Pupils from St Aidan’s and Clyde Valley High Schools in Wishaw joined a five day Ocean Youth Trust Scotland sailing voyage from Greenock on the 4th of September. The group called in at Holy Loch, East Loch Tarbert, and Rothesay before returning to Greenock, covering 87 nautical miles on their voyage aboard the 72 foot yacht Alba Explorer.
‘Watching my group of young people rise to every challenge during the voyage, I was awestruck by what the experience brought out of them,’ said Simon Knight, a group leader. “We talk about moving youngsters out of their ‘comfort zone’ through adventure. Our Ocean Youth Trust voyage expanded what my kids expected of themselves and each other. What they can now do is simply light years ahead of where they were before setting sail.”
In a busy week aboard, these young people learned to navigate and steer the boat, hoist and drop the sails, tie knots, and cook for the whole crew. In amongst this hard work, all of the young people found the time to gain SQA level three qualifications, as well as gaining their Royal Yachting Association’s Start Yachting Level 1 Award.
OYT Scotland’s “On Course with CashBack” project is transforming 288 young people’s lives over three years thanks to an award from the “CashBack for Communities” scheme – the Scottish Government’s proceeds of crime fund. Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson said: “Through CashBack we are supporting many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people to reach their full potential in life, helping them to learn new skills, boost their confidence and develop as responsible citizens.”
Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland added: “We are excited to have young people from North Lanarkshire as part of the On Course with CashBack programme. OYT Scotland voyages offer young people a life changing opportunity, giving them a chance to take part in teamwork and leadership roles. These are transferable skills that can be used in other areas of their lives. This programme aims to develop young people and the group taking part in this voyage have demonstrated that it has been a success. Our highly trained sea-staff (both professionals and volunteers) are able to get the best from each individual. The combination of engaged group leaders and focused sea-staff means that these young people can reach goals that they never thought possible, and this can give them a whole new outlook on life”
Over the past 18 years, OYT Scotland has grown to become one of the leading sail training charities in the world. With two sail training vessels, Alba Explorer and Alba Venturer, OYT Scotland completed 55 voyages with 552 young people in 2016.
For more information about OYT Scotland go to www.oytscotland.org.uk/main-site/
For more information on the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme go to www.cashbackforcommunities.org