Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club is on course to inspire the next generation after joining RYA OnBoard - the national grassroots scheme enabling young people to get on the water - and receiving a £10,000 Sport England grant.
The Sport England funding has provided five brand new sailing dinghies for children and young people to use on the water and in addition, the club has spent a further £10,000 to buy five second-hand dinghies and a powerboat to support its training programme.
Run by sailing’s national governing body the RYA, OnBoard gives anyone aged 8-18 the chance to learn to sail or windsurf and have fun afloat. The combination of OnBoard status and the £20,000 boost to Yorkshire Dales SC’s fleet of boats will now enable the club to provide even more opportunities for local youngsters.
Erica Caswell, Training Principal at Yorkshire Dales SC, said: “Our sessions make it very easy and accessible for children and young people to try sailing and windsurfing. Parents can also come along so it is great for families, and we have a good pathway for those who then want to develop their skills through RYA courses.
“The children who take part really enjoy learning and sailing together and making friends, and along the way they are developing life skills such as resilience and confidence.
“We’re looking forward to an exciting future at the club! Joining RYA OnBoard, along with the Sport England grant and the match-funding by the club, will help us to continue developing our sailing and training provision to inspire the next generation.”
Junior membership at the club is just £25 a year and regular Saturday sessions at £10 a time enable children and young people to use club boats, windsurfers and other kit such as wetsuits and buoyancy aids, and benefit from on-the-water training towards RYA qualifications. More than 30 children usually take part.
While OnBoard isn’t about producing champions, many youngsters do go on to excel in dinghy and windsurf racing, and Yorkshire Dales SC has a number of outstanding up and coming junior sailors. Teenager Beth Miller, who last year became the girls’ world champion in the RS Tera Pro class, said: “Yorkshire Dales is a great club for children and young people and for beginners - it’s friendly and lots of fun, and really supportive as well, with lots of people who are willing to help and encourage you on the water.”
As well as the physical and mental benefits of having fun in the fresh air outdoors, a landmark project between the RYA and Professor Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester, has identified how sailing nurtures key character strengths in young people such as self-esteem, teamwork, communication, determination and independence. The OnBoard programme has been carefully designed to promote this ethos. The Department for Education also recently set out its vision for developing young people, stating that encouraging character and resilience was as important as academic achievement.
Alistair Dickson, RYA Director of Sport Development, said: “We are delighted to welcome Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club to OnBoard. OnBoard is all about a fun, safe and structured introduction to sailing and windsurfing. It is fantastic that more youngsters in North Yorkshire will have the opportunity to be introduced to sailing and windsurfing and nurtured to become life-long participants within the sport. As we now know, sailing and windsurfing not only provide participants with a hugely rewarding life-hobby, but can also provide participants with character attributes which are clearly evidenced to help young people to really get on in life.”
Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club is an recognised RYA Training Centre, conforming to the highest standards of safety and quality. Discover how you can get OnBoard at Yorkshire Dales SC or find your nearest OnBoard club at www.rya.org.uk/onboard