Great gong for Nippers
"I DIDN'T think we'd have a chance.”
These are the words from the Moore Park Surf Life Saving president Leigh Schurch after three local clubs combined Seahorse program took out the national community program of the year award.
Elliott Heads, Moore Park and Bundaberg surf lifesaving clubs worked together to deliver the inaugural Seahorse Nipper Program for children with disabilities last year.
Schurch said it was the effort from the three clubs that got them over the line to pip some hard competition in Surf Lifesaving's National Awards of Excellence.
There were 16 children in the program and 40 members from the three clubs who took on various roles last year in the inaugural program.
The program provided an opportunity for children with disabilities, aged between 5 and 14, to experience a sense of inclusiveness to the community through the surf lifesaving season.
Schurch said the one-hour session ran on a Saturday for three weeks with a mission for children with disabilities to have fun in the surf and learn vital water safety skills.
When entering the national SLS awards, Schurch saw the calibre of entries from across the field and was amazed by the outcome.
"There was no way I thought we'd win,” she said.
"But there are not many programs were three clubs work together.”
She said the feedback from participants' parents and carers was one thing, but seeing the eyes of the volunteer surf lifesavers and the children light up is what made it what it was.
"The youth SLSC members built relationship they probably didn't realise they could,” she said.
"Many have returned to do it again this year.”
The Seahorse Nippers program has returned this surf lifesaving season and is now in its third week and will return again for two more weeks in March.
Throughout the program, the youngsters will participate in a range of activities and games, encompassing water skills and lifesaving techniques, all designed to slowly build their confidence.
It is an opportunity to make sure all children have the opportunity to participate.
For more information, email seahorsenipperswbc @gmail.com.