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.
They say a good education is the foundation for a brighter future, and branches across the state are blessed with many talented, dedicated individuals who understand this. Their passion lights the way for the next generation.
Michelle Cowans is one of those individuals. A key cog in the running of Tamarama SLSC, she believes the tight knit team they have cultivated over the years makes all the effort and time worthwhile.
“I’m a strong believer in building a sense of community and rapport, what I love seeing is the friendships develop and grow between new ‘bronzies’,” said the Trainer of the Year finalist.
“I went through it myself - there’s three or four people I went through it with who I now consider my closest friends.
“It’s nice to see that transcend Surf Life Saving. So while I believe teaching these skills, like first aid for instance, is very important, we’re building a sense of community so people want to come back and they get a sense of fulfilment.”
As the Chief Training Officer, Michelle’s portfolio is varied. She trains people coming through the club, supports existing members with education requirements, and makes sure admin work is completed correctly.
Most of these fit well with her previous experience in the classroom, having spent many years as a hands-on educator.
While the titles are different, her role isn’t that dissimilar in its breadth to that of fellow volunteer and Coffs Harbour SLSC member, Mark Beavis.
Mark is a finalist in the Assessor of the Year category – just reward for the countless hours he puts into training and assessing the Bronze Medallion and SRC courses.
It’s never been a chore for Mark. No, it’s ingrained in him. Surf Life Saving, and giving back.
“If you don’t put in you shouldn’t take out, that was instilled in me as a kid,” he said.
“They’re good people, those around the club. They’re lifelong friends, I enjoy doing what I do.
“We just try to keep it fun when we’re assessing. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be there.”
While the pair are excited for the Facebook premiere stream of the Award ceremony, both admit that, regardless of the results on the night, they have already won.
“I was genuinely touched and honoured to be nominated, but it’s not why you do it,” Michelle said.
“It’s recognition from your peers, so it’s a nice pat on the back,” Mark agreed.
“But you do it because you enjoy it. You have to put into your branch and your club. You don’t ask to be rewarded.”
Trainer of the Year
Jill Ennever, Yamba SLSC
Ian Everingham, South West Rocks SLSC
Rebecca Austin, Pacific Palms SLSC
Steve Westcott, Fingal Beach SLSC
Tim Pittolo, Terrigal SLSC
Emily Buckle, Dee Why SLSC
Michelle Cowans, Tamarama SLSC
Bindi Adams, Scarborough Wombarra SLSC
Andy Depree, Gerringong SLSC
James Flick, Broulee Surfers SLSC
Assessor of the Year
Dennis Eyre, Cudgen Headland SLSC
Mark Beavis, Coffs Harbour SLSC
Richard Ellery, Cape Hawke SLSC
Steve Westcott, Fingal Beach SLSC
Paul Dowdell, Shelly Beach SLSC
Barry Antella OAM, Queenscliff SLSC
Phillip Carter, Maroubra SLSC
Jaclyn Percy, Bellambi SLSC
Annette Chapman, Mollymook SLSC
Community Education Program of the Year
EAC Surf Awareness Program, Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC
Welcome to the Beach Program, Cooks Hill SLSC
The Lakes SLSC and St Brigid’s Catholic College Inflame Program, The Lakes SLSC
Community Resuscitation, Queenscliff SLSC
Wanda Beach Safety Community Talks, Wanda SLSC
Surf Lifesaving Dreams Take Flight, Coalcliff SLSC
Facilitator of the Year
Stephen Perris, Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC
Jim Wills, Forster SLSC
Henry Scruton, Nobbys SLSC
Ramzy Fawzy, Shelly Beach SLSC
Peter Fenley, Bilgola SLSC
Doug Hawkins, Coogee SLSC
David Winner, Coalcliff SLSC
Bruce O’Sullivan, Mollymook SLSC
The 2021 Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence are set to premiere on Facebook on the evening of Saturday, August 28.
Thursday 19 August 2021