Seventeen newly arrived youth from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Cambodia completed their first official patrol at Bonbeach LSC on Saturday 21 January.
Since 2007, LSV has been bridging the ‘water safety information and diversity gap’ for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community members, with Imtiyaz ‘Minty’ Saberi becoming Victoria’s first Afghani lifesaver at Edithvale LSC in 2009.
This year, the tradition has continued, thanks to an Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Capacity Building and Participation initiative, which has enabled a new cohort of multicultural participants to become qualified lifesavers.
Despite having no prior experience with the surf, these newest recruits completed a year of swimming preparation before joining the lifesaving club, where they have improved remarkably through their recent training course to gain their Surf Rescue Certificates.
Completing this foundation qualification allows the teens to safeguard Bonbeach as volunteer beach patrollers. From this foundation training, the newly qualified lifesavers will further build their skills through patrol experience and further training.
LSV Manager for Multicultural Projects, David Holland commended Bonbeach LSC for its vital contribution to LSV’s Multicultural Water Safety and Settlement strategy.
“Programs like these not only benefit youth from other countries, but the community as a whole,” Mr Holland said.
“A genuine cross-education of cultures takes place, which educates everyone involved.
“It is a great story of young men and women volunteering their time to protect the wider community that they are proud to be part of, so soon after arriving in it.”
Campbell Jordan, a past president and 30-year member of Bonbeach LSC, who has helped to initiate and implement this program with LSV and within the club, says that the great Australian traditions of volunteering and helping others, which are embodied by surf lifesaving, should not only be passed onto new generations, but to the new cultural communities that have been welcomed to Australia.
“Bonbeach LSC is proud to be part of this process in shaping our community and fostering our young members to carry on those traditions in the modern era,” Mr Jordan said.