Please select your home edition
Edition
YY.com app (top)

It's all about having fun!

by RYA 11 Apr 13:00 BST
It's all about having fun! © RYA

Enjoyment is the single biggest factor in motivating children to be active.

Why do we sail? Well, for most of us the most common answer is that it's lots of fun! So why is that so important, particularly for young people?

A recent landmark report has revealed that enjoyment is the single biggest factor in motivating children to be active. In the UK there are currently around 3 million children and young people (43.3%) that are active, but a third of children (32.9%) are less active, doing less than 30 minutes of activity a day*.

We all know about the physical and mental health benefits of getting active - especially outdoors - and there's never been a more crucial time to get more youngsters afloat, active on-the-water and participating in our sport.

The evidence

Sport England's Active Lives Children and Young People Attitudes Survey the largest survey of its kind - asked more than 130,000 children and young people their attitudes towards sport and physical activity. For the first time, the results have shown that enjoying activity impacts not only the frequency of participation, but also the broader benefit of the activity.

The bigger picture

Amongst the key findings, the survey showed that children who are active and enjoy it are happier, more resilient and more trusting of other children and young people.

Of course, we are already aware of the broader learning benefits of sailing and windsurfing, particularly for young people. In fact, the RYA OnBoard programme was relaunched in 2017 with a new focus on the positive character attributes that are developed through participating in the sport.

Being in control of uncontrollable elements like the wind and the tide; guiding your course, speed and destination and being relatively free to roam where you want; being outside with friends, messing about on the water it may all seem obvious, but these are all things that can make a big difference to enjoyment levels.

Having fun

We have already seen some fantastic examples of on-the-water activity with fun, games and enjoyment at the heart. Here are some of our favourite ideas and initiatives:

  • Mixing it up - Have you thought about mixing it up? What about pirate days, or fancy dress racing? Using inflatable toys on the race course (instead of conventional buoys)? Putting the parents in the kids boats? Expeditions? Alternative winter activity like film nights when it's too dark and cold to sail? Use your imagination they'll love it!

  • Friendly competition - Of course some thrive on the race course and for many the element of competition is the best part, however, this doesn't appeal to everyone. Think about ways of integrating youngsters, taking the competitive edge away and making it more enjoyable for those that aren't interested in this aspect. As they say, it's not the winning but the taking part that counts!

We've already seen racing doesn't always have to be serious...
  • Fun Fleet - The inaugural OnBoard Fun Regattas took place last year as part of the BYS Regional Junior Championships. Aimed at OnBoarders of all abilities, the regatta allowed sailors to have fun, sail somewhere new and socialise with friends. Run by RYA qualified coaches, racing and games included everything from blindfolded sailing, follow my leader, capsizing games - really anything! Find out more.

  • O'pen BIC 'Un-Regatta' - 86 sailors hailing from Hawaii to Bermuda to Germany, competed at the 2019 O'pen BIC, North American "Un-Regatta" earlier this year. Featuring conventional racing with a twist, competitors took on course obstacles, compulsory manoeuvers, plenty of capsizing, a freestyle expression section and LOTS of fun! What a brilliant concept - find out more.

What have you done to add the element of fun at your club? We'd love to hear from you. Contact us with images and your top tips for injecting extra enjoyment (for both adults and youngsters!) and we might feature you in a future edition of Clubroom.

Moving forward

Not only can on-the-water activity be really good fun, but it also helps young people to develop and get on in life. We can all make a difference, and sometimes it's important to step back, review and make sure that enjoyment is at the heart of all club activity. After all, why do we sail?

Find out more about the Sport England Survey and download the full report here.

For more information about RYA OnBoard, visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard.

* Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2017/2018 Sport England.

Want to read more like this? Subscribe to RYA Clubroom for all the latest club news, updates and advice. Aimed at members and volunteers at RYA affiliated clubs, the monthly e-newsletter is packed with case studies, examples of best practice and everything you'll need to get going again this season.

Related Articles

New RYA Member Reward Partner
Pure Latitude Boat Club: A hassle-free alternative to boat ownership A hassle-free alternative to boat ownership Pure Latitude Boat Club membership provides flexible and cost-effective access to a wide range of sail and motor boats in exchange for a set fee per month. Posted on 19 Apr
Watersports participation is on the rise
A trend that has continued for the past three years The annual Watersports Participation Survey showed that approximately 3.9m UK adults took part in one or more of 12 core boating activities' in 2018. Posted on 16 Apr
The RYA and RORC go doublehanded
Double-handed entries for the Rolex Fastnet Race have increased World Sailing's decision to select a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event for 2024 Olympics and recent announcement to hold an Offshore World Championship for mixed double-handed sailing in October 2020 encouraged RYA and RORC to combine their efforts Posted on 4 Apr
Sail Birmingham launches community sailing
Getting active outdoors is proven to positively impact health Sail Birmingham, launched by Midland Sailing Club, is putting community sailing at the heart of the city by making the water accessible to everyone of any age, background and ability. Posted on 26 Mar
Last chance to nominate for RYA Volunteer Awards
Nominations close on Friday 5th April Volunteers are the backbone of sailing clubs and the wider boating community, with thousands up and down the country giving up their time and resource each year – but how do we say thank you? Posted on 23 Mar
Chatham Marine renew RYA member offer for 2019
Footwear firm will continue to offer exclusive 20% discount All of Chatham Marine's footwear is designed to be comfortable, functional and able to withstand all that nature can throw at them - quality, durability, marine aesthetics and performance all form an integral part of the Chatham product. Posted on 23 Mar
GlobeSailor joins RYA Reward Partner Programme
Exclusive discount on sailing holidays for RYA members GlobeSailor, the European online yacht charter company, is the latest organisation to join the RYA's Member Reward Partner programme, offering exclusive discounts to the RYA's 112,000 members. Posted on 1 Mar
RYA to seek new partner for Youth RIB Championship
RYA thanks Honda for 17 hugely successful years of event support RYA is to seek a new partner to sponsor its RYA Youth RIB Championship, a national championship in which 8 - 16 year old Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) drivers demonstrate their skills with the goal of winning a RIB for their club. Posted on 27 Feb
Earn double RYA Joining Point commission in March
Double the standard commission values for the whole month Throughout March if your club, training centre or marine organisation is signed up to the RYA Joining Point programme you'll earn double the commission for every new RYA member you sign up. Posted on 26 Feb