Young Brunswick Heads lifesaver Brianna Clarkson has been crowned the 2014-15 NSW Female Junior Lifesaver of the Year after impressing at a testing four-day selection camp in Sydney’s northern beaches last week.
Brianna, a member of the Brunswick Heads Surf Life Saving Club, had recently been selected by Surf Life Saving NSW’s far north coast branch as a regional finalist in her under-14 age group to become a contender for the prestigious award.
She, like other club members in contention for the award, were selected on the strength of their leadership potential and commitment to surf life saving throughout their time in juniors.
Brianna and the 21 other finalists (which included the eventual winner of the junior male award Reed van Huisstede, from Cooks Hill in Newcastle) attended the camp last week where they were exposed to a variety of fun leadership activities.
They also were shown the various opportunities surf life saving offered and faced an interview panel made up of senior lifesavers who helped in determining overall winners.
Brianna said after the camp wound up on Friday she was ‘extremely happy to win this award but also shocked more than anything’.
‘There are so many amazingly talented junior lifesavers here and any one of those would have been a deserving winner, I’ve had a wonderful time at camp meeting all sorts of new people, and it’s just been a wonderful experience.’
A Surf Life Saving NSW spokesperson said that as part of the program, the two finalists from every branch worked together on developing a project of interest about an issue that concerned them within surf life saving in their community, and would soon deliver that presentation to senior leaders.
Brianna said she and her Brunswick Heads club-mate Oliver Harnell had been ‘working on a way for new immigrants to the community to be taught the dangers of the beach in a fun, but effective manner’.
‘I definitely want to stay involved in the movement and my ambition is to do my coaching certificate and become an age manager. I would also love to do my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medallion and just get as qualified as I possibly can,’ she said.
Brianna and other award winners will be honoured as part of the organisation’s 2014-15 Awards of Excellence to be held in Sydney in August.
The 2014-15 SLSNSW Junior Lifesaver of the Year branch finalists were:
Brianna Clarkson (Brunswick Heads SLSC) Far North Coast, Oliver Harnell (Brunswick Heads SLSC) Far North Coast, Patrick Steward (Bellinger Valley North Beach SLSC) North Coast, Kiahni Huthnance (Woolgoolga SLSC) North Coast, Ella-Jayne Wehlow (Port Macquarie SLSC) Mid North Coast, Hugh Stewart (Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC) Mid North Coast, Alexander Fiebig (Cape Hawke SLSC) Lower North Coast, Karla Berg (Forster SLSC) Lower North Coast, Abby Clifford (Cooks Hill SLSC) Hunter, Reed Van Huisstede (Cooks Hill SLSC) Hunter, Matthew Douglass (MacMasters Beach SLSC) Central Coast, Bronte Smith (Umina Beach SLSC) Central Coast, Cameron Gaw (Collaroy SLSC) Sydney Northern Beaches, Sam Le Geyt (South Curl Curl SLSC) Sydney Northern Beaches, Emily Maythers (North Cronulla SLSC) Sydney, Jed Buckley (Wanda SLSC) Sydney, Michael Usher (Woonona SLSC) Illawarra, April Hockey (Windang SLSC) Illawarra, Brooke Cavanagh (Warilla SLSC) South Coast, Liam Farrer (Shellharbour SLSC) South Coast, Elka Pike (Moruya SLSC) Far South Coast, Eyrl Boulton (Tathra SLSC) Far South Coast.