3 May 2024

South Coast kids named NSW Junior Lifesavers of the Year

| Zoe Cartwright
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Zara Hall and Archie Weir

Moruya SLSC’s Zara Hall and Archie Weir of Kiama Downs SLSC have been named Junior Life Savers of the Year. Photo: Surf Life Saving NSW.

South Coast kids have clinched the Junior Lifesavers of the Year titles.

Archie Weir of Kiama Downs SLSC and Zara Hall of Moruya SLSC have been named the Ingenia Holiday Parks Junior Lifesavers of the Year for 2024.

Zara and Archie were two of the 22 14-year-old finalists from each of the 11 branches across NSW to attend a three-day team-building and leadership course at Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The pair represented the South Coast and Far South Coast with distinction and were thrilled to be named as winners.

“I did not expect to win and I was so surprised when I got it,” Zara said.

“I went through all the emotions; I was nervous, I was excited, but it means so much to me to represent the Far South Coast and my club, Moruya, here.”

Archie said he was ecstatic to achieve a dream of his.

“I’ve been in lifesaving since I was a little Nipper and it means so much to come here to this camp and be with like-minded people; it’s really expanding my horizons,” he said.

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Archie has several years of club experience, and the panel noticed his desire to constantly improve his skills and his understanding of the important role lifesavers play on our coastline.

“It was important to me that I showed that I have leadership qualities and the different ways that we can show compassion to the community through lifesaving,” he said.

“Lifesavers are that sense of safety for the community and by being a lifesaver, I also get a really strong sense of belonging.”

Zara’s club described her as an enthusiastic and motivated lifesaver.

In addition to attending to her club duties she is part of the Same Wave program for all-inclusive lifesaving and passes on her knowledge to younger members.

Judges noted she places a strong value on education, hoping to establish a program at her club that raises an awareness of the beach to those visiting from inland.

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“It makes me so happy to represent Moruya when I think about the things the club is a part of, like the Same Wave program,” Zara said.

“I love just being at the ocean, around the club; I love competing; I love patrolling; I love everything about Surf Life Saving.”

Matt Young, Executive General Manager of Tourism for Ingenia Holiday Parks, said being involved in a program now in its 34th year gave them great pride.

“We have a responsibility to ensure the guests who come and stay with us go home happy and having had a safe trip, and part of that is working with Surf Life Saving NSW and helping to grow the new generation of lifesavers,” he said.

“I come here at the end of the event really excited to speak to everyone who has participated. They’re all enthusiastic, and it’s great to see this generation coming through so focused on giving back to the community.”

The Illawarra and South Coast boasted six finalists this year, including Archie and Zara.

The region’s other finalists were Audrey Steffan from Scarborough Wombarra SLSC, William Papandreas from Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC, Poppy Nelson from Kiama SLSC and Maxim Savchencko-Ray from Bermagui SLSC – leaving no doubt the future of Surf Life Saving in the region is bright.

Original Article published by Zoe Cartwright on Region Illawarra.

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