Life-Changing Voyage with Ocean Youth Trust - Kibble: Specialist services & support for young people facing adversity
Posted: July 25, 2023

From 4th – 9th June, a group of young seafarers took to Scotland’s scenic waters for a life-changing voyage with Ocean Youth Trust (OYT) Scotland.

Aboard the Alba Adventurer sailboat, five young people, staff and crew set sail from James Watt Dock Marina on a four-day voyage around Scotland’s rugged coastline. Sailing around the west coast, the 18-strong crew took in the breath-taking sights of Loch Tay, Largs, Tarbert, Oban and the Kyles of Bute.

Following months of preparation and anticipation, young people at Kibble alongside staff teams took part in raft-building sessions, learning about teamwork and safety, before trying their hand at sailing a small boat. But, whilst they were prepared for the sail, nothing could prepare them for the experiences they encountered on board the vessel, learning new life skills, developing friendships, discovering opportunities and learning more about themselves. The four days were all about fresh sea air, good fun, laughter, music and friendship – the perfect anecdote to end the school term. 

All Hands-on Deck

As soon as the sails were hoisted up on day one, it was all hands-on deck as the crew got to work on navigating the waters, reading a map, learning the knots and doing all necessary safety checks as the vessel made its way under the setting sun. Between the sightseeing, there was a lot to be done and everyone helped to steer the boat, prepare meals, clean, make beds and work the sails. All young people on the voyage were praised for their commitment, listening to all safety instructions and enthusiastically rolling up their sleeves with every task. One young person commented:

“This is the best experience of my life since coming into care at the age of 12”.

By day, the crew navigated their way round coastal towns and islands. On one of the days, the boat anchored at Largs where everyone disembarked for a BBQ on the beach in the glorious sunshine. Evenings were spent enjoying delicious, healthy meals and on the second night there was a disco on the deck with great music and lots of dancing. It’s fair to say the adults couldn’t keep up with the sleek Tik Tok inspired moves of the younger crew! This night proved to be one of the highlights and was an opportunity for everyone to let their hair down after a busy day sailing.

On another sunny evening as the temperature gauge hit record highs, the crew anchored at the coastal village of Tarbert and enjoyed fresh fish and chips on the banks of beautiful Loch Fyne. As the sun set on another long day of fresh air and exploration, it was time for bed. Back on board the boat and under the night stars, stories were read aloud, and everyone was tucked up in their cabin beds and rocked to sleep by the gentle waves. 

Everyone who took part in the sail agreed it was a life-changing experience and one they would never forget. One young person commented:

“If you get the chance to do the Ocean Youth Trust voyage, I can’t recommend it any more highly! We got to see so many places, I even got to see Bute and never thought I would ever get the chance to see that in my life”. Young Person, Kibble

Life-Changing Experience

For one young person, this voyage was to mark the start of a significant life-changing opportunity. Recognised for her attitude, commitment, knowledge and willingness to take on every task with enthusiasm, she was selected to join the Ocean Youth Trust crew in Spain as part of their foreign exchange programme. Through the programme, the young person will join the crew this summer as they welcome students from countries across Europe. This was an incredible achievement, with only five in 100 young people across the UK being selected for the programme. With their energy, skills and enthusiasm we have no doubt they will excel in this opportunity and enjoy meeting new people whilst experiencing different places and cultures.

All young people who took part in the OYT voyage showed incredible commitment and we are so proud of what they have achieved and will go on to achieve with their new-found skills. As well as learning life skills through sailing, young people also received awards including an ‘Introduction to Sailing’ award and SVQF awards in leadership and communication. Jim Gillespie, CEO at Kibble commented:

“The Ocean Youth Trust Scotland voyages provide exceptional opportunities for young people at Kibble. With such an immersive experience, it’s a chance for young people to step away from the pace of everyday life and embrace the elements whilst gaining life experience, forming friendships and growing in self-confidence.

For many young people, this type of experience is very unknown, but that’s what makes the trip even more valuable. Every year we see young people returning from the voyage feeling inspired, energised and with their minds open to future possibilities. It really is life-changing for all involved.” Jim Gillespie, Kibble

As the sun sets on another Ocean Youth Trust adventure, the skills, experiences and opportunities gained will last a lifetime. We’d like to thank Ocean Youth Trust for making our voyage so special and for opening up incredible opportunities for young people. And of course, to our hearty young sailors at Kibble, a huge well done and congratulations on all you have achieved and will go on to achieve as you steer towards your future horizon.  The world is waiting!

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