OnBoard Development Officers acknowledged in Southampton

From left to right Tom Davenport, Jon Sweet and Sam Rowe.
The excellent achievement and dedication of three of the RYA’s OnBoard Development Officers (ODOs), who strive to introduce youngsters to sailing and windsurfing, was acknowledged this week (Tuesday 6th November) at the annual OnBoard conference dinner held at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

Paul Childs from RS Sailing presented the 2012 RS Sailing RYA OnBoard Awards. The three special awards which were presented for Performance, Commitment and Innovation were presented to officers who have gone the extra mile working for the RYA OnBoard scheme.

Picking up the award for commitment was Jon Sweet, OnBoard Officer for Northamptonshire. This year Jon has enthusiastically accepted the challenge to extend his OnBoard patch to North Warwickshire despite his heavy work schedule. He has supported Middle Nene SC to become a recognised RYA Training Centre and has inspired OnBoard sailors to progress into racing by introducing a rookie fleet at the Anglian Water Series.

The Innovation Award was won by Birmingham’s Tom Davenport for his pilot project to encourage regular sailing at Birmingham University which secured £10,000 of Sport England funding. Tom also helped to sell sailing and windsurfing into the School Games project.

'It feels amazing to have been given an award this evening. I really enjoy my job and I do it to get more kids into sailing because of everything that they get from it. To be recognised for that is just amazing' said Tom.

The final award for performance was awarded to Sam Rowe who oversees the active area of Kent and Sussex. Sam is an enthusiastic member of the team, and has worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to help the clubs in his area to grow their numbers of regular youth sailors.

Cat Ferguson, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer said: '2012 has been another fantastic year for the OB Programme and we are delighted to recognise the hard work and commitment of these ODOs.

'This year we have introduced over 50,000 more youngsters to the sport and this would not have been possible had it not been for the commitment and innovative ideas that these ODO’s provide'.

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged eight to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.

Over a ten year period OnBoard aims to introduce a minimum of 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting over 10% of them into regular participants. So far it’s nicely on track.

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA’s website or the OnBoard website.