The Junior Development Program is used by Nippers programs at Surf Life Saving Clubs throughout Australia. The following information has been adapted from summaries about each of the junior development awards which have been published on the Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) website.
The Junior Development Program includes lessons that are tailored to each of the Nipper age groups, ensuring the content is relevant, in line with lifesaving and surf sports most up to date training standards and most of all exciting!
The program is based on participatory evaluation and not assessed on competence; this means your child must only be actively involved in each of the lessons to be eligible for the award. SLSA believes this is the best way to introduce juniors to surf life saving where fun takes priority over being ‘tested’.
Surf Play 1 & 2 (Under 6 & Under 7)
Surf Play is the program designed for the most junior members. There is no award for Surf Play – the focus is on play, participation and fun.
Activities and games will be the focus of the sessions with a number of simple beach safety and awareness lessons available such as: basic safety practices during activities, what makes up a beach environment, sunsmart guidelines, the importance of having an adult with them at the beach, what a lifesaver is and what they do, wading, beach sprinting and beach flags.
Surf Aware 1 (Under 8)
Surf Aware 1 is the first of the junior development awards. The focus is on understanding, identifying and demonstrating sunsmart guidelines and dangers that relate to themselves, as well as what it means to feel safe.
They learn to recognise whether they are, or someone else is, in an emergency situation and how to get help. Ecosurf discusses the beach environment and communities surf lifesavers operate in. Surf sports skills focus on: bodyboarding, wading, dolphin-diving, beach sprint starts and beach flags starts.
Surf Aware 2 (Under 9)
Surf Aware 2 builds on Surf Aware 1. Personal Safety Networks are introduced so participants are comfortable asking for help. Ecosurf talks about the impact surf lifesavers can have on the beach. Safety of self steps up a gear by introducing safety tips and the ability to identify hazardous surf conditions.
As an U9, participants can begin to use a nipper board, so basic board positioning and paddling is introduced. Other surf sports skills focus on; body surfing, sand running technique and diving for a beach flag.
Surf Safe 1 (Under 10)
The first of the Surf Safe awards Surf Safe 1 begins to get a little more specific in its lessons introducing a number of new topics.
Participants will identify adults at the surf clubs they can ask to help them. In Ecosurf they focus on water conservation and in sun safety the spotlight is on the consequences of skin damage.
Participants learn about rips, recognising unsafe behaviours and relating these areas to preventative actions. Resuscitation is introduced for the first time with an opportunity to experience CPR on a manikin.
Rescue techniques are also introduced for the first time as participants learn to use body boards to assist distressed swimmers and experience rescue tubes. Surf sports skills focus on; entering and negotiating the surf on a board and beach relay baton changes.
Surf Safe 2 (Under 11)
Surf Safe 2 takes a significant step up in the level of content. As U11’s they have the ability to learn more technical aspects of lifesaving and are able to be more physical in surf sports skills.
Participants are encouraged to persist when needing help and Ecosurf gets into energy conservation. There is a strong focus on recognising ‘at risk’ people and recognising and managing patients suffering from a range of basic first aid cases.
As a 10 year old participants can learn how to perform CPR and there is an opportunity to work towards a Resuscitation Certificate. There is also a strong section on communication both interpersonal and through beach signage.
There is a significant percentage of surf sports skills which focus on; board dismounts, catching waves on a board, board relay, surf swimming techniques, crouching beach sprint starts and ironman/ironwoman and cameron relay transitions.
Surf Smart 1 (Under 12)
Surf Smart 1 continues similar to Surf Safe 2. Participants begin to learn about their rights and responsibilities as a member of SLS, the Ecosurf lesson looks at how weather impacts on the beach environment. Personal health & wellbeing and sun safety is focused on skin cancer and staying fit and healthy respectively.
The role of patrols is first introduced to this award as is the managing rips and using them to assist in rescues. As an 11 year old, participants can work towards a Basic Emergency Care Certificate (as well as a Resuscitation Certificate).
This certificate comprises of lessons in the human body, complete basic first aid and resuscitation. Some more signals are introduced that compliment the first set previously learnt.
Previous board skills come into play as participants learn how to conduct a board rescue.
The focus of surf sports skills is to complete all the skills in each skill set and includes; rolling under a wave on a board, diving under large waves, beach sprint arm and leg drive and beach flags race strategies.
Surf Smart 2 (Under 13)
The last of the junior development awards, Surf Smart 2 looks to wrap up the skills and knowledge learnt in all the previous awards.
Participants learn about what the SLS Member Safety and Wellbeing Policy is, and in Ecosurf they tackle the issues of Global Warming and Climate Change and how they will impact on surf life saving.
Surf Safety is wrapped up into the 10 Surf Safety Tips, Communication focuses on the importance of communicating with beach users, Patrols identifies other professional emergency services and participants will experience performing a tube rescue.
Participants can work towards a Basic Emergency Care Certificate (as well as a Resuscitation Certificate). This certificate comprises of lessons in the human body, complete basic first aid and resuscitation.
The focus of surf sports skills is on bringing all the skills learnt in previous awards together to participate in an event for each of the disciplines: board race, board rescue, surf race, run-swim-run, beach sprint, beach relay, beach flags, ironman/ironwoman and cameron relay.
For further information, including details about learning outcomes for each stage of junior development, go to website SLSA http://sls.com.au/members/nippers, or ask your Age Manager.