Brian Wilson has been a volunteer for over two decades starting out with the Scouts starting out as a RYA Instructor and Senior Instructor, practically delivering youth training at the National Scout Activity Centre, Lochgoilhead. This led to becoming more involved in the governance structure and becoming chair of the Scout Fellowship in 2002.
Brian continued to enable sailing activity for the Scouts as he became RYA Principal at Longcraig Scout Centre in 2006. During this time he became more involved with RYA Scotland and joined the Participation and Development Committee in 2008 representing youth groups, before becoming chair of the committee between 2010 and 2014.
Working initially as the RYA Council representative on the management committee since 2014, Brian has assisted in the development of the governance reform to the current RYA board structure. His input at a variety of RYA Scotland events and broad experience have set him in good stead, but how does he feel about taking over the helm of RYA Scotland?
“I am, pleased, apprehensive but mostly excited. Pleased in that I am getting the opportunity to lead such a great organisation of which I have been a part of for over 10 years. To work with all our volunteers and staff to continue our great work. Apprehensive in that we are operating in some of the most challenging times we have seen in our 20 year history, lots of unknowns that will need to be dealt with, but I am consoled in the knowledge that we are not alone, and we have a top team. But probably more than anything, excited, in the knowledge of what I believe we can achieve as an organisation, yes, there are challenges, but there are also opportunities we can take.”
With Ewan Macpherson stepping down next week after leading the organisation for the past three years Brian commented on his contribution. “Ewan is leaving us in superb shape but also leaves big wellies to fill, so I too add my thanks to him and I look forward to working to promote boating in all its facets and to continue to develop our sport.”
We asked what were the motivations of Brian’s personal journey into volunteering through boating in the first place?
“I was hooked on sailing after completing my Level 2 at the National Scout Activity centre in Lochgoilhead at age 13. I was given the opportunity to volunteer with my sailing skills at the Centre over a weekend to help out due to staff shortages, I enjoyed my weekend so much that during the following summer, I volunteered for the entire holiday. Each week new Scouts and Guides would arrive and I would take them sailing in one of the many dinghies. What I learned then, and what has kept me volunteering to this day, is the fun, enjoyment and sense of satisfaction that I get from giving my time to build skills in others allowing them to join me on the water. Throughout the time volunteering I’ve had opportunities to grow my personal skills and love of our sport. The mixture of my passion; boating, with the rewards of volunteering is a powerful combination.”
After over a decade within the voluntary structure Brain shared his thoughts on the motivations behind taking on such a role during these challenging times.
“It is a long time with RYA Scotland now, I often feel like the old man in the room, but all that time has let me appreciate the fantastic work we do, for all the different types of boaters that we represent. The opportunity to not only continue this relationship, but to lead the organisation and have greater influence to use all my experience to finish bedding in our new governance model, to get us fit and ready for the uncertain future, but above all to continue to serve while having fun and seeing the fruits of all our labours, it was too compelling an opportunity not to step forward and apply.”
Finally we had to ask what would be Brian’s ideal sailing experience to share with others?
“I’m very lucky in that for me my ideal sailing or powerboating experience is simply any time out on the water. Through my many years I’ve shared that experience with hundreds of others and getting someone afloat for the first time is always special. For a purely personal sailing experience, it has to be the excitement of arriving somewhere new by water, whether that be here in beautiful Scotland or abroad.”
As a voluntary led organisation, RYA Scotland aims to represent the interests of RYA Members in Scotland and benefit the wider Scottish boating community to promote and protect safe, successful and rewarding boating experiences. We look forward to working with Brian and his extensive knowledge to further those goals.