A group of highly dedicated young surf lifesavers traded school books for surf caps earlier this week, when they made their way to an exciting leadership network opportunity on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
The annual Junior Life Saver of the Year program (JLOTY) and Youth Opportunity Makers Workshop (YOM) is running concurrently with more than 50 teenagers aged 13-17 from the 11 branches preparing to make their way to the 4-day program.
Abby Mulligan from Cape Hawke SLSC will have the opportunity to be crowned Junior Life Saver of the Year
The award, described as a cherished honour, was open to those in their final year of nippers.
The program extends from Monday, April 16 to Thursday, April 19.
Many past winners have gone on to contribute to the movement in leadership positions at their clubs rising through the ranks to become valued members of the lifesaving community.
All 22 finalists have impressed their respective branches with their contributions to lifesaving throughout their junior careers and have demonstrated leadership potential.
Throughout the week they will have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge and will also have the opportunity to see firsthand the diverse paths that lifesaving can take you.
The emphasis of both the JLOTY and YOM programs is very much on developing leaders of the future with many of the tasks designed to help unlock this latent potential.
The JLOTY finalists come to Sydney to vie for the title of NSW Junior Life Saver of the Year with interviews being held on the first day of the program.
A panel of judges then select one male and one female to be awarded their Junior Life Saver of the Year title.
Program co-ordinator Naomi Stevenson believes it’s a wonderful opportunity for the program participants to take their love of surf lifesaving to the next level.
“Like other organisations we have experienced our challenges retaining our teenaged members, and this is why we consider it so important to invest in development program for young lifesavers,” Ms Stevenson said.
“They are the future of the movement and every single person here at this program has consistently showed the skills, knowledge, and application required to be outstanding lifesavers.”
The YOM program is the premiere development and networking program of its type for young lifesavers aged 15-17.
During the week these program participants will have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge about lifesaving while working closely with facilitators themselves experienced lifesavers who will play a mentoring role.
For many of these lifesavers it’s the first real chance they have had to network with other club members of a similar age from all around the state, and these friendships formed could prove very useful for all involved in the future.