Two members of the Broulee-Canberra Nippers have recently completed Surf Lifesaving NSW’s Beach to Bush program.
Steve Corcoran and Matt Cox were presenters in the program which saw more than 6000 youngsters from towns including Tamworth, Lismore, West Wyalong, Young, Moree, Gunnedah, Narrabri, and Canberra get a taste of the beach.
The program has reached more than 250,000 primary-aged students in its 25-year history, with each presentation carefully designed to ensure age-appropriate lessons are delivered on topics such as the role of a lifesaver, how to spot a rip, and what to do when you’re in trouble.
Surf Life Saving NSW Beach to Bush spokesperson Mike Anderson said it was a wonderful opportunity for the volunteer lifesavers to take their passion for the beach on the road.
“It’s a big responsibility as you are often the first interaction these children have with a real lifesaver,” he said.
“It’s a chance for our club members to travel and share their love and passion of lifesaving while also helping to spread the message of surf safety to the next generation. Educating all children, regardless of geography is an important part of our strategy to keep the beach going public safe.”
Steve Corcoran, who overlooks junior activities in Canberra for the Canberra-Broulee Nippers, spent two days in Canberra with Sarah Bugbird (Merewether Surf Club) and James Worrell (Stockton Surf Club) teaching kids about water safety.
“It’s something that’s so important,” he said. “Some of the kids hadn’t been to the beach before, or they were nervous about going to the beach.
“Giving them the confidence in the water will help them have an enjoyable day, and it will also get more people visiting the coast.
“We had a great response from Canberra schools considering summer holidays are coming up. Some of the schools are quite large, so they put out a request for another helper, and I was happy to do it.
“I was just a small part of the program in Canberra, but we were all around NSW. Now that I know what the program is like, I’ll definitely be involved next year.”
Part of Mr Corcoran’s drive to be involved with the program is how much his kids enjoy Nippers in Broulee.
“We’ve been holidaying in Broulee for many years, and we wanted our kids to get to know more about the surf, and be safer in the ocean,” he said. “When they advertised the Nippers program, we were keen for our daughters to get involved.
“They love it, it’s a lot of fun for them, and that got us hooked. My wife and I got the bronze medallion to help our kids, and we’re now both silver medallions.”
Mr Corcoran said he’d love to see the program grow in Canberra next year.
“Canberra’s a big town with almost 100 schools,” he said. “You obviously can’t get to them all, but now we’ve got a few more in Canberra with bronze medallions, hopefully we can get to a few more next year.
“The kids loved the presentations, the materials provided were very interactive, and the kids really get involved. It’s a really good program, and very timely just at the start of the summer.”