Members of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum celebrate another successful year

A group of young seafarers recently came together to mark another successful year of the Northern Ireland RYA Youth Forum.

The celebratory event took place at Carrickfergus Sailing Club with guests representing RYA clubs from across Northern Ireland in attendance.

The event included an inspirational video of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist Eilidh McIntyre. Board members, staff and proud parents of RYA Northern Ireland were also there to congratulate Youth Forum members for their accomplishments.

RYA Northern Ireland chair Susan McKnight said: “It is fantastic to see our young people being so proactive and focused on developing their skills.

“Young sailors play a vital role in the development of our sport and I am delighted that this initiative ensures that their opinions and ideas are heard and put forward. I am grateful to Jackie Patton and Margie Crawford for all their hard work on the Youth Forum.

RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum Coordinator Jackie Patton added: “We are extremely proud of the members of our Youth Forum. Throughout 2020-21, they have shown great determination and leadership in acting as spokespersons for young people in our sport.

“It has been a pleasure to watch them grow and develop and I look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the years to come.”

Throughout 2020-2021, Youth Forum members participated in 10 sessions, including a team building day and a residency at the National Outdoor Center in Tollymore.

They also spoke with inspiring sports personalities including Jena Mai and Ryan Seaton about their Olympic campaigns and how it led to Jena winning gold in Rio in the 49erFX category. Phil Johnston also spoke about his experiences working with The Ocean Race Turn the Tide on Plastic yacht team during the iconic race.

Louise Leonard of the Carrickfergus Sailing Club takes part in the Youth Forum. She said: “I joined the Youth Forum to develop my confidence and through this program I gained the confidence to speak in public. It’s fantastic to be here tonight to celebrate all of our accomplishments.

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