ahead to ensure that when we do finally see the back of winter, your club or centre is ready for action!

Development opportunities for your team

For volunteers, instructors and staff at clubs and centres across the Midlands, we have a full programme of training opportunities underway, with lots of RYA courses and upskilling sessions. These sessions cover a broad range of roles and are a great way to upskill your team ahead of the season.

For instructors we have a series of free online CPD sessions in February and March on Wednesdays at 7pm, covering a wide range of topics and the latest scheme updates and insights. These are well worth signing up for, and if you can’t make a particular session, they are all being recorded so you can catch up later. Please share the details with your instructors who, if they haven’t already signed up, are invited to find out more and register here.

Courses meanwhile for instructors and volunteers over Spring include: Keelboat Instructor Endorsement, Dinghy Instructor Revalidation, Dinghy Senior Instructor and a Safety Boat Course. We are continuing to add to the programme and details about all instructor courses and CPD can be found at RYA Midlands Instructor Courses.

There is also now a free online RYA Club Race Management Course available here for any club members who would like to learn about running club racing. Ideal for those who are new to helping out with racing duties or who want to develop their confidence!

Please do consider how your club can make the most of the training opportunities on offer this year as it presents an accessible route for both developing your existing staff or volunteer base and for encouraging new volunteers to get involved as well.

Meeting for cruising clubs

For clubs in the region dedicated to cruising off the coast, abroad or on the region’s waterways, and for cruising sections within sailing clubs, we have a meeting coming up on Thursday 31 March.

Taking place in the evening at Shustoke Sailing Club in north Warwickshire, we’re inviting representatives of cruising clubs to come along for a meeting with the aim of making connections and building a community for cruisers in the Midlands.

We know from RYA data that 5,000 of our members in the region, register cruising as their first interest. The meeting will provide an opportunity for cruising clubs and sections to share ideas,  and we can also hear about any common challenges and learn from each other.

If your club representative is interested in attending please save the date and get in touch so we can plan the meeting and share further details in due course.

Club Welfare Officers

Calling all club Welfare Officers! RYA Safeguarding are hosting ‘Meet the Team’ online sessions in March to answer any queries and provide an update on plans for 2022. There will be a session for each RYA Region in England and questions to the team can be asked in advanced via email here.

The initiative follows the success of last year's RYA Safeguarding 'Meet the Team' sessions with Welfare Officers in the RYA Home Countries. The forthcoming dates for England will see the session for those from RYA Midlands region clubs taking place on Friday 18 March.

You can book your place here - remember to select the Midlands region – and if your club does not have a Welfare Officer, please email safeguarding@rya.org.uk for an info pack.

Photo February

It’s been great to see the fantastic pictures which have been entered so far for our Photo February 2022 competition. If you’ve not already sent in a photograph or two, why not look at your albums from 2021, or remember to take your phone or camera to snap some of the action at your club this weekend?! You can find out all about the competition and how to enter here.

We’re looking forward to showcasing the fantastic variety of ways in which people have enjoyed getting back afloat both within the region and, for our competing, cruising and offshore members, further afield. Get your entries in by the end of the month and not only will it put your club or centre in the spotlight, you could win yourself a Helly Hansen kit bag or dry bag!

And finally…

Clubs and centres are starting to ask the RYA Midlands team for early season meetings to check in with their development plans for 2022. If you either need or would like a meeting with myself or a Sailing Development Officer, please do feel free to contact me so we can set something up for you.

In the meantime, if your members or customers are looking for inspiration or equipment to get set for the new season, remember that RYA members are entitled to one free ticket plus discounted additional tickets for the first ever BoatLife Live show, 17-20 February at the NEC.

We then have the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show at Farnborough International to look forward to at the end of the month, 26-27 February, with clubs and centres able to take advantage of group tickets for a special discount price when booking six tickets or more.

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