Jayden Redfern from Terrigal SLSC is just 13 years-old and has already taken the initiative to be part of the big picture, not only in Surf Life Saving but also within the wider community.
Jayden was awarded 2019 Central Coast Junior Lifesaver Of The Year (JLOTY) winner and attended the Surf Life Saving NSW JLOTY camp at Collaroy. He spent three days with like-minded members who have contributed to and made a positive impact in their clubs.
His contribution and leadership are not only prized in our organisation but also Swimming NSW and now as a representative on the NSW Youth Advisory Council. In his newly appointed position he is working to assist the State Government with issues, policies and the laws that affect children and young people across NSW.
We spoke to Jayden about the amazing new experiences he’s had over the last six months.
How did if feel to be nominated and win Junior Lifesaver of the Year on the Central Coast and what was the best part of being part of the camp?
I felt so happy to be successful in my nomination at club level. I was so excited to then hear that I’d won the Central Coast Branch JLOTY. It was tough competition, so I felt like it was a huge honour to win.
I loved learning about all the opportunities and pathways you have by being a lifesaver. At the camp I got to meet so many new people and was really inspired about what I can do as a lifesaver in NSW.
What was something you learnt throughout the program that will make a difference to you as a lifesaver?
I have learned so many things about working with other leaders, in particular facilitation skills and understanding the importance of youth advocacy and how I can support it which lead me into being interested in the Youth Advisory Council program.
How did you get involved with, and then selected to be part of the NSW Youth Advisory Council (YAC)?
I learned about YAC through my role as a leader on the NSW Swimming Youth Advisory Panel. The lead of that panel was my referee and I had to prepare a written application.
Around 1000 young people across NSW applied and 150 were chosen to attend a full day workshop and selection process at NSW Parliament in October 2018. I loved the day and felt valued and involved.
At the end of 2018, the organisers informed me I had been selected as one of 12 to be part of the NSW YAC. I felt very proud to be part of an amazing and diverse group representing NSW’s youth.
I am the youngest among the group who are all aged 13 to 25 years. We have since had a two-day workshop in Sydney and face-to-face meetings every six weeks. We have led and facilitated various events for youth in NSW including Youth Week Forum 2019.
Tell us about what the aim of the NSW group is and what you want to do with this opportunity?
I want to be an advocate for young people across NSW and Australia. As part of the YAC, we are responsible for contributing to and reviewing government policy and coming up with ideas that support youth in NSW. We help make decisions that impact young people and run forums to seek widespread involvement and contributions.
Recently, the YAC were invited to the NSW State Library to share ideas about how the library could engage more with youth. It was really interesting and exciting. Essentially, we are leaders and advocates for the youth of NSW.
What are you looking forward to most for the rest of the year being part of YAC?
I am looking forward to meeting more and more people, learning about policy and youth advocacy and how I make a real difference. I am also looking forward to running more forums and workshops and meeting people involved in the NSW Government. I look forward to sharing my experiences and skills across the other organisations I’m involved with too, like Swimming NSW and Surf Life Saving.
Why do you think having a voice and direct communication with the NSW Government is so important for Australian young people?
I think it’s very important to involve the public in decision making and planning, it’s especially important to involve young people who will ultimately be impacted by the decisions of today, in the future.
Youth can also have amazing ideas that adults do not necessarily think of. I have learned so many new skills including how to communicate with adults in a way that is professional and valued. I have also learned how to work with people from many different backgrounds. It has given me a better understanding of how much diversity enriches thinking and decision-making.
Do you have anything else exciting that you'd like to be part of or have planned for this year?
We recently launched the “My Local” app. It helps youth find local activities, sporting organisations and events in the areas. I am also looking forward to discussing and reviewing policies related to education and mental health, and facilitating more forums in Sydney at NSW Parliament.
SLSNSW CEO Steven Pearce commented that the future of the Surf Life Saving and Australian society is in safe hands, "If young people are representing their communities as passionatly and inquisitively as Jayden, we've got a bright future. It's so important that we encourage our young members enthusiasm and energy and provide them with the opportunities and skills they need to make them best future leaders they can be.
Friday 14 June 2019