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RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum members celebrate successful year

by Emma Blee 30 Apr 10:14 BST
RYA Northern Ireland Jackie Patton and Margie Crawford with Youth Forum members © RYA Northern Ireland

A group of young sailors have joined together to celebrate as they mark a successful year of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum. The celebration event took place at Carrickfergus Sailing Club with guests representing RYA Clubs across N. Ireland in attendance.

The event included an inspiring video from Eilidh McIntyre, Olympic Gold Medallist at Tokyo 2020. RYA Northern Ireland Board Members and staff with parents were also there to congratulate the Youth Forum members on their achievements.

RYA Northern Ireland Chair Susan McKnight says: "It is fantastic to see our young people being so proactive and focusing on developing their skills. Young sailors play a vital role in developing our sport and I am delighted that this initiative is ensuring their opinions and ideas are being heard and taken forward. I am grateful to Jackie Patton and Margie Crawford for all the work they have put into the Youth Forum."

RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum Co-Ordinator Jackie Patton comments: "We are extremely proud of our Youth Forum members. Throughout 2020-21 they have shown great determination and leadership as they acted as a voice for young people in our sport.

"It has been a pleasure to see them grow and develop and I look forward to seeing what they achieve in the years ahead."

Throughout 2020-21 the Youth Forum members took part in ten sessions, including a team building day and a residential at National Outdoor Centre, Tollymore.

They also engaged with inspirational people within the sport including Jena Mai and Ryan Seaton, about their Olympic campaigns and how this led to Jena winning gold in Rio in 49erFX class. Phil Johnston talked about his experiences of working with the Volvo yacht team, Turn Tide on Plastic during the iconic race.

Louise Leonard from Carrickfergus Sailing club is a participant of the Youth Forum. She says: "I joined the Youth Forum to build my confidence and over this programme I have gained the confidence to speak in public. It is fantastic to be here tonight to celebrate all our achievements."

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