Ten participants from the Highland region were given the opportunity to take part in an Ocean Youth Trust Scotland voyage funded with money from CashBack for Communities. The group set sail on 27 July to spend 5 days exploring the waters of the Western Isles, departing and returning into Oban Marina on the small island of Kerrera.
Whilst on board, the group found themselves fully responsible for sailing the 72ft yacht, Alba Explorer, including all the elements of day to day life on board the yacht, including cleaning and cooking.
While reflecting, the young people expressed vividly the impact this experience has had on their lives. This is a sample of their statements:
“Had an amazing time! At the start I was so nervous but everyone on the boat was nice and was so lovely that I settled in so quickly. Learnt lots and gained so much confidence.”
“I learnt that I can achieve things when I put my mind to it.”
“Had an absolutely awesome time and I would love to come back again. Everyone was so lovely and couldn’t have thought of any better company to spend the week with.”
“A week I won’t forget, I learnt so much and met so many great people.”
“Will never forget this week. Lots of amazing people and experiences. Great memories to help me stay motivated and get back on track.”
Catherine Mcauly-Brand, mother of a young person taking part in the voyage comments:
“My daughter had a once in a life time experience with Ocean Youth Trust; she had an absolutely amazing time on the sailing trip and it has made a big impact on her. I have never seen her so elated and truly excited as she was when we picked her up on Friday evening; she was full of genuine enthusiasm and clearly had very much enjoyed every minute of the trip and could not wait to share her experiences with us, (she talked constantly for the first couple of hours home, then flopped and became almost quite tearful that it was over!!). It has been such a valuable few days for her to have this time away, to make new friendships, to work as a team, to push herself, to reflect on what is important to her, (her mobile phone and catching up on messages did not seem so significant on her return!!); to know that she can rise to challenges and hopefully succeed, or at least to come away positive if things don’t work out. These are all such significant ‘life lessons’ and I am sure will stand her in good stead over the coming years.“
All members of the crew received the Royal Yachting Association’s Start Yachting Level 1 Award, the SQA’s Level 3 Speaking and Listening qualification. Several of the young people have also put themselves forward to be Ocean Youth Trust Scotland volunteers and are looking forward to taking part in training to be staff members on future voyages.