Brunswick Clubbie To Patrol 129 Beaches

An idea that arose from attending the 2014/15 Youth Opportunity Makers Workshop has inspired Brunswick SLSC surf lifesaver, Sam Atkins, to patrol at every NSW Surf Life Saving Club.

The 17 year old started to hone his idea after listening to the 2014 Volunteer of the Year, Andy Cross from South Narrabeen, who spoke about his journey surfing at every surf club in NSW to promote the Gold Medallion program.

“My inspiration within the Surf Life Saving movement would definitely have to be Andy Cross. I was lucky enough to have him as a presenter for the YOM program which I attended in April 2015,” said the final year school student.

Guided by Andy Cross, Sam has come up with two messages as to why he wants to patrol at all 129 clubs.

“I want to encourage all active surf lifesavers to patrol at a different surf life saving club and I also want to encourage the younger members of Surf Life Saving to be thinking about taking up committee roles within their respective clubs,” said Sam.

“He’s a really determined young man and has a great message - he deserves all the encouragement and support we can give him,” Andy Cross added.

To date, the Brisbane teenager has patrolled at his club Brunswick and over the past six weeks has been making his way through the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch, finishing up at Manly LSC on Sunday 17 January.

“From starting my first patrol at North Palm Beach on the 12th of December and finishing up at Manly on Sunday, it's been some of the best six weeks I've had,” said Sam.

The youngster spent most of his time at South Narrabeen SLSC and at North Palm Beach SLSC for the first part of his Sydney Northern Beaches journey.

Sam patrolled throughout the holiday period including every weekend and public holiday and performed his first rescue on New Year’s Day at South Narrabeen.

Apart from spreading his message, the surf lifesaver has learnt a great deal more than he expected, particularly about the way clubs manage their patrols.

“I’ve learnt a lot to do with the beaches and the different way patrols are run and how they manage having lots of people in the water. Coming from Brunswick Heads, we’ve only got 20 or 30 people in the water, so coming down to Sydney where you can have around 300 people to watch over is really quite amazing,” said Sam.

The next step for Sam is to head back to Brisbane and concentrate on his final year of high school and on the weekends patrol at the Far North Coast clubs before the Easter holidays. Longer term plans include increasing his knowledge of surf lifesaving generally and having the opportunity to become a club captain.

If you would like to follow Sam’s journey visit his Instagram account: patrol129beaches

Photo: Sam (2nd from right) and Andy Cross (far right) at South Narrabeen SLSC.

Wed 20 Jan 2016