We all know them – members who care, give up their time and want to make a difference. The Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence celebrate the incredible people in our organisation and the impact they have on their clubs, its members and their local communities.
As we edge closer to our Awards ceremony, set to premiere on Facebook on Saturday, August 28 from 6.30pm, we highlight some of the inspirational people who are being recognised for their contribution to the community through Surf Life Saving.
As a volunteer-focussed organisation, our membership drives everything we do. From facilitating greater awareness and education through our community to encouraging or promoting innovative ideas and services, Branches across the state work in constant service of the ensuring its membership is informed, equipped and excited.
A man who reflects these values as well as any other is Ian Latham. A long-term contributor to Surf Life Saving over two separate stints and shaped by his background in sports admin and education, Ian is the epitome of giving back in a meaningful way.
He was tapped on the shoulder a few years ago to join Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC, and in the time that has followed his efforts have led to him being nominated for Administrator of the Year.
“I always come into organisations and approach it in the same way I did within the Department, respect the past but look to the future,” Ian said.
“Look to people who have been involved, but also look for people who have capacity to do jobs better than you could yourself.
“To have a closed mind limits our capacity as a club, and as a club we need to remember to be reflective of the community and not an individual.”
Ian said his role was to be the “oil that makes things happen, ensuring the members have access to the very best equipment to do their part.”
“What brings people back, what brings me back, is that sense of belonging and being able to contribute to the club and the wider community,” he added.
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s like a bank – you can’t make the heavy withdrawals if you don’t make the heavy deposits.”
Two clubs making those heavy deposits are The Lakes SLSC and Kiama Downs SLSC, who are nominated in the Innovation of the Year and Service Team of the Year categories respectively.
With membership waning from a very small base, The Lakes were actively seeking ways to engage with a burgeoning local community of small families. Thus, the ‘Little Rippers’ program was born.
Established to cater to 3–5-year-olds with obstacle courses and games that teach them vital surf safety skills, the program has grown five-fold since it was first launch five years ago and now has more than 100 active participants.
In fact, the club has been so successful with its program that they have had to implement a wait list as they prepare, post COVID-19, to be able to host more than 100 kids in the course.
Kiama Downs SLSC has had similar success in the form of its South Coast Support Ski Service Team, albeit with a much smaller group of people.
A passionate group of seven members operates regular patrols, proactively ensuring that the coastal waters are safe for the public.
Despite the size of the unit, they have made many rescues over time and had a tremendous impact on the lives of those that have been saved and the many others surrounding these people.
Administrator of the Year
Teena Redman, Evans Head Casino SLSC
Anthea Martin, Sawtell SLSC
Ian Latham, Wauchope-Bonny Hills SLSC
Jason Woods, Pacific Palms SLSC
Andrew Pettit, Cooks Hill SLSC
Karen Hickmott, Toowoon Bay SLSC
Victoria Sweetman-O’Halloran, Manly LSC
Anne Caterson, Wanda SLSC
Nathan Boscaro, Port Kembla SLSC
Tracey Freeman, Shellharbour SLSC
Kerry Bourke, Pambula SLSC
Youth Volunteer of the Year
Sven Loemker, Cudgen Headland SLSC
Alyssa Slattery, Tacking Point SLSC
Luke McNeil, Cape Hawke SLSC
William Gunn, Nobbys SLSC
Kai Darwin, Umina SLSC
Sam Capell, Newport SLSC
Imogen Barham, Clovelly SLSC
Lachlan McDonald, Helensburgh Stanwell Park SLSC
Macey Guy, Kiama Downs SLSC
Benjamin Buchli, Bermagui SLSC
Services Team of the Year
Cudgen Major Events Commitee, Cudgen Headland SLSC
Pacific Palms Call Out Team, Pacific Palms SLSC
Administration and Finance Team, North Avoca SLSC
Nippers Dolphins Marlins, Newport SLSC
Sydney Branch RWC Group, Sydney Branch
Maroon & White Silver Salties, Wollongong City SLSC
South Coast Support Ski 1, Kiama Downs SLSC
Wambiri Youth Leadership Camp, Far South Coast Branch
Low Profile SSV Roof Rack, Fingal Rovers SLSC
Little Rippers, The Lakes SLSC
24 Hour Row/Nathan & Melissa Wellings, Avalon Beach SLSC
Sea Turtles to Lifesavers, North Cronulla SLSC
Learn to Surf Program, Sandon Point SLSC
The 2021 Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence are set to premiere on Facebook on the evening of Saturday, August 28.
Thursday 26 August 2021