Almost 80 young lifesavers from across Queensland will head to Yandina on the Sunshine Coast this weekend after being selected to attend Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) Breaka Youth Excellence Program.
The annual three-day program commences on Friday and will bring together Queensland’s best and brightest junior surf lifesavers, aged 15-17, with the aim to develop and harness their involvement, leadership and responsibility within the movement.
Among the group will be 15-year-old Harry Graham from Redcliffe Surf Life Saving Club, last year’s Breaka Junior Surf Life Saver of the Year.
SLSQ membership development manager Brenda Lofthouse said it was a great opportunity to engage with younger members from all over Queensland.
“It’s wonderful to see a strong representation from our Sunshine Coast members and it goes to show that the future of surf lifesaving there is in great hands,” Ms Lofthouse said.
“There will be representatives from a range of clubs across the region, and there’s no doubt they all have the potential to develop into future leaders of surf lifesaving.
“They’ve been invited to attend on the back of their dedication to the movement and enthusiasm for surf lifesaving. Across the weekend we’ll look to build on that passion and hopefully develop some core leadership skills they’ll be able to apply to all areas of their lives,” she said.
The three-day program at Maranatha Recreational Camp at Yandina will feature a wide range of fun activities and sessions focusing on the professional and personal development opportunities available to younger members within the movement. Participants will also be treated to a demonstration by SLSQ’s Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter Rescue Service on Friday.
Ms Lofthouse said it was a great opportunity for the young participants to gain further knowledge and development in all facets of surf lifesaving disciplines.
“Traditionally speaking, the 15-17 years age group is generally where we begin to see a drop-off in membership as competing interests and commitments begin to take their toll,” she said.
“This weekend is a great opportunity for some of our junior members from all over Queensland to link up and meet each other, have fun, learn from experienced lifesavers and develop key skills that will hopefully keep them involved in the movement and encourage them to pursue leadership opportunities within surf lifesaving.
“These members are leaders within their clubs and represent the future of surf lifesaving in Queensland, and the Breaka Youth Excellence Program is a wonderful opportunity to keep them engaged and hopefully involved in the movement for many years to come,” she said.
Ms Lofthouse said the program places a strong emphasis on empowering younger members of the surf lifesaving movement.
“A lot of members who have gone through the program return each year as mentors, leaders and program coordinators,” Ms Lofthouse said.