Youth member pathways into leadership roles within lifesaving at both club and state level include mentor programs, U13, U15 and U18 development camps, Champion Junior Lifesaver and Building Leaders Scholarships, as well as SLSA’s National Leadership College.

“One of the great things about being involved in lifesaving is being able to provide learning opportunities, pathways and networking for our youth members,” says Emma Atkins, LSV’s GM – People, who has watched young members go from shy nippers to taking on confident leadership roles in their clubs, supported by the youth development pathways offered by LSV.

“We pride ourselves on supporting the growth of great Australians,” says Emma, “whether that’s through their good sportsmanship at carnivals or taking on responsibilities at their clubs, and as ambassadors in their communities. In our junior ranks we have future politicians, police officers, fire fighters, sports stars, and children with a better future thanks to the hard work our volunteers and team put into developing their potential through lifesaving.”


Starting with the U13 Development Camp, held annually around March, 12-13-year-old club members can participate in a three-day camp to develop participants confidence and communication skills, as well as broadening participants understanding of lifesaving pathways.

Next, the U15 Leadership Development Camps provide 14-15-year-old club members, with a chance to further develop their leadership, self-awareness and team work skills, which they can draw on in their lifesaving careers, and as club ambassadors, over three-days at the end of April.

Mentored by some of LSV’s finest volunteer leaders, 16-17-year-old club members can participate in the U18 three-day Leadership Development Camp at the end of November, along with like-minded lifesavers from across the state coming together to learn, share and network.

For more information on youth development camps go to: https://lsv.com.au/clubs-members/leadership/leadership-and-development-camps/


In February, a Champion Junior Lifesaver Development Weekend is held at Life Saving Victoria’s Port Melbourne Headquarters for members aged 13-14 during the current season, and who hold a Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC).

“It’s a day to recognise the excellent young members in the lifesaving family who have gone above and beyond throughout the season and shown fantastic leadership,” says Emma. “The day includes a series of leadership development workshops, and further development of SRC skills through practical team-based scenarios.”

As part of the program, the Mike Martin AM Junior Lifesaver Award is presented to one of the youth members who has displayed exceptional service and dedication to the development of the lifesaving movement in Victoria.

This year, Reagan Morel, a member of Mornington LSC since 2009 was chosen as the award recipient. He has developed from a young enthusiastic nipper to a confident patrolling SRC member and is also involved with fundraising efforts and working bees, assisting with nippers and being part of a competition team. Away from the beach, he included himself in numerous charity events, raising funds for those less fortunate than himself.


Jo-anne and Richard Morel signed their son Reagan up to Morningnto LSC Nippers to be safer around the water since he loved being at the beach. As an only child, mum Jo-anne also thought it would be good experience for him to be in teams and with other children.

“I wasn’t very athletic to start with and always came last,” says Reagan, now aged 14, whose perseverance has taken him to the top as this year’s junior lifesaver recipient. “Seeing how far I’ve come in the photos is really rewarding and now I’m working with the little guys on water safety, I notice their progression too. I love that – paying it back is such a good feeling.”

He also values the friendships he’s made, not just with his own club members and age group, but across the state, enjoying spending time with Ocean Grove, Portsea and Mentone club members at the carnivals.

He has taken up many of the development opportunities available to youth lifesavers, such as the U13 Leadership Development camp and the Junior Lifesaver program, as well as helping with Nippers, and even organising Nipper members to play the Vance Joy song “Rip Tide” at the club presentation night, after arranging half a dozen practise sessions with them.

“I can’t swim,” says Jo-anne, “but, I’ve become involved in volunteering as a first aider on patrol and have done officials qualifications as well. I’m a bit mad for being an official – I love it and even did the open senior female flags at States this year. I was chuffed with that and it’s great to learn from people in the wider lifesaving family, like Cutch, who is so encouraging.”

Father Richard is also involved, having been inspired by Reagan. Richard completed his IRB training, something his son is also keen on. The family often patrol together over summer and enjoy the community aspects of the club.

“Reagan and his best mate from Kindergarten did a rescue last summer of a Columbian tourist who got stuck on a stand-up paddleboard,” says Jo-anne. “They’ve come so far and the skills they’ve learnt will stand them in good stead throughout their lives – off the beach as well. We’ve all trained so hard and given up so many hours to volunteer, but it’s definitely been worth it.”


The 18 – 25 Mentor Program aims to develop young leaders to face the challenges of current and future leadership roles with the support of a mentor and an enhanced lifesaving network, whilst also providing a platform to enhance their leadership credentials, build on their current skillset and motivate them to reach their leadership goals.

“The Mentoring partnership will run in conjunction with four face-to-face leadership development workshops tailored specifically to the demographic,” says Emma. “It’s a program aimed at emerging leaders that currently hold, or aspire to hold, a formal leadership role within their club.”

There are also opportunities in Nippers, Youth Involvement Programs (YIPs) and the Building Leaders Scholarship, whose participants are about to head to Sri Lanka to teach water safety and build on leadership skills overseas.

For a full list of all of LSV’s programs, please click here.

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