Four-time British kitesurfing champion Lewis Crathern, from Worthing, has announced that he’ll be running inspiring school assemblies in conjunction with The Armada Trust.
Lewis, who attended St Andrews in Worthing, has been visiting schools for over a decade to inspire young people about green energy, kitesurfing and choosing a career path that excites them.
In September, he will be visiting 10 schools throughout the region, engaging over 1000 students through interactive assemblies and active outdoor fitness and kite flying sessions. This special tour, supported by The Armada Trust, (of which he is a trustee) has been funded by a grant from the Rampion Fund at Sussex Community Foundation.
“I started visiting schools back in 2007 when my high school, St Andrews, invited me back to speak to the students,” Lewis explains. “I will never forget that assembly! My mind went from wondering what to say to young people – I was only 22 myself at the time – to soon realising that I had a an incredible tool in which I could engage the students with: kitesurfing.
“I have learnt that when you combine photos and interesting videos into one interactive presentation you can naturally deliver some important messages on a variety of topics: the beach, the weather, eco matters, recycling, green energy and so on. I also take my equipment into the schools which allows me to give further insight to the sport. When talking to secondary schools, I especially like to talk a bit about career paths and the idea that you can do something you love as a job.”
The tour, which takes on 10 schools in 10 days, comes after Lewis visited the Offshore Wind Energy Conference in the USA in 2011 and then thought how perfect Worthing would be for a wind farm. Fast-forward just seven years and the Rampion Wind Farm is now live, close to Lewis’ family home and funding his schools tour.
“It almost seemed like fate that a wind farm would be constructed right opposite my family home where I was brought up in East Worthing,” Lewis continues. “The power comes in less then half a mile from the house! It seemed logical to apply for funding to create a really amazing tour of the schools in our area. For years I have visited them when I can, and am back from my travels, but with the help of funding we have been able to design something really special. We have a Rampion branded kite that will be on display in the assemblies which I will also demo out on the field. There will also be a really cool resource pack for each of the children. This has been designed to be fun and informative for them and also give them something to take away and talk with their parents about.”
Lewis will also be taking part in Natural Forces workshops, via the Eco Young and Engaged Project and Armada Festival’s school day on 26th June. These workshops will cover: the power of the wind, how we can use renewable energy for sport and in other areas of our lives, looking out for new ways to look after the environment, sustainability, where things come from, our responsibility as humans, sharing good messages and healthy living.
“I love these workshops as it’s a chance for me to work in small numbers. Usually with the assemblies there are 100+ children present but in numbers 20 and below. I can get some really good debate going. I enjoy running questionnaires and also give the students exercises in between our kite flying time on the field. Our local MP, Tim Laughton, is also incredible at the events, he is very passionate about it and goes to great lengths to be actively at the events. It’s great to see them expanding in the county as well.”
As well as speaking about green energy, the champion kitesurfer will be enthusing local students about kiteboarding – especially with such perfect conditions for the sport on our doorsteps.
“Kiteboarding in an incredible thing for young people to get involved in. There are people of many different ages and backgrounds that partake in the sport and as we kitesurf together you naturally meet a lot of people. This is great as a young person as often you tend to socialise with people your own age. Obviously the health benefits of speeding around on the sea attached to a kite go without saying but, there is also a great element of learning about where you live.
” I, for example, never truly appreciated where I lived until my early teens. I have learnt all about the weather and the unique localised effects that we are lucky to receive here in Worthing. Probably the most amazing thing about it all is that when the rainy storm weather comes that everybody love to hate, we are the happiest people!”
Photos by Eunice Bergin