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Surf Life Saving NSW has announced its 30th Junior Lifesavers of the Year. Ainsley Dalton from Woolgoolga SLSC and Mikala Campbell from Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC have been presented with the coveted award for 2018/19.​

Since it began in 1989, the Junior Lifesaver of the Year (JLOTY) award has recognised outstanding achievement and contribution by Under 14 members to their club and community.

Two nominees are put forward by each club to their Branch, with each Branch nominating two to be invited to attend the state camp.

Between 15 and 17 April, 22 members representing 11 Branches, attended the camp at Collaroy. Each were interviewed by the state panel and enjoyed three days of fun, adventure and leadership training.

On Wednesday 17 April the male and female Junior Lifesavers of the Year were announced in front of their peers, and as a first broadcast live online and.

Ainsley Dalton from Woolgoolga SLSC won the Male award and was honoured to represent his club.

“I’m so proud to win this year’s JLOTY. I’ve come down here from the North Coast from a small club, and I’m glad I could represent them here and bring home this award to show the other kids what you can achieve.

“I’ve been involved with my club since Under 12s. I came in as a Nipper to learn the basics of surf and get involved with the community. This season I’ve completed my Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC), it’s a big step but it’s a great achievement. Being nominated to come here and be part of the JLOTY program and now to win has been a highlight for me.

“Seeing what I can do and the information we’ve been given through this program has opened my eyes to all the opportunities available.”

Patrick Mullen is the Junior Club Captain of Woolgoolga SLSC and Director of Member Services of North Coast Branch and conveyed the Club and Branch’s delight in their first win in 10 years. 

“Woolgoolga SLSC is extremely proud of Ainsley on such a remarkable achievement and taking out the title of Male JLOTY for this season. He is extremely deserving and shows the true qualities of a future leader within the organisation. We are excited to see his future development in Surf Life Saving.

“As a Branch, we have immense pride in both our representatives, Ainsley and Lily Betland at the 2018/19 JLOTY program for their achievements.”

Mikala Campbell from Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC in the Far North Coast Branch won the female award.

“Winning this award means everything. I wasn’t that great as a competitor but I’ve put in so much to my surf club. Winning this is so good because it represents everything that I’ve put in.

“I’ve been involved since Under 7s, so this is my last year in the Nippers Program. It’s been a great journey and I’ve made so many friends.

“I want to take back everything I’ve learnt at this camp to my club to inspire them about surf lifesaving as much as I’ve been inspired this week.

“I want to stay in SLS as long as I can and initiate as many programs as I can. I’d like to see myself becoming a Patrol Captain and getting my Gold Medallion. I hope to make the organisation more inclusive and be part of the bigger picture getting the community involved.”

Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore Director of Junior Activities Kristy Collins said that Mikala is a very driven and well-liked member of their surf club.

“Mikala’s win for our club is the best news and we’re over the moon she’s been recognised at a state level. She’s a natural leader among our Nippers community and does so well in surf lifesaving in the club and on patrol and in surf sports.

“Mikala is an all-rounder and all the kids look up to her. She’s a true inspiration to all our Nippers giving so much back to the club in every area.

“We’re committed to giving her support financially, motivationally and strategically for the programs she wants to initiate.

“She completed her SRC this season and started patrolling before Christmas. She’s so driven to further her qualifications and involvement and we couldn’t be happier to open all the doors for her success.”

Michael Bonnici was a facilitator of the JLOTY program NSW/ACT Young Achiever of the Year 2018 said, “the highlight of this program is seeing how inspirational the youth in our state are coming up through the movement.

"It’s so exciting hear them talk about the changes they want to make. I’m passionate about helping give these kids that voice to make the changes. I want to help better equip them to become the best lifesavers they can be."

SLSNSW Director of Membership Trent Thomas of Maroubra SLSC said he is astounded that the calibre of finalists each year can continue to reach new heights. 

"Each and every year we see such strong and amazing members come through this program. It's the opportunity to showcase what our young members and facilitators can do and they give us incredible insights into the organisation. It's great to give the kids the support and backing they need and then watch them return to their clubs to champion their ideas." 

SLSNSW CEO Steven Pearce could not be more proud of the group and the enthusiasm the two new winners have to inspire their clubs and communities and implement their ideas.

“These kids are not just a group of 14 year-olds, they are a group of leaders. They are the future of our organisation. They are the voice and facilitators of the youth.

“Each year it astounds me how well rounded, selfless and committed these young leaders are to our organisation. Surf Lifesaving in NSW future is in great hands.”

Both Ainsley and Mikala will be re-presented with their perpetual shields at the 2019 SLSNSW Awards Of Excellence in Sydney on Saturday 31 August.

2018/19 NSW JLOTY Finalists 

  • (WINNER) Mikala Campbell - Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC 

  • Sven Loemker - Cudgen Headland SLSC

  • Lily Betland - Coffs Harbour SLSC

  • (WINNER) Ainsley Dalton - Woolgoolga SLSC

  • Georgia Gaddes - South West Rocks SLSC

  • Tahj Thrower - Tacking Point SLSC

  • Olivia Williams - Forster SLSC

  • Brady Cross - Black Head SLSC

  • Charlotte Dobson - Catherine Hill Bay SLSC

  • Oscar Roberts - Stockton SLSC

  • Ebony Rayner - Umina SLSC

  • Jayden Redfern - Terrigal SLSC

  • Mila McGettigan - Freshwater SLSC

  • Leon Pearson - Dee Why SLSC

  • Sarah Teitler - South Maroubra SLSC

  • Thomas McFarland - Bondi Lifesavers

  • Halle Bone - Bellambi SLSC

  • Samuel Murrie - Sandon Point SLSC

  • Anna Hill - Nowra Culburra SLSC

  • Charlie Britten - Kiama SLSC

  • Tasman McKenzie - Bermagui SLSC

  • Oliver Meaker - Tathra SLSC


Tuesday 23 April 2019