Horning Sailing Club welcomes Ukrainian children and their families for a day on the water

Run with support from Wymondham Rotary Club and South Norfolk & Broadland District Council, some nine young people aged 7-15, their families and an interpreter, arrived on Wednesday morning filled with curiosity as to what the day would bring. In brilliant sunshine and a decent breeze, the scene was set for a good day – and, with Horning’s volunteer team out in force, including a dozen of the club’s young sailors, activities were soon underway. Whilst the adults sailed on keelboats, the young people started with building confidence on boats – each pairing up with one of Horning’s young sailors, who quickly found ways to communicate despite the language barrier, with lots of gestures, smiles and a few words learnt – rather appropriately, ‘yes’ in Ukrainian is ‘так’, pronounced “tack”- easily remembered due to it being the term used in sailing to indicate a change in direction! Soon after, a joyride followed on the club’s dinghies – taken out on the water by Horning’s young team – to screams of delight when the boats tipped and flew through the water as the breeze picked up. After a fantastic spread laid on for lunch by Horning’s Galley Team, the young sailors enjoyed a scavenger hunt and

wildlife spotting challenge around the Island – both learning each other’s language – even the Ukrainian for ‘rubber duck!’

Getting back on the water after lunch, the young sailors tried different boats and even more new friendships were made, before the day’s finale, having fun on paddleboards! Working in teams, a relay race took place, until the whole team were on the board attempting to stay on board and paddle together. Even those who had lacked confidence at the start of the day were getting fully involved and enjoying every second! Inevitably, everyone got very wet and the day culminated with a water fight – in fact, it was a struggle to draw activities to a close as they were enjoying themselves so much! When asked if they had had fun, the answer from the young sailors came back a resounding “Yes!” It truly was a brilliant day to remember, with lasting memories made. Olga, from South Norfolk and Broadland Council, said: “Thank you so much. It was great fun, an amazing experience. The kids are very happy”.

Holly Hancock, Senior Instructor at Horning Sailing Club, said: “We had a fantastic day and were pleased to introduce the children and adults to the beauty of the Norfolk Broads and the joy of being on the water. It was their first time sailing and it was great to see how the young people grew in confidence throughout the day, from having been nervous and anxious on arrival to not wanting to leave! It was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and we are looking forward to this partnership continuing in future”.

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.

The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.

Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants.

For more information about how to get out on the water in the East Region visit https://www.rya.org.uk/start-boating

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