Junior Activities plays a key role within Surf Life Saving as it is the foundation for the future of our unique organisation. All of the 5 clubs within the North Queensland Branch run a Junior Activities Program.
The Surf Life Saving Junior Activities Program has been operating in Queensland since 1968. Currently in Queensland, our junior members make up 33% (10,136) of our membership boasting the largest membership total of all membership categories.
The Junior Activities within Surf Life Saving has been designed to encourage and support our young members:
- Provide the best possible lifesaving experience for all Junior Activities members with the overarching aim being to encourage long-term active participation;
- Provide opportunities for Junior Activities members to participate in enjoyable lifesaving activities and competition in an aquatic environment by offering a wide variety of activities suited to the skill and maturity levels of all juniors;
- Ensure the juniors are safe on Australia’s beaches through the provision of beach safety education programs;
- Develop a team based philosophy encompassing leadership, camaraderie, teamwork, and fun; and
- Promote social, emotional and physical growth and development in a healthy, safe environment.
Junior Activities are coordinated to ensure our junior members have positive experiences regardless of their developmental status and is focused on FUN and LEARNING.
Junior Activities is the breeding ground for our future Surf Lifesavers, which means we need to ensure that we provide a safe and supportive environment for all Junior Activities members. A number of policies and guidelines exist to ensure all Junior Activities members participating in lifesaving activities are doing so in a fun, enjoyable and risk free environment.
Not only is Junior Activities a fun way for children to enjoy the beach in a safe environment, it also offers an educational pathway through the delivery of the SLSA Junior Development Program. This program is designed to ensure children have fun at the beach while participating in lessons that will provide them with a pathway to become a fully rounded participant in both lifesaving and sport activities. The program includes a wide range of subjects and skills relative to the aquatic environment and prepares Junior Activities members for their transition from Junior Activities to becoming a senior member and aims to promote the spirit of camaraderie and citizenship within the community.
The program focuses on participation and fun and includes activities such as surf safety, surfing, board paddling, surf swimming, negotiating/reading the surf, board rescue, beach activities, basic resuscitation and first aid. Each member progresses through a SLSA Junior Development Certificate, according to the relevant skills outlined in the criteria for the relative age groups.
The absolute minimum age for a child to join the association and partake in Junior Activities is 5 years (U6) up to a maximum of 14 years (U15) on a seasonal basis. The age for a season is determined as at midnight on the 30 September at the commencement of that season.
Surf Life Saving has something for everyone, regardless of whether you are a strong swimmer or not. Below are brief descriptions of some of the more common roles within Surf Life Saving. If any parents or siblings of your Junior Activities members are interested in any of these, pass on this information, so they know how to get involved.
The Age Manager has one of the most important jobs in Surf Life Saving. Age Managers are responsible for the caring and nurturing of our future Surf Lifesavers. The role of an Age Manager is to both develop our Junior Activities members into Surf Lifesavers and to provide a supportive environment in which they can learn and grow.
Age Managers are:
- Responsible for the care, safety, well being and development of the Junior Activities Members;
- Responsible for facilitating the development of Surf Lifesaving skills (movement skills, surf awareness, etc) and personal skills (e.g. confidence, teamwork, leadership, etc);
- A fundamental in the delivery of a learning program that encourages and develops young surf lifesavers; and
- Responsible to seek out and utilise expertise from within your Club for the delivery of programs.
The minimum age of an Age Manager is 16 years old; however it is strongly recommended that those under the age of 18 be accompanied by a mentor 18 years or over when conducting junior activities sessions. Those Age Managers of an U6 or U7 age group must be a minimum of 18 years old hold a current ‘Working with Children Blue Card’ or exemption notice and it is highly desirable that they obtain a Resuscitation Certificate as a minimum requirement and/or be encouraged to obtain other association awards i.e. SRC/Bronze. Age Managers who don’t hold a Bronze or SRC must complete an Observers Certificate
The Surf Rescue Certificate and Bronze Medallion (including the Certificate II in Public Safety) are the two entry level awards for someone who wishes to become a fully qualified patrolling lifesaver and/or water safety officer. These awards require an individual to have a reasonable swimming ability as holders of these awards may be required to rescue individuals in the sea. These awards provide a range of skills including surf awareness, rescue skills, first aid and resuscitation.
For those members who are not strong swimmers but who still want to patrol the beach, you are able to complete lifesaving awards which do not include a swimming component. Such awards include First Aid, Resuscitation and Radio awards. Members who hold these awards are still able to patrol the beach by specialising in certain areas.
If you have enjoyed teaching the children about lifesaving skills, then you may wish to consider becoming a trainer for other awards. Trainers are required to complete a Training Officer’s Certificate and they need to hold the award that they are training. For example, if you wish to train the First Aid certificate, you must hold the First Aid Certificate yourself.
Assessors are the people responsible for assessing the competency of the Surf Life Saving and Nationally Accredited awards. To become an assessor, you are required to complete an assessor’s course and you will need to hold the award that you intend to assess. Members who wish to extend their skills in assessing may wish to do a full Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA40104).
Coaches provide an important role in developing and improving the skills of members in surf sports. Coaches may choose to specialise in one discipline (e.g. beach sprinting) or choose to coach in a number of disciplines. Coaching accreditation comes in four levels (Foundation Coach, Development Coach, Performance Coach, and High Performance Coach). The Foundation coach’s accreditation is the level most suited to new coaches at club level.
Officials are those people responsible for the conduct of surf sport events. There are a range of different roles undertaken by officials including referees, starters, judges, recorders, marshals, etc across all of the surf sports disciplines. Again, Officials accreditation comes in three levels (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3). New officials will need to complete a Level 1 Officials accreditation.