Surf Live Saving is a big part of life if you’re a beach swimmer and it is our local SLS clubs that keep us safe in the ocean.
Most SLSC members start as Nippers and work their way up through the ranks gaining skills along the way, and often leaving Nippers is bitter-sweet for young life savers.
Surf Life Saving NSW has announced its 30th Junior Lifesavers of the Year awards – the winners are Mikala Campbell from Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC and Ainsley Dalton from Woolgoolga SLSC. Both have been presented with the coveted award for 2018/19.
Since it began in 1989, the Junior Lifesaver of the Year (JLOTY) award has recognised outstanding achievement and contribution by Under 14 members to their club and community.
Two nominees are put forward by each club to their Branch, with each Branch nominating two to be invited to attend the state camp.
Each candidate is interviewed by the state panel during a three day event of fun, adventure and leadership training.
Ainsley Dalton from Woolgoolga SLSC won the Male award and was honoured to represent his club.
Ainsley said he was so proud to win the award. ‘I’ve come down here from the North Coast from a small club, and I’m glad I could represent them here and bring home this award to show the other kids what you can achieve,’ he said at the ceremony.
‘I’ve been involved with my club since Under 12s. I came in as a Nipper to learn the basics of surf and get involved with the community.
‘This season I’ve completed my Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC), it’s a big step but it’s a great achievement. Being nominated to come here and be part of the JLOTY program and now to win has been a highlight for me.’
Ainsley says that seeing what he can do and the information he has been given through the program has opened his eyes to all the opportunities available.
Mikala Campbell from Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC in the Far North Coast Branch won the female award.
Mikala said winning the award means everything. ‘I wasn’t that great as a competitor but I’ve put in so much to my surf club. Winning this is so good because it represents everything that I’ve put in.’
Mikala says she has been involved since the Under 7. ‘This is my last year in the Nippers Program,’ she said. ‘It’s been a great journey and I’ve made so many friends.
‘I want to take back everything I’ve learnt at this camp to my club to inspire them about surf lifesaving as much as I’ve been inspired this week.
‘I want to stay in SLS as long as I can and initiate as many programs as I can. I’d like to see myself becoming a Patrol Captain and getting my Gold Medallion. I hope to make the organisation more inclusive and be part of the bigger picture getting the community involved.’
Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore Director of Junior Activities Kristy Collins said that Mikala is a very driven and well-liked member of their surf club.
‘Mikala’s win for our club is the best news and we’re over the moon she’s been recognised at a state level,’ she said. ‘She’s a natural leader among our Nippers community and does so well in surf lifesaving in the club and on patrol and in surf sports.
‘Mikala is an all-rounder and all the kids look up to her. She’s a true inspiration to all our Nippers giving so much back to the club in every area.
‘We’re committed to giving her support financially, motivationally and strategically for the programs she wants to initiate.
‘She completed her SRC this season and started patrolling before Christmas. She’s so driven to further her qualifications and involvement and we couldn’t be happier to open all the doors for her success.’
Both Ainsley and Mikala will be re-presented with their perpetual shields at the 2019 SLSNSW Awards Of Excellence in Sydney on Saturday 31 August.
The 2018/19 NSW JLOTY Finalists were:
•(WINNER) Mikala Campbell – Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC
•Sven Loemker – Cudgen Headland SLSC
•Lily Betland – Coffs Harbour SLSC
•(WINNER) Ainsley Dalton – Woolgoolga SLSC
•Georgia Gaddes – South West Rocks SLSC
•Tahj Thrower – Tacking Point SLSC
•Olivia Williams – Forster SLSC
•Brady Cross – Black Head SLSC
•Charlotte Dobson – Catherine Hill Bay SLSC
•Oscar Roberts – Stockton SLSC
•Ebony Rayner – Umina SLSC
•Jayden Redfern – Terrigal SLSC
•Mila McGettigan – Freshwater SLSC
•Leon Pearson – Dee Why SLSC
•Sarah Teitler – South Maroubra SLSC
•Thomas McFarland – Bondi Lifesavers
•Halle Bone – Bellambi SLSC
•Samuel Murrie – Sandon Point SLSC
•Anna Hill – Nowra Culburra SLSC
•Charlie Britten – Kiama SLSC
•Tasman McKenzie – Bermagui SLSC
•Oliver Meaker – Tathra SLSC