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Australia’s most popular primary aged surf education program has closed the books on another successful season with another 6,000 country students taking part in a lesson on surf safety from our volunteer lifesavers.

The 2016 edition saw 7 groups of lifesavers travel to areas as diverse as Casino, Albury, and Mudgee in late November visiting 41 schools and delivering 62 presentations along the way.

Educating all children about beach safety is something that Surf Life Saving NSW believes passionately about with the chance to travel to the country and ensuring that all youngsters; regardless of where they live have the opportunity to engage with this important topic.

“The Beach to Bush program was outstanding, and I can’t tell you how exciting it was to be able to pop on my red and yellow uniform every day and represent all our lifesavers,” said Nixy Krite (South Maroubra SLSC) who toured the Albury region.

“What really struck me was that a majority of the children hadn’t been to the ocean or seen a bluebottle, and it was at that moment that reaffirmed just how important these school visits are.

During the week-long visit, volunteer presenters spoke about a range of topics including the role of lifesavers and lifeguards, what the signs at the beach mean, what type of marine life live at the beach, and what to do if caught in a rip current.

Rosie Taliano (North Bondi SLSC) who was the 2015 Surf Life Saver of the Year, and a first time presenter of Beach to Bush felt the school students really engaged with the visits.

“The main reason I got involved with Beach to Bush was because it combined two of my passions in primary school teaching and Surf Life Saving and I really wanted the opportunity to give back to the community while sharing my lifesaving experiences and delivering vital safety messages.

“At all the schools we visited the kids were very engaged and certainly not afraid to jump in and ask questions. Popular topics this year were sharks and drones,” Miss Taliano said.

“I think it’s so important for kids to learn these messages about sun, surf, and beach safety and it was a really fun week to be able to go out and share it with children who haven’t grown up near a coastal environment.”

Surf Life Saving Beach to Bush spokesperson Chris O’Rorke felt that the feedback from the program has been positive.

“The 2016 Beach to Bush was another outstanding success, with almost 6,000 children from rural NSW engaging in important beach and water safety messages thanks to the 20 volunteer lifesavers and the generous support of ClubsNSW and NSW Cancer Institute,” Mr O’Rorke said.

“To take our message of safety, fun and inclusivity at the beach on the road is something very special and I know that everyone involved certainly enjoyed the experience,” he concluded.

The Beach To Bush Program, supported by ClubsNSW and the NSW Cancer Institute, is the largest and most innovative surf safety education program in Australia, having reached more than 270,000 primary school students since it began in 1994.

2016 Beach To Bush Tour Locations & Presenters:

Tour 1: Casino Region

Sue Neill (North Coast Director of Education), Susan McCaughtrie (Brunswick SLSC)

Tour 2: Moree Region

Trevor Acason (Woolgoolga SLSC), Brianna Coyte (Toowoon Bay SLSC), Grace Foster (Sawtell SLSC)

Tour 3: Gloucester Region

Kim Rayner (Mid North Coast Director of Education), Michael Bonnici (Wanda SLSC)

Tour 4: Mudgee Region

Andy Cross (North Narrabeen SLSC), Angie Thorpe (North Narrabeen SLSC), Danielle Edwards (North Steyne SLSC)

Tour 5: Forbes Region

Greg Punch (Dee Why SLSC), Cara Van Wyk (Coalcliff SLSC), Christopher Doran (Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC)

Tour 6: Albury Region

Adrienne Lowe (Dee Why SLSC), Rosie Taliano (North Bondi SLSC), Nixy Krite (South Maroubra SLSC)

Tour 7: Canberra Region

Trina Jensen (Kiama Downs SLSC), Shannon Fox (Wollongong SLSC), Paul Hotton (North Bondi SLSC)


Monday 5 December 2016