A LEADING education expert believes young people in Bromsgrove and Droitwich can benefit from learning to sail after completing a project on developing character strengths with the sport’s leading body.
Prof Bill Lucas, director of the Centre for Real-World Learning, combined academic findings on the role character has to play in shaping young people’s lives with research into life skills developed through sailing.
The University of Winchester lecturer concluded sailing nurtures creativity, confidence, teamwork, communication, determination, independence and performance.
Prof Lucas said: “All the evidence says for a young person to flourish in the 21st Century the character attributes they need are on that list of seven.
“If you do these things better, exam results get better and people who have these attributes get on better in life.
“It is no longer a question as to whether these things are important it is now all about how you do it.
“Sailing can provide an answer to that ‘how’, whilst also providing all the other benefits sailing brings like having fun with friends and family, being active and getting outdoors.”
The character project was undertaken as part of the Royal Yachting Association’s re-launch of its youth grassroots programme, OnBoard, which provides low cost sailing opportunities for local school and youth groups so more youngsters aged 8-18 can learn to sail.
The Worcestershire Schools Sailing and Canoeing Association (WSSCA) is one organisation which runs RYA OnBoard.
This summer WSSCA has had more than 70 youngsters from 20 schools on the water every week.
Vivien Brookes, chair of the WSSCC, believes Prof Lucas’ endorsement will help show more local parents, teachers and youth workers that sailing can make a real difference.
She said: “Sailing is very sociable, where males and females and people of all abilities can participate side-by-side and get the same enjoyment and sense of achievement from it.”