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    Broader Learning

    The RYA OnBoard programme is carefully designed to further develop life skills and has learning at its core.

    Why sailing builds character?

    For many years now we have known that sport and physical activity can have a beneficial effect on our health and mental well being. Recent major studies have shown an ever increasing amount of additional benefits in social and personal development. These positive effects are amplified in challenging sports such as sailing and windsurfing. RYA OnBoard have been working with Professor Bill Lucas from the Real World Learning Centre to explore and identify the broader learning benefits that getting out on the water can bring.

    For some more background on our work with Bill Lucas see our interview with him - Why sailing builds character.

    Being on the water creates multiple situations where young people are challenged and tested as they learn a new sport or activity. The OnBoard programme provides a safe and proven structure for this to happen and a great environment to help young sailors to develop the character attributes and capabilities that are so important for success in later life.

    Here are the six character attributes that sailing and windsurfing can help develop...

     Click on a image below to see more details.

    • Creativity
      • The ability to have a good idea when needed
      • Can see how different experiences can be connected
    • Teamwork
      • Can communicate well with others
      • Capacity to see the world from someone else's perspective
    • Determination
      • Sticks with difficulty
      • Bounces back after set-backs
    • Communication
      • Able to listen carefully and offer an opinion
      • Can match language to audience
    • Independence
      • Can make a decision
      • Happy to ask for help or advice as required
    • Confidence
      • Self belief
      • Happy to learn from mistakes

    RYA OnBoard and University College London Research Project

    In 2019, RYA OnBoard and the University College London (UCL), in partnership with a number of venues and schools across the country conducted an important research project. The aim of the research project was to robustly evidence the positive learning outcomes that sailing and windsurfing can have on young people taking part in a series of OnBoard sessions.  

    The project was a huge success and the results of the research have helped to identify how the OnBoard programme contributes to the development of the RYA OnBoard character attributes: creativity, teamwork, determination, communication, independence and confidence. It also highlights how sailing and windsurfing correlate with benefits identified for physical activity generally. These include an increase in mental and physical wellbeing and self-esteem as well as the association with higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and cognitive functioning. Interestingly, the research also identified how RYA OnBoard was playing an important role in tackling social justice and providing opportunities to those who would not normally get the chance to participate in sailing or windsurfing. 

              2019 Impact Report          

     Key Findings:

    3 in 4 felt better able to do some things independently
    4 in 5 felt they were better able to think creatively
    82% were better able to work as a team
    • OnBoard sessions are enjoyed by almost all participants and engender feelings of fun and freedom
    • The sessions contribute to a participant’s wider personal and social development. This included enhancing their social skills with both peers and adults; maturity; ability to accept responsibility and concentrate on tasks
    • Participants felt more supported by their peers. They also felt more relaxed and confident in themselves following an OnBoard session
    • OnBoard plays an important role in tackling social injustice. It provides unique experiences to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and can help to develop self-confidence and open up further opportunities.
    • OnBoard sessions particularly develop the attributes of teamwork, communication and confidence
    81% felt more confident in themselves
    84% liked being around the water more following an OnBoard  seesion
    88% felt that sailing/ windsurfing showed them they could do new things if they tried

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