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

Sign up for RYA Affiliated Club Conferences
Taking place across the UK between November and January Once again the RYA are offering sailing clubs the opportunity to sign up for the free RYA Affiliated Club Conferences, supported by Gallagher, which will take place across the UK between November and January. Posted on 21 Oct
Heat Mapping updates improve accuracy
RYA's UK Coastal Atlas of Recreational Boating updated The latest edition of the Atlas, updated in September 2019, takes a new approach to mapping recreational boating use, updating its 'heat map' style based on Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, resulting in an increased range and resolution. Posted on 8 Oct
RYA and Navionics team up
Introducing print and digital resources for teaching electronic navigation The Navionics range of electronic navigation charts provides boaters around the world with the tools to facilitate and enjoy their time on the water. Posted on 5 Oct
RYA Joining Points: Double commission offer
Joining Point scheme provides a quick and easy way for registered organisations to earn commission Throughout October, the RYA is once again offering double commission to all clubs, training centres and marine organisations signed up to the RYA Joining Point programme. Posted on 2 Oct
Enjoy double gifts with RYA Refer a Friend
Not one but two special gifts by signing up friends and family to RYA membership For every member that refers a friend or family member who decides to sign up as a new member, we will give the referring member an RYA branded flask and Overboard dry bag to say thank. Posted on 29 Sep
GBR eSailing national champion announced
Donald Gillies fought off tough competition from over a thousand eSailors from around the UK The RYA, along with World Sailing and Virtual Regatta, is pleased to announce Donald Gillies from Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, as the first ever GBR eSailing National Champion. Posted on 24 Sep
eSailing Showcase at Southampton Boat Show
Battle it out live on stage against top GBR e-sailors Visitors to Southampton International Boat Show, powered by Borrow A Boat, this Saturday (21 September) can take part in a thrilling eSailing Showcase against top players from the GBR eSailing World Championship. Posted on 19 Sep
Sailing and windsurfing added to PE Activity list
Following the Department for Education's (DfE) 2018 public consultation The RYA is delighted to announce that sailing and windsurfing have been reinstated to the PE Activity List, following the Department for Education's (DfE) 2018 public consultation. Posted on 12 Sep
Deadline approaching for CGAC Chair applications
Could you help the RYA navigate uncharted waters of public policy? The closing date is now fast approaching for the non-executive position of 'Chair of the RYA's Cruising and Government Affairs Committee' (CGAC) - a policy-forming committee of the RYA Board, responsible for public policy. Posted on 9 Sep
RYA welcomes constructive discussions
MCA and DfT looking at safety at sea The RYA contributed a significant response to the latest MCA consultation on the yacht and powerboat safety at sea MGNs, which was carried out between 20 June 2019 and 18 July 2019. Posted on 23 Aug