Half a million youngsters of all ages and backgrounds have experienced sailing and windsurfing through the RYA OnBoard (OB) programme.
RYA Sport Development Manager, Duncan Truswell explains: 'When OB was created back in 2005, we set ourselves the ambitious target of introducing half a million kids to the sport in ten years. As we approach the programme’s 10 year anniversary next March, we’re delighted to announce that have we’ve already reached that number'.
Whether it’s taking to the sea for the first time in a dinghy or going racing during a PE lesson, OB introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged eight to 18 at an affordable cost, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
'Sailing helps youngsters to develop a wide range of life skills including confidence and independence as well as being a fantastic outdoor activity to do with friends and family whilst being active and keeping fit. Part of the OnBoard ethos is to give as many youngsters as possible the chance to experience the pleasure of the sport and have the opportunity to continue' said Duncan.
One youngster to benefit from the programme is Ciara Archbold (15) from Leicestershire who attended a beginner sailing course through OB at her local club just two years ago. She became involved in the junior activities at her club and last year was selected for the RYA North Zone Topper Squad, the first rung on the RYA’s Performance Programme ladder.
Ciara said: 'For a long time I was nervous about taking part in events but at the end of each day I felt on a high and was looking forward to the next one. I have fallen in love with sailing. Sailing has given me much more confidence. I’m now able to walk into a room of people I don’t know and join in. It has also given me a sense of determination and a willingness to tackle any challenge'.
Over the ten year period, OnBoard also aims to covert 10% of first timers into regular participants and so far it’s nicely on track. Special thanks go to all the OnBoard venues and volunteers for delivering the activity as well as our valued supporters and suppliers who have enabled us to increase the scale of the programme via their support throughout the last 10 years.
For more information about RYA OnBoard and how you can get involved with the programme visit RYA OnBoard