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Twelve young award winners have been chosen for their contributions to club and community.

Tuesday, 12 June, 2018.

The Surf Lifesaving movement is a treasured institution in Australia, largely due to the values it promotes and the service it provides to communities.

Central Coast Surf Life Saving CEO Chris Parker described those values as: "team work, selflessness, comradery, dedication and community spirit". 

Each year in Surf Life Saving branches from the Central Coast to the Queensland border, a male and female Newcastle Permanent Junior Surf Lifesaver of the Year is chosen for their outstanding service and commitment to those values. 

On the Central Coast, Shelly Beach Surf Life Saving Club member Jade Crook and McMasters Beach SLSC member Oscar Crowe, both 14, were named Newcastle Permanent Junior Lifesavers of the Year for 2018. After winners of the awards from all regions attended an elite weekend camp, Oscar was eventually named the overall NSW Junior Lifesaver of the Year.

"I was really honoured to win the award and it gives me confidence in what I’ve learnt," Oscar said. 

Oscar said he hoped to start a program that would help clubs retain junior members who often dropped out between the ages of 15 and 19.  

Jade said she was proud to win her award after overcoming an initial fear of the ocean.

"I used to just sit on the sand and I found it daunting to go in the water,” she said. “Since starting in Nippers in under eights, it has become a big part of my life. I love being in the water and being around kids who have the same passion, helping them develop skills and spread awareness of how to read the surf."

Mr Parker said Jade and Oscar were outstanding club members.

Oscar and Jade on Shelly Beach.
Oscar Crowe and Jade Crook on Shelly Beach.

"The Newcastle Permanent Junior Surf Lifesaver of the Year is awarded to a junior male and female member for outstanding services, based on contribution to their surf club and the local community, attitude and sportsmanship, as well as attendance and involvement in surf lifesaving activities," Mr Parker said.

"The program is important to Surf Life Saving Central Coast as it provides a conduit for our iconic movement to pass on our proud volunteer lifesaving traditions."

The full list of award winners is:

  • Central Coast: Jade Crook, Shelly Beach Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Central Coast: Oscar Crowe, MacMasters Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Hunter: Lanah Vandyke, Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Hunter: Flynn Wallace-Smith, Caves Beach Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Lower North Coast: Abby Mulligan, Cape Hawke Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Lower North Coast: Matthew Pieschel, Crowdy Head Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Mid North Coast: Sophie Oakshott, Port Macquarie Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Mid North Coast: Lecke Frost, Port Macquarie Surf Lifesaving Club
  • North Coast: Grace McCormack, Coffs Harbour Surf Lifesaving Club
  • North Coast: Toby Fluechter, Woolgoolga Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Far North Coast: Jack Breen, Lennox Head-Alstonville Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Far North Coast: Paris Brailsford, Yamba, Surf Lifesaving Club

Rhonda Scruton, CEO Hunter Surf Lifesaving branch, described the awards as the 'pinnacle of recognition' for dedication and service by juniors. 

"These young members are future leaders not only in Surf Lifesaving but in our communities," she said. "They have qualities far beyond their years through contact with members of their clubs that teach values, working in a team, communication, kindness and trust.

"Winning Junior Surf Life Saver of the Year opens doors to mix with the winners in the other SLS Branches within NSW, where lifelong friendships are formed and careers are shaped."

Newcastle Permanent CEO Terry Millett said the organisation had a long association with Surf Life Saving, which started in the Hunter 35 years ago. Since then, Newcastle Permanent had sponsored the Central Coast branch for the past 16 years and SLS branches from the Mid North Coast to the Far North Coast of NSW for the past decade, investing about $300,000 a year in total. 

"Our support for Surf Life Saving extends from the Central coast to the Queensland boarder, assisting surf lifesaving branches and clubs to purchase essential safety equipment, perform volunteer patrols, and provide training and leadership programs to nurture the life savers of tomorrow," Mr Millett said.

"We recognise the vital service volunteer surf life savers provide and through this partnership our goal is to help Surf Life Saving continue its great work supporting clubs, volunteers, and the wider community."

Mr Millett said investing in communities through initiatives such as the Junior Surf Life Saver of the Year Awards was a core value of the organisation.

"Our ownership model is different to that of the big four banks — we are 100% owned by our customers, not shareholders. This means that our decisions are based on what’s best for customers, rather than what’s going to make the most profit for shareholders.

"This business model means that we reinvest of our profits back into the business for the benefit of our customers and their communities. So this mandate to support communities is why we support Surf Life Saving."

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