Young Nippers Earn Recognition

Brianna Clarkson (Brunswick), and Reed van Huisstede (Cooks Hill) capped of their Nipper careers in style by winning the title of Junior Lifesavers of the Year and were presented their awards at the 2014 NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence.

Each season, all eleven branches select a male and female finalist from the U14 Age Group to become a contender for the prestigious Junior Lifesaver of the Year award.

These young club members are selected on the strength of their leadership potential and commitment to surf life saving throughout their time in juniors. All finalists gather at a three program on Sydney’s Northern Beaches during the Easter Holidays, and for many of them it is often the first time they have met other like-minded lifesavers from around the state.

During the program they participate in an interview with a panel which helps determine the two winners.

Briana has shown tremendous dedication to her club Brunswick Heads ever since she became a nipper. Despite living in Brisbane for the past three years, she still feels a sense of loyalty to her home club and regularly makes the trip down to help out.

“I definitely intend to stay with Brunswick Heads as it’s close to my heart. It’s a big commitment with the travel, but I love the club so it doesn’t ever feel like a chore,” Brianna Clarkson said.

In 2014/15 Brianna assisted younger nippers in her role with water safety, worked in the canteen and barbeque, and was always willing to lend a helping hand to whoever needed it.

She hopes to become an active patrolling member and continue to mentor the youngster at her club as she progresses in her lifesaving career.

“It is such an honour to receive this award in front of people who do so much for the community, and it really shows what is possible. I really want to continue my work as an age manager and mentor younger club members and that is what I will be focussing on next season.”

Reed’s journey in surf life saving commenced at the tender age of 5 and in the 9 years since he has proved to be an outstanding asset for Cooks Hill. He’s recently achieved his SRC and is a member of the club’s Rookie Patrol Program.

This new initiative allows the youngsters to work closely with those more experienced and creates a culture of knowledge. By participating, Reed has been able to assist with younger Nippers where he volunteers in water safety, and also helps ensure that people with a disability can access the beach.

He enjoys the mentoring side of surf life saving and is an assistant age manager for his younger brother. Already Reed has been involved with several rescues including one that required the assistance of the Westpac Helicopter.

“It’s incredible to get this award in front of all these experienced lifesavers and reinforces why we are involved,” Reed van Huisstede said on Saturday.

Though his time in Nippers has drawn to a close, Reed is keen to continue his involvement in Surf Life Saving.

“My aim for next season is just to continue to help out as much as possible, I want to do more water safety and continue being an age manager with my younger brother. My biggest goal is to get my Bronze Medallion as soon as I am eligible when I turn 15 as it’s something that I have always aspired to,” he said.

The 2015 SLSNSW Awards of Excellence are proudly presented by Stramit Building Products. Almost 350 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, educators, coaches, and administrators from around the state gathered at Sydney’s iconic Four Seasons Hotel for a night of celebration.

For a full list of all the winners and to see photographs from the night please visit the SLSNSW Awards of Excellence Event Page or our social media channels

Photograph - Brianna Clarkson (top) and Reed an Huisstede (below) celebrate after being named the 2015 Junior Lifesavers of the Year.

Mon 31 Aug 2015