Generous support from the James N. Kirby Foundation assisted Surf Life Saving NSW in running a Lifesaving Exchange Program in early 2011.
The NSW Lifesaving Exchange Program takes 25 young volunteer Patrol Captains from regional areas and hosts them at key city surf clubs such as Bondi, Coogee and Maroubra over a long weekend.
The purpose of the exchange is to give talented lifesavers from country areas exposure to how large city clubs, with more resources and beachgoers, operate.
Through the exchange, participants are also exposed to the different Support Services that the Sydney Branch has to offer – such as the Offshore Rescue Boat and the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter. Participants are given firsthand experience in operating an inflatable rescue boat, performing board rescues, driving an all-terrain vehicle, conducting roving patrols, performing basic first aid and observing SurfCom operations.
The benefit to our country lifesavers is that they learn strategies and receive practical experience on how to manage high intensity patrolling situations that they are not traditionally exposed to in a rural patrolling environment. In exchange, City Patrol Captains also get an opportunity to visit a country club for a weekend and mentor country club members and assist with implementation of new strategies and ideas.
While the main aims of the program are to broaden the lifesaving experience of participants, promote the development of lifesaving skills and increase lifesaving standards across New South Wales; this program also acts as a fantastic way to reward our young lifesavers who tirelessly volunteer numerous hours each season to keep the NSW public safe.
On behalf of Surf Life Saving NSW, I would like to sincerely thank the James N. Kirby Foundation for supporting this valuable program.
Chief Executive Officer Surf Life Saving NSW