Ukrainian scouts make sailing plans for 2023

Following an introduction to sailing in 2022 a group of Ukrainian Scouts from West London is making sailing plans for 2023.
27 Jan 23
A group of scouts trying out different activities in the lake

Photo shows the scouts on the water in 2022

Back in July 2022 Bowmoor Sailing Club in Lechlade hosted a visit by a group of 30 Ukrainian scouts based in London. The hugely successful day of watersports was arranged together with a local sea scout unit, thanks to a work connection between James Relph, Bowmoor’s RYA Training Principal, and Ela Czuruk, a Ukrainian working in financial publishing in London.

At the end of that day the scouts all agreed they would like to do some more sailing and windsurfing, and Pete Bone, an RYA Sailing Development Officer, put them in contact with Wembley Sailing Club, near their base in West London.

Ela now updates us on how things have progressed since:

With Tom Dalrymple, the Training Principal at Wembley Sailing Club, and with the help of discounted courses we are aiming for scouts and some of the leaders to do RYA Stage 1 and 2 courses at Wembley Sailing Club in March/April. The stage 1 will enable the scouts to sail at Wembley, the stage 2 will allow them to sail at other venues.

We have a mix of youngsters, some are Ukrainian born here and living in London, and some have come from Ukraine recently because of the war. They integrate well, have a zest for learning, and are great tryers.

We’re considering fundraising to cover the costs of the courses, including looking at sources suggested by the RYA

We also aim to maintain ties with Bowmoor Sailing Club. At the end of May we are planning a St George’s Day sailing camp there, St George being our patron saint of scouts. We will be dingy sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and learning about navigation.

Later in August, we are planning our annual Ukrainian camp in North Wales in which, apart from hiking, we hope to include some watersports as well.

Back in Ukraine there are currently some 530 scouts fighting in the war, with two killed recently in action, and we are raising funds to help their families. In April the BBC reported on our scouts sending medical supplies to support those in Ukraine 

We’re not sure how long some of our scouts will remain in the UK; some families would like to return to Ukraine but conditions there mean that’s not always possible. Meanwhile we will do what we can to help them enjoy life in the UK.

Tom Dalrymple adds:

Wembley is a vibrant, busy sailing club sat comfortably on the edge of London. We run courses all year round, have a great group of members who race regularly and work alongside various groups including Imperial University. For the most part, however, we’ve remained hidden. The Welsh Harp where we sail is even known as one of London’s best kept secrets.

It is our mission this year to change that.

We hope to start connecting with more local schools and youth groups, charities and organisations, to get those people who aren’t normally given the opportunity to sail out onto the water. And what a better way to start than with The 1st London Plast Ukrainian Scout Group. Working closely with Ela we aim to get them all qualified with their RYA stage 2 so that they can sail independently and benefit from the great skills that sailing has to offer.

Ela has already been doing incredible work with the group and it is an honour for our club to be able to participate in their journey. For many of the instructors and members down at the club we understand the incredible skillset that can be developed from learning this new sport, aside from the physical benefits of course. Team work, problem solving and executive function are but a few. We are thrilled to be able to offer these scouts this training and look forward working with them more in the future.

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