Redcliffe Peninsula Surf Life Saving Club’s youth programs are proving to be a force to be reckoned with after the club was crowned Sunshine Coast's Junior and Youth Development Club of the Year for the second year running.
Spokesman Rob van Driel says it’s a huge coup to beat 13 other clubs in the region for the title, which acknowledges excellence in supporting future lifesavers, and it’s testament to the commitment of Redcliffe’s dedicated volunteers.
“The award recognises the best club for junior and youth development and we were competing against much larger clubs like Mooloolaba and Caloundra,” Rob says.
|“Redcliffe’s making waves – even without the waves,” he jokes, referring to the Peninsula’s lack of surf.|
The win puts Redcliffe in the running for the Surf Life Saving Queensland Awards of Excellence, which will be announced at a gala dinner on August 20.
Last year the club was honoured with a Special Commendation for the same award.
“Nippers is developing young members to become lifesavers,” Rob says.
A surge in the popularity of life saving has left Redcliffe with a challenge – they’ve had to close their waiting list for the Nippers program for this year’s season because with 700 children still wanting to join it’s unlikely they’ll find a spot – even with mid-week training sessions.
“I think it’s a lot to do with increased awareness of the Nippers program, but we’re also the closest club to Brisbane,” he says.
“Half our members come from the Peninsula and half from Brisbane – a lot of it’s word of mouth.”
Rob says numbers were capped at 280 last year, with limited beach space and a strict volunteer-to-Nipper ratio.
This year the goal is to have up to 320 children involved in the program.
|“With Suttons Beach being tidal and also having steps, we’re always going to be limited for space,” he explains.|
“We’re really going for quality over quantity and it comes down to the amount of equipment we have and not wanting to have the kids sitting around waiting for a turn.”
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