City to Country SLSC exchange program

Lifesavers: Young local SLSC members have returned from the annual City to Country exchange program. Picture: John Veage
Lifesavers: Young local SLSC members have returned from the annual City to Country exchange program. Picture: John Veage

A group of 19 passionate young lifesavers from across NSW have recently returned from the annual City to Country exchange program, and with summer still in full swing they’re determined to teach others and put their new skills to good use.

Nine lifesavers from city clubs –  including Jessika Hay and Declan Grohala from Garie SLSC and Natasha Hargreaves North Cronulla SLSC – travelled to the Far North Coast for three days where they toured the facilities of the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter at Lismore, workshopped with other emergency services and got to test their skills on beaches very different from their own including Byron Bay.

At the same time their 10 country-based counterparts made their way to Sydney’s eastern suburbs where they  participated in a similar program and got to test their skills on some of the busiest beaches in Australia including Bondi, Clovelly and Maroubra.

The well established networking opportunity allows patrolling members to meet like-minded people and utilise their skills on different beaches.

It was an opportunity appreciated by this year’s participants.

“My highlight was patrolling Bondi on Australia Day as well as experiencing some time on Clovelly,” said 18-year-old Kate Blunn (Evans Head-Casino SLSC) who travelled to Sydney with the country group.

“Patrolling both beaches gave me new insights into how different patrolling other beaches is as well as highlighting the importance of communication.”

Sydney lifesavers who made the journey north felt they learnt some useful skills to take back to their peers.

“The opportunity to experience patrol on different beaches and to see how they handle their respective challenges and also to build networks and meet other young people that are passionate about the movement was what attracted me to apply,”  said Kyra Jenkins from North Steyne SLSC.