It has been a week to remember for junior lifesavers Brianna Clarkson (Brunswick), and Reed van Huisstede (Cooks Hill). The duo has been crowned the 2014/15 Female and Male Junior Lifesaver of The Year after impressing at a camp at Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Each season, the eleven branches select a male and female finalist from the U14 Age Group to become a contender for the prestigious NSW Junior Lifesaver of The Year award.
These young club members are selected on the strength of their leadership potential and commitment to surf life saving throughout their time in juniors.
Brianna, Reed and the 20 other finalists came together this week for a four-day camp where they were exposed to a variety of fun leadership activities, learned the opportunities available to them within surf life saving, and worked on things such as presenting and communication techniques.
While at camp they also faced an interview panel made up of senior lifesavers, which helped determine the overall winners.
“I am 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,” a delighted Brianna Clarkson said on Friday.
“I’ve had a wonderful time at camp meeting all sorts of new people, and it’s just been a wonderful experience.”
As part of the program the two finalists from every branch worked together on developing a project of interest about an issue that concerns them within surf life saving in their community, and will now deliver that presentation to senior leaders.
“Oliver (Brunswick club-mate Oliver Harnell) and I have 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,” Brianna said.
“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.”
Like his fellow winner, Reed van Huisstede was surprised when he announced as the male winner for Junior Lifesaver of The Year.
“I didn’t expect to be named male Junior Lifesaver of the Year as really it’s not about the competition it is about learning new experiences and meeting new people. This camp has been such a great experience and all the boys here have become really tight so I am grateful to win this award,” he said.
Both recipients will be honoured as part of the 2014/15 Awards of Excellence to be held in Sydney in August.
2014/15 SLSNSW Junior Lifesaver of the Year Branch Finalists
Brianna Clarkson (Brunswick SLSC) Far North Coast
Oliver Harnell (Brunswick 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
Picture: Brianna with family members. Picture by Jamie Nilsson, courtesy of SLSNSW.