Eight young people onboard the Welsh sail training vessel Challenge Wales are doing something that a few months ago they wouldn’t have dreamed of.
They were part of the Jubilee Sailing Voyage from Gosport to Tower Bridge in London and on Sunday they will experience the Jubilant atmosphere of St Katharine Docks and the Thames as Challenge Wales is one of the invited boats to be part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
None of the young people knew each other when they stepped onboard the vessel a week ago but now they work as a team, help each other out, respect each other’s point of views, have been part of the decision making and planning processes and are part of the Challenge Wales team.
Yesterday they took the biggest challenge of the trip so far in St Katharine Docks…to climb the 95 foot high mast. Daunting for many…even more daunting when there is a camera crew filming and they wonder if they will be stars on local television, but a huge achievement for them all.
Ship Shape hour become Ship Shape Half-a-Day, as it is all hands to the deck to ensure the boat is ready for members of the public, more camera crews and any unexpected guests. The galley shines like a new pin, the bunks are tidied up and dirty laundry hidden away, leaflets are put on display and everyone knows how to meet and greet visitors to the boat.
At the start of Volunteers Week 2012 (01-07 June), it is worth remembering that the Challenge Wales charity is run entirely by volunteers – not just the office but crewing the boat on all our voyages.
At night, we take advantage of the limited lighting around St Katharine Docks and set up our LED floodlights. Lighting the boat in red white and blue…and a bit of green to represent the Welsh flag!
Roll on Sunday and the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames. Our excitement levels are rising …at least all those onboard will be able to look at their Challenge Wales ‘Jubilee Sailing Voyage’ Achievement Certificates, the hundreds of photos on their cameras and their memories and say to themselves ‘I did that’ and ‘I was there’! And with the video cameras we gave the young people to create their video journeys many other people will be able to share in their achievements in time to come.