Congratulations to Elouera’s very own Sophie Burns who has been announced as Surf Life Saving NSW Junior Lifesaver of the Year!!!
It’s been a memorable day for two young lifesavers who have capped off their Nipper careers in impressive style by winning the Junior Lifesaver of the Year award (JLOTY) in Sydney on Thursday.
Sophie Burns (Elouera SLSC) and Oscar Crowe (MacMasters Beach SLSC) were awarded the prestigious prize after impressing the judging panel during this week’s development program at the Collaroy Learning Centre on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
The duo were among the twenty-two finalists from the eleven branches in NSW invited to take part in the annual leadership and development program which brings together outstanding young surf lifesavers in their final year of Nippers.
“I feel really proud to have this honour because it means I am representing as a youth leader all junior lifesavers in NSW and all the Nippers as well,” Sophie Burns said shortly after her win.
The Elouera teenager who has been involved in surf lifesaving since she was 6-years-old has come a long way since those early beach days where her parents had to drag her to Nippers kicking and screaming.
“I’m so glad I stuck with it as it’s been so worthwhile. My goal now is to give youth a voice. I would like to make them known and to speak out and have their opinions heard,” she said.
Oscar Crowe has been involved in the movement since he was in the Under 6 Age Group, and believes lifesaving has had a positive impact on his life.
“It’s given me a way to help the community and I have met so many friends through it including at this week’s development program,” he said.
The Central Coast teenager has already set his sight on his next dream within surf lifesaving.
“I currently hold my SRC and I want to obtain my Bronze Medallion. Eventually I would like to move on and get my Silver Medallion as an IRB and jet ski driver. When I am old enough I’d like to get my Gold Medallion as well and eventually become a Patrol Captain.”
It wasn’t just the program participants who benefited from this development opportunity.
Each year young facilitators from surf clubs are encouraged to apply and exercise their leadership skills by acting as mentors to participants.
Jade Heber (Ocean Beach) was one of those selected in 2018 and she found one particular session a real highlight.
“For me the highlight of the program was the One Wave wellness component as mental health has an important part in surf life saving .
“What is really important is that it’s no longer as stigmatised as it was in the past and I think that the kids really took it on board. They really engaged with the topic and it made them think about how to look after themselves not only on the beach but in their personal lives as well so it was a really great session,” she said.
2018 Junior Lifesaver of the Year Finalists
Both Sophie and Oscar will be honoured in front of the wider movement as part of the annual Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence ceremony to be held in August