The 2018-2019 season saw the Youth Engagement Program (YEP) introduced to the Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club, the first club on the Mid North Coast to adopt this nationally recognized program.
The key aim of adopting the YEP program is to keep our U/15s and U/17s engaged and involved within the surf lifesaving movement. It was recognised there was no clear pathway between nippers and becoming active and patrolling members, with newly identified cadets left “floundering” within the club. These cadets are the future volunteers and leaders within our club.
YEP brings about a structured engagement program with tangible outcomes and clear pathways for the cadet age group within the areas of lifesaving, development and surf sports.
The program incorporates all three listed areas with the focus being that each cadet is an individual and has individual interests and varying levels of involvement – ensuring each cadet feels valued, included and engaged.
From small beginnings with only a handful of cadets actively engaged at the start of its inaugural season, the program, by the end of the season, had 31 engaged youth with the majority of those having attained their Bronze Medallion and the remainder ready to obtain their Bronze Medallion in the new season.
Although the primary goal of YEP is to retain the cadets as an integral part of the patrol, the grass roots focus is the creation of friendships, unity, trust, support and belonging so the cadet naturally wants to stay involved.
Numerous activities have been supported by the club and facilitated within the cadet program’s first year including:
- an increase in the number of young people with Surf Rescue Certificate obtaining their Bronze Medallion at their first opportunity;
- social get-togethers and events including the first Christmas Party being held at Paintball, and an end of season camping trip;
- competition – club, branch, interbranch, country and state championships;
- raising nearly $1000 for the club;
- general involvement by volunteering in the club and the community including the Sovereign Hills Open Day in February 2019 which was attended in the vast majority by cadets;
- providing water safety for the Port Macquarie Ironman event;
- hosting a “Welcome” breakfast for next season’s cadets with bacon and egg rolls with the most important aspect being the natural melding of the two groups.
The cadets successfully fundraised nearly $1000 for Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club with the cadets themselves organizing, running and delivering each fundraising event. Multiple fundraising activities were used to raise these funds including a “Welcome Back To Nippers” BBQ event on the first Sunday of the nipper season, plus a number of other breakfast BBQs and “100” clubs.
Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club was represented at all levels of competition including club, branch, country and state championships with more cadets than we have ever had attend in the past. Things are looking bright for the upcoming season with the cadets themselves already identifying multiple team events they would like to train for, some of which Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club has not traditionally competed in.
Our cadets have also volunteered over 1150 patrol hours and over 210 general volunteer hours to the club in the 2018-2019 season.
Things are looking bright with our current and upcoming cadets being a group to watch out for.
Additional information is available by following the link https://www.surflifesaving.com.au/sites/site.test/files/YEP%20Participant%20Handbook.pdf including how the program is rewarded