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Enthusiastic young sailors take part in first session of RYA Northern Ireland's Youth Forum

by Emma Blee 1 Oct 12:22 BST
RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum Participants and RYANI representatives © RYANI

A group of enthusiastic young sailors have come together for the first meeting of RYA Northern Ireland's Youth Forum at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

RYA Northern Ireland identified youth engagement as a key area for the organisation and this strand of work was carried forward by former Chair of RYA Northern Ireland, Jackie Patton. The Forum began in 2019 as a pilot project and following its success, it has now been officially launched.

The first of its kind within RYA, youth representatives from clubs across Northern Ireland will work together as part of the organisation to help drive the sport forward whilst developing their leadership and personal skills.

At the meeting, the new participants and junior leaders were confirmed and the group took part in ice breakers, as well as discussing their goals for the year ahead. Olympians Ryan Seaton and his wife Jena Mai Seaton also joined the group online for a Q&A session about their career and future plans.

RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum Co-ordinator Jackie Patton is leading on the Youth Forum. She said: "It is a delight to work with such an enthusiastic and dedicated group of young people on the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum. They are our future leaders and will ensure our sport carries on for many years and I am confident we are in safe hands. It is fantastic to hear all of their ideas and plans and I look forward to seeing these come to fruition over the course of the next year."

Susan McKnight, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland, said: "The RYA Northern Ireland Board was delighted to continue the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum this year.

"The voice of young people in our sport is paramount alongside the current committees, clubs and participants to help develop and progress the organisation."

The full list of new participants and junior leaders is included below:

New participants:

  • Louise Leonard (Carrickfergus Sailing Club)
  • George Turkington (Coleraine Yacht Club)
  • Emily Dickson (Donaghadee Sailing Club)
  • Lara Killen (East Down Yacht Club)
  • Matthew Loughlin (Coleraine Yacht Club)
  • Rose Kelly (East Down Yacht Club)
Junior Leaders:
  • Charlie O'Malley (Donaghadee Sailing Club)
  • Cody Halliday (Strangford Lough Yacht Club)
  • Autumn Halliday (Strangford Lough Yacht Club)
  • Charlotte Eadie (Donaghadee Sailing Club and Ballyholme Yacht Club)
  • Caitlyn Eadie (Donaghadee Sailing Club and Ballyholme Yacht Club)
  • Holly McConnell (County Antrim Yacht Club)

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