Beach fun for for Talent Pool teens

23 December 2021

Royal Life Saving Lifeguards on duty at the beach carnivalAround 80 local high school students have taken part in an end of year beach fun day, as part of a partnership between the WA Police, Royal Life Saving WA, Maar Koodjal and three local schools. The event rounded out a term of vital swimming and water safety education for the Aboriginal students.

It comes as part of the On Country Healing program, funded by the Department of Justice’s Criminal Property Confiscation grants, that aims to provide young Western Australians who have been in contact with, or are at risk of engagement with, the Justice system, with an opportunity to build positive cultural identity along with valuable aquatic industry skills, experience and qualifications.

The program combines Royal Life Saving WA’s Talent Pool, which seeks to use the local swimming pool to engage, equip and employ young people with the skills needed to obtain employment within the aquatic industry, with Maar Koodjal’s cultural education which teaches Aboriginal youth traditional practices such as dance and art, tool making, family structures and storytelling.

A young girl holding an orange lifesaving manikin

On Thursday the 16th December, Aboriginal youth from Clarkson Community High School, Belridge Secondary College and Greenwood College got together at the Hillarys Boat Harbour to take part in a day of fun, which also enabled them to showcase the aquatic skills they’ve learnt through Royal Life Saving WA’s Bronze Medallion course this term. Australia’s and WA’s world famous and recently retired boxing legend Danny Green opened the day with an encouraging, warm welcome for the 80 participants.

With support from the North Metropolitan Police, Royal Life Saving WA’s Talent Pool staff, Maar Koodjal and the school staff, the day saw young people from grades 7-10 take part in water-based lifejacket relays, run swim run events, manikin tows, swim relays and body board relays, along with a range of on land activities including beach volleyball, beach flag races, giant soccer, beach netball and ultimate frisbee. The teenagers also had an opportunity to take a run through the inflatables of the Hillarys Island Aqua Park.

Royal Life Saving WA Talent Pool Project Manager Cameron Eglington says the day was a great success. “The inflatable fun park provided a wonderful and challenging experience on the water, whilst the beach carnival of sport and lifesaving activities was undertaken with great enthusiasm by the students. The end of school term event was such a fun day with Police Probationary Constables, teachers, Maar Koodjal leaders and families having a great time together.”

Clarkson High School Chaplain Scott Currie with three students

Clarkson Community High School Chaplain Scott Currie has thoroughly enjoyed taking his students through the Talent Pool program this term and says it’s made a real difference. “At the start of the course, the kids just wanted to get out of school. They didn’t understand the opportunity that was in front of them. As they came to each session, they started to see that the skills and knowledge that they were learning could really make a difference in their lives. They were enjoying the course and started to believe that they could help their friends or family in an emergency or use this as a pathway to employment in the future. It’s been so great to see these young people engage and develop purpose in what they are doing, and what they could do in the future.”

He believes Thursday’s carnival was a fantastic way to celebrate the kids achievements. “It was a great opportunity to see how many other young people have benefitted from this course. Royal Life Saving and Maar Koodjal have made a significant difference in helping the students believe in themselves and equip them with practical skills that will help them in life.” As an added bonus six of the Clarkson students completed the practical test component of their Bronze Medallion course on the day, receiving their Bronnze Medallion qualification!

You can find out more about our Talent pool program at the link below.

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