Trustee Spotlight: Paul Dobie

Trustee, Paul D

How did you first get involved with OYT Scotland? 

Many years ago, I had seen an Ocean Youth Club boat in Oban, and that prompted me to do some research into what the organisation did. It looked like something I’d enjoy getting involved in but, back then, I had too many other demands on my time. 

However, after my children left home and my work commitments relaxed, I started to have more free time, and so go back in contact with the Trust to see if I could become a volunteer. 

I was invited on an Induction Weekend which gave me the chance to better understand how things worked, and how I could help. From there, I started the process of familiarisation and training to bring me up to a level where I could lead a group of young people on the boat as part of my “Watch”. 

I’ve now completed two full sailing seasons as a Watch Leader and I’m looking forward to another in 2024! 

What inspired you to become a Trustee? 

Most of my career has been spent managing technical operations, initially as a leader of small teams, and then laterally being a director of large teams. In addition to offering my support as a volunteer Watch Leader, I was keen to give the Trust the benefit of my wider experience. Being a member of the Board of Trustees has allowed me to extend my contribution. 

Trustee. Paul, sits alongside fellow volunteers, Iain and Pablo on a boat. First Mate, Wil, is smiling over Paul's shoulder. They are all wearing waterproofs and lifejackets.
From left to right: Iain, volunteer Skipper; Paul, Trustee and Watch Leader; Wil, First Mate; Pablo, Third Mate.

What do you enjoy most about your role? 

As a Trustee, I get most satisfaction when I can use my professional experience to support the operational leadership with the challenges they face. I am conscious of all the great people who have come before me in the Trust’s 25 year history, and I value being part of the Board of Trustees as it charts the path towards ensuring a continuing healthy and productive future for OYT Scotland. 

As a Watch Leader, I enjoy working with the young people – helping them to grow during their voyage, and helping them up another “rung in the ladder of life”. Sometimes we made a substantial and dramatic impact on a young person, and those occasions are particularly special. 

What is the most important/memorable thing you’ve learned from a young person? 

We were all young once of course, but as we grow older I think the cares of this world make us lose sight of some of the fundamental truths. In many ways, young people keep us all grounded in what is really important. 

Perhaps the thing I have learned most is the importance of “living in the moment”. I often find myself dwelling on the future, but young people tend to live in the “here and now”. This is brought into a sharper focus when we’re out there on the sea with the wind in our hair and the boat rising and falling as it rides the swell. “Live in the moment” is what I’ve learned from working with young people! 

What is one thing you wish more people knew about OYT Scotland? 

There are many ways to work with young people, and to help them overcome the challenges they face as they grow. When they step aboard our boats, a line is drawn in the sand and we start from zero. Everything is new and strange, and even frightening; and yet, by the end of the voyage, the young people will step off full of confidence, having become valued members of the crew. 

This can be particularly powerful for young people who perhaps have not had the best start in life, where the past is forgotten and they have the opportunity to enjoy real achievements and success.  

This really can change lives. 

Paul stands with a crew aboard Alba Explorer. Young people stand at the front, and sea staff are standing behind them.
A crew come together for an end-of-voyage photograph aboard Alba Explorer!

To learn more about how you could become a Trustee of Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, click here!

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