To start a new decade and in celebration of the contribution of female lifesavers, many Victorian beaches turned a shade of pink as all-female patrols kept a watchful eye on beachgoers. Here’s how some of our clubs celebrated:
Ocean Grove SLSC and Point Lonsdale SLSC
The new Ocean Grove SLSC lifesaving facility was the setting for the club’s fifth annual Pink Zinc parade, held in partnership with sister club Point Lonsdale SLSC.
The event included inflatable rescue boat demonstrations, a mock rescue scenario, as well as oxygen and defibrillation workshops. A high tea was provided where guests, including the younger female lifesaving club members, were able to set personal and club goals, as well as workshop ideas for increasing female participation.
Guest speakers included Cathy Tisdale, who was the first female president of the Ocean Grove SLSC and one of Victoria’s first female lifeguards. She has also worked professionally with elite sports teams in both surf lifesaving and AFL. She urged young females to take every opportunity lifesaving offers them.
The Mayor of Geelong, Stephanie Asher, also spoke of the need for females to actively seek mentoring from people whose values they admire, and then look to do the same for other females coming through the ranks. She has two sons and a daughter who are very involved in the Ocean Grove SLSC as members and as high-performing lifesaving sport competitors.
For Bec Sampson, club member of Ocean Grove SLSC, the pink zinc patrol is about empowering females to be the best version of themselves.
“It has been incredible to see the positive influence one initiative such as this can have on a community,” says Bec. “Even over the past few years, the number of females putting up their hand to take on more responsibility and step into those leadership positions has grown rapidly.”
Woolamai Beach SLSC
Ten years ago, Woolamai Beach SLSC introduced a pink patrol. This year, around thirty female patrollers took to the beach to patrol, raise money and awareness in a breast cancer and to hand out pink caps to young girls on the beach to encourage them to get involved in lifesaving.
“We didn’t have lots of females in leadership in the club before our pink patrols began, and it’s quite a physically challenging beach to patrol at,” says club member Annie Coleman. “Pink patrol gives everyone a chance to get out on the rescue boards in a comfortable environment – it doesn’t matter if you’re not super flash at it, it’s about building confidence and I’ve seen that grow so much since the pink patrols began.”
She says it’s a special day because younger girls on the beach can see strong females who are great role models. As a nipper on the beach, she remembers seeing the pink patrol and thinking the girls looked “so cool”.
“It 100 per cent made me want to get more involved in lifesaving,” says Annie.
Further down the Surf Coast at Lorne, the club’s patrol members, including the female club captain and vice captain, Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) driver and crew were on hand for a supportive celebration of female contributions to the surf life saving club.
The club put on a BBQ before the all-female patrol began with members wearing special pink bucket hats designed by club member Jess Sincock, as well as pink zinc and pink cupcakes.
“It was an easterly that day, so the water was extremely choppy and we had lots of rips,” says Jess. “We worked hard to keep swimmers in between the flags and we rescued nine people by the end of the day.”
Lorne SLSC has a new program called Lorne SLSC Surf Sisters, which is about encouraging female participation in the club and creating more of a team environment. It’s also about demonstrating the opportunities available to females in the club.
“Pink Patrol tied in very nicely with this new program,” says Jess. “I was super stoked with how many girls turned out!”
For the first time, a Pink Patrol was held at Inverloch beach to celebrate and acknowledge the important and varied roles females play at the club.
“The club is only 22 years old, so we’ve been lucky not to have experienced inequality in leadership roles here,” says club member and LSV Director of Membership and Leadership Development, Angela Malan. “So, we also acknowledge our club’s male supporters and those who work alongside us.”
There were 17 females on patrol keeping an eye on the beaches for Inverloch SLSC’s pink patrol day, as well as a morning tea attended by around 30 past and present members of all ages.
Anna Kilborn, a current patroller who achieved her bronze medallion in 1981, told stories of her first years on patrol and competing. Members Renee Barbour and Lauren Blair Kerr, who gained their Bronze at the first Inverloch bronze camp, shared their lifesaving journey from patrolling to being current nipper mums.
Other Clubs around the state to participate were:
- Fairhaven SLSC, one of the Pink Patrols foundation clubs, having run a Pink Patrol and Ladies Luncheon over the last five years. Pink Patrol 2020 saw the patrollers tackle dangerous surf conditions and had to close the beach during part of the day.
- Anglesea SLSC, 2020 marked Anglesea’s inaugural Pink Patrol, which was celebrated with leadership talks, yoga, a delicious morning tea and plenty of female patrollers turning up to keep the beach safe.
- Point Leo SLSCacknowledged and celebrated the female members and leaders of their club with talks by inspirational women, alongside the female patrol.
- Waratah Beach SLSC, event highlights included a special guest speaker.
- SLS Lakes Entrance, hosted a morning tea event, followed by an inspirational guest speaker, with a focus on opportunities and pathways.
- Wonthaggi LSC, celebrated their first event on International Women’s Day.
- Warrnambool SLSC, hosted their first Pink Patrol as part of an extension of their International Women’s Day Breakfast event.
- Hampton LSC, was the first Bay Club to deliver a Pink Patrol in 2020.