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Eight up-and-coming NSW surf lifesavers have been selected to attend the 2021 Surf Life Saving Australia National Leadership College - the development program for aspiring leaders. 

The National Leadership College gives young members the chance to be part of creating a strong and effective national Surf Life Saving movement.  It’s targeted at those who are moving into leadership roles and are committed to contributing to the community and making a difference.  

The National Leadership College is a week-long, intensive training course focused on helping participants aged between 20 and 30 years to find their own leadership style. 

The program challenges participants to think strategically about the future of Surf Life Saving, develop their leadership knowledge, learn new skills and create networking opportunities.


Michael Bonnici, who at 23 is Club Captain of Wanda Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney, said that being chosen for the National Leadership College was really exciting and that he looked forward to meeting other like-minded people doing the program. 

“I’m Club Captain at Wanda SLSC, a Duty Officer, RWC driver and a member of the Offshore 30 Rescue Boat team, so it’s fair to say that Surf Life Saving consumes my life,” Michael Bonnici said. 

“I’m really excited about being selected for the National Leadership program. I’ve always wanted to do it. Everyone who does it says it is a terrific program. It has a great reputation. 

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people from a variety of ages and positions, broadening my network and getting some new ideas about leadership for the work I do at the club and in support operations.  

“I think it will be an inspiring experience and will teach me more about leadership. I hope that it makes me a better leader and better person in general,” Michael said. 


Natalie Browning from the Broulee Surfers Surf Life Saving Club on the Far South Coast has also been selected to attend the program.  She has been a Patrol Vice-Captain, RWC driver and member of the Emergency Callout Team at her club for five years.  

Natalie is a passionate and committed volunteer surf lifesaver and said that she was looking forward to the leadership program and learning alongside other young leaders in the Surf Life Saving Movement. 

“I love the Surf Life Saving Movement. I love the involvement and being able to help the community. I love the inclusiveness, it has something for everyone – beach patrols, sport, emergency operations and more,” Natalie Browning said. 

“I like that it makes me feel like I’m doing something good with my time. And I’ve noticed a real increase in community engagement with our club since the January bushfires when we were a safe haven for the community. There’s a lot of love and respect. 

“We stood the Broulee Surfers SLSC up as an emergency evacuation centre and I was on emergency callout duty for six weeks straight. We had to relocate the jetskis and other rescue assets from the club to my house when the club was threatened by the fires,” she said. 

Natalie said that she’s looking forward to the Leadership Program and to meeting new people, broadening her network of like-minded people who are passionate about Surf Life Saving and to bringing that knowledge back to the Far South Coast Branch. 

“I want to learn new skills and have shared experiences that help me develop my own leadership style,” Natalie said. 

“I’m really interested in encouraging younger members into our club, developing their skills to ensure there is a continuity of skills passing to the next generation of members. 

“I’m currently the Publicity Officer at Broulee Surfers but I’m keen to take on more roles and responsibility and perhaps move into a member welfare role with the Far South Coast Branch. I’m excited that the National Leadership College might help me do that,” Natalie concluded. 

Surf Life Saving NSW congratulates its eight members who have been selected to attend the 2021 National Leadership College. 

The eight selected National Leadership College participants are: 

Michael Bonnici  Wanda 
Bradley Dawson  Kiama 
Natalie Browning Broulee Surfers
Liam Bailey  Mona Vale 
Andrea Malm  Freshwater 
Peter Koureas  Maroubra 
George van Dyck North Steyne 
Tom Simpson  Shelly Beach 

17 December 2020