Following on from the success of the All Afloat RYA Cymru Wales Taster Sessions across Wales, over half of the children returned to enjoy the All Afloat After School Club Sailing & Boating sessions. The All Afloat After School Club provided the opportunity for those participating children aged between 9 & 10 to continue developing their sailing skills during a number of supervised pre-arranged sailing sessions. Each session was designed to increase their confidence and allow them to complete their RYA Level 1 accreditation – the first stepping stone in a sailing career that will build confidence in both a social and competitive sport.
Some of the main activities the children took part in involved launching and recovery of sailing boats, learning to handle a boat, steering, learning about the different parts of the boat and basic sailing skills – in other words the children were taught to steer a small sailing boat dingy and understand the basic principles of sailing and boating safety.
The All Afloat programme also offered children far more than these basic sailing skills. It will allowed the children to grow in confidence as people, learn to work as part of team, understand the benefits of ‘taking part’, and for some it was the first time that they have felt ‘included’ regardless of skills. Some of the children found a natural ability to learn a sport that would previously not have interested them because they did not know how to access the opportunities. This is the great part about All Afloat – it gives kids an opportunity to do something totally outside of their ‘norm’.
As part of the All Afloat After School Club, each young person was given a free RYA OnBoard T-Shirt, membership to the RYA and a Start Sailing Log Book. RYA Cymru Wales worked to build confidence through training on how to sail safely, with an emphasis on fun to encourage children to complete the course and programme. The young people were taught water safety skills, as well as how to sail. Theory at this stage is on the water, but it will all count to RYA Level 1 accreditation.