Youth Opportunity Makers Camp

By Jerome Dillon-Baker


This year I was invited by Coogee SLSC to attend a NSW run lifesaving camp that focused on leadership. I really enjoyed this camp because it let me interact with people from the furthest stretches of NSW.

Throughout the duration of the camp we took part in various leadership building exercises that taught us how we could start something for the youth in our Club, basically something like the Blueys. As we already have such a strong youth system in our Club I tried to put forward ideas that could help other clubs start their own version of the Blueys. On the flip side, it was very interesting for me to speak to people who were my age or a little bit older who took on roles such as patrol captains or IRB captains in their own clubs.

As a group we decided to look to in the future and found that we agreed a good goal was to break the age barriers that are currently in SLS - because we believe many kids are just as good or better as their adult counterparts.

One of the activities we did, which was probably the funnest, was a number of sessions on building a surf club within a branch. This comprised 4 teams - one Yellow SLSC, one Red SLSC, one Green SLSC and one Blue SLSC. As the branch of 'Rainbow Bay' we had to work with each other to set up our clubs. This included things such as dividing the allocated number of patrolling members between nippers, competitors and even resources such as IRBs, boards, Jet Skis and ATV. We also had to define what type of club we were ie Lifesaving, competition, youth etc which took a lot of thought. I took a lot away from this particular exercise as it gave me a look into how many different aspects there were when running a club.

This camp has taught me a lot and I have built really awesome friendships with people from all along the coastline, and hopefully next season we will be able to work together to possibly organise inter-branch activities such as beach exchanges for our youth members which will add another exciting aspect to Surf Life Saving. In the near future I and many members of my group hope to return to these types of camp to help instruct them because I believe these camps are one of the most useful tools that SLSNSW can use to develop our youth.

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