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Sink or Swim? Pennine Sailing Club Kids Week 2020

by Millie Heeley 29 Aug 2020 12:29 BST 10-14 August 2020
Pennine Sailing Club Kids Week 2020 © Tom Oldrini

In the ever changing world that we find ourselves in during 2020 it was touch and go for the organisers at Pennine Sailing Club as to whether they were able to run their Annual Kids Week.

In previous years this was a fun filled week of sailing, and very often swimming, allowing sailors of all abilities to progress within the stages of the RYA's Youth Scheme. As many of you can imagine, what can only be described as herding 30 restless children after a lost summer, would prove difficult with the addition of social distancing. Nevertheless, with thanks to Emily Tredoux and other committed members this was allowed to take place.

Alongside social distancing regulations, Kids Week 2020 had to provide a fun release after the months of lockdown endured by both the kids and parents. This meant a sense of normality had to be found in the most abnormal of times. With this in mind, Kids Week was revamped 2020 style to include social bubbles and sanitation but also the old favourites of swimming, surf board races and, of course, capsize practice.

Speaking from personal experience, one particular problem faced by instructors was to keep sailors reasonably dry. This seems contradictory, I know but arises from this year's cohort's magnet like tendency to either swim or paddle board on the days with little wind. For example, this was not surprising on days like Wednesday where temperatures soared to over 30 degrees, this being in sharp contrast to last year. With the odds being stacked up against the team at Pennine Sailing Club this was a welcome break!

One particular member who heavily felt the repercussions of the 'all new' Kids Week was Josie Gentry, a veteran of the club after dedicating 27 years to the annual event; throughout this providing the food and fuel behind Kids club. Out of the many years Josie has served this would prove to be the most challenging... For example, with Tesco orders restricted and little parental help allowed Josie and her team were tasked with staggered lunches as well as adapting the traditional picnic to be a socially distant affair. In reality, with the days Tesco order not in time, this became a power boat takeaway service with Josie making food to be delivered to relevant shores. All in all this was a great success with the end of the week being concluded by a delicious barbecue!

Finally, despite the initial worry, Kids Week was able to be the triumph in a year of loss; with this year more than any year great thanks goes to all the instructors and volunteers involved.

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