Working together: Partnerships strengthen the work of SYC

In the early 2000’s we partnered with West Beach Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) to offer young people the opportunity to train as surf lifesavers in the Bronzed Up program. It gave the participants real life experience, a sense of purpose and a chance to develop new skills and improved behaviours.

The program was targeted at young people aged 15-19 who had been in contact with the youth justice system. Over a 10 week period, participants were taught surf lifesaving skills, first aid and resuscitation techniques. Some also worked their way towards a Bronze Medallion and had the opportunity to become members of the West Beach SLSC.

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One participant from 2009, Michelle, said the skills and certifications she gained through the program helped her out of a bad situation and opened up options for her future.

“I was having some issues around my accommodation and was between houses. I really needed some help getting a job or into some training.

“The extra qualifications and confidence I got from the program helped me secure a place in an aged care training course and opened up opportunities,” she said.

Program Coordinator, Jemma Taylor said the engagement with the community was a very important factor, with participants gaining an appreciation of the valuable role played by lifesavers.

“It’s been great for increasing their confidence and self-esteem and they’ve also been gaining skills in team-work, communication and life-saving.

“Compared to the paths they used to be on, you can tell they’ve made good progress,” she said.

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Bronzed Up ran successfully for a number of years and gave many participants the opportunity to be actively and positively involved in their community. A report from 2007 said 18 of the 19 young people who started the Bronzed Up program that year had ceased their offending behaviour altogether after the program. It also set them up for further training and employment, with some even continuing on with the West Beach SLSC after the program finished.