New recruits enable Broome kids to enjoy Swim for Fruit

23 February 2022

Broome PCYC staff learning their Bronze Medallion rescue skills in the poolShortages of qualified aquatic staff in regional and remote areas of WA can sometimes mean children in these areas miss out on learning vital water safety skills and taking part in aquatic recreation activities. Royal Life Saving WA is working with communities to address these issues and provide opportunities for local people to complete aquatic training.

Last year our popular Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit program, supported by Healthway, did not run in Broome due to a lack of staff. Swim for Fruit is an after school and weekend lap swimming program in regional and remote Aboriginal communities, designed to address the fact that Aboriginal Australians have higher disease and death rates, and also are 3.6 times more likely to drown than non-Aboriginal Australians. Swim for Fruit provides swimming and water safety education and encourages healthy eating, with children who complete a set number of laps or other aquatic challenges rewarded with an afternoon tea of fresh fruit and healthy treats.

When we heard that Broome children had missed out last year, Royal Life Saving WA arranged for a Bronze Medallion course to be held at the Broome Aquatic and Recreation Centre (BRAC) to give locals the opportunity to learn the skills they need to facilitate the Swim for Fruit program.

This course, run by Mark Hubbard from the BRAC, saw four youth workers from the Broome Police and Community Youth Centre (PCYC) obtain their Bronze Medallion qualification. The course was made possible thanks to funding from Healthway.

These newly qualified staff wasted no time in getting the local children back into the water, with a Swim for Fruit program held at the BRAC over three sessions in late January. More than 70 children took part in these sessions and had a whole lot of fun! We look forward to seeing Swim for Fruit become a regular feature on the local calendar, giving children a chance to learn and practice vital swimming and water safety skills.