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Junior Development

Rewarding Commitment

The Junior Development Program is designed to gradually introduce a child to the role of a qualified Surf Life Saver and assist in patrolling the beaches.

Participants will undertake various other awards and learn many facets of community service involvement.

They can continue their education and specialise in particular areas of interest which might involve anything from advanced first aid to operation of rescue water craft to personal leadership courses.

They can also continue to be involved in a variety of competition events if desired. They can be taught specialist areas of competition and compete both at a state and a national level.

Pictured here are the North Coast Branch Junior Life Savers of the Year 2020-21, Ava Wilson of Woolgoolga SLSC and Oliver Rodgers of Urunga SLSC.

Junior Camps

Each year, the North Coast Branch holds a Junior Development Camp to assist in the on-going development of our Nippers into Junior Life Savers. The program is an initiative aimed at the U13 and U14 age group to aid in the development of leadership and teamwork skills.


It is held over the course of a weekend at a specially equipped venue on the Coffs Coast. Nippers from the eight Clubs get to know each other and join together in a range of fun and challenging activities. These cover on-site activities such as commando course, archery, zorb ball, giant swing, canoeing and circus skills.


The weekend is supported by a range of speakers from the ranks of Surf Life Saving and beyond, who present the range of opportunities available to people in Surf Life Saving. A highlight is hearing from the winners of the previous year’s Junior Lifesaver of the Year Award to motivate and inspire participants. The talks are aimed at presenting a range of perspectives: from the individual, the wider community and Surf Life Saving at a state and national level. The program is structured to:

  • Create situations that promote fun learning experiences
  • Create an awareness of current issues, pathways and opportunities
  • Promote teamwork, communication skills and networking
  • Form new friendships with other like-minded youth within the North Coast Branch
  • Develop confidence, self-esteem and empowerment in a supportive environment whilst positively recognising members
  • Provide opportunities for ideas to be exchanged
  • To gain knowledge of the structure of Surf Life Saving
  • Have fun!

Junior Lifesaver Of The Year (JLOTY)

The Junior Lifesaver of the Year Award is a way for Clubs and the North Coast Branch to recognise and reward their U14 members’ achievements in Surf Life Saving; the contributions they have made to all levels of Surf Life Saving as well as within the community.


Each Club invites applications from their U14 members to nominate for the award. This involves a written application followed by interviews with Senior Club members. Each Club then selects an outstanding male and female representative to progress through to possible selection as the North Coast Branch Junior Lifesaver of the Year.


Here, candidates undergo a further selection process with a panel of Senior Branch Members including those from the Junior Development, Life Saving and Education Committees. This involves a number of parts including a theory test, signals test, a scenario test and an interview.

The criteria for selection is based on the nominee’s achievement in the following areas:

  • Contribution to Surf Life Saving
  • Demonstration of leadership roles in club activities
  • Contribution made to the club
  • Awards received in Surf Life Saving and the community
  • Involvement in community events outside of Surf Life Saving
  • Awareness of club events and current affairs
  • Initiative applied to cub and community activities
  • Promotion of Surf Life Saving to the community
  • Attendance record at club activities
  • Encouragement of new members
  • Demonstration of surf life saving knowledge and skills
  • Have fun!

The North Coast Branch Junior Life Saver of the Year winners (one male and one female) are announced at the North Coast Junior Branch Championships. They are then sponsored to attend a Development Camp at Surf Life Saving’s Collaroy Learning Centre on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The camp brings together the finalists from all 11 Branches across NSW.


The Development Camp aims to further advance members by creating an awareness of the diversity of Branch and State activities. The focus is on personal development and goal setting based on learning through experience and fun. Participants will be involved in physical challenges, presentations and discusions, activities and scenarios that require leadership, teamwork and communication. There is also a further interview process with Senior Members of  Surf Life Saving NSW to ultimately select the male and female State winner. This is the pinnacle achievement for a Nipper.


Best of all, it is an opportunity to meet young surf life savers from across New South Wales and be part of a fun experience.

What’s Next?

When Nippers graduate at the age of 14, becoming a Cadet Member is an opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge of Surf Life Saving before becoming a fully-fledged member. Once they have obtained their SRC they can participate in patrols with many joining parents and older siblings on the beach. They can also compete in surf sports and take place in leadership programs run by the state office.


The Youth Engagement Program (YEP) provides youth members with a structured program to keep them motivated and involved in Surf Life Saving. The program also offers them the opportunity to explore and become involved in a range of areas within the movement which they may not have previously considered.


Youth members earn points known as ‘surf creds’ for engaging in a wide range of activities offered by Surf Life Saving with a goal of gaining nationally recognised awards and a log of achievements and contributions. Participants need to engage in all areas of Surf Life Saving to gain an award level including Development, Surf Sports and Life Saving. The Youth Engagement Program aims to:

  • Engage and expose participants to a variety of activities and pathways available within surf life saving;
  • Increase the retention of members between 13-18 years of age – assisting the transition from the junior movement into the senior movement;
  • Encourage continuous development of youth;
  • Promote increased participation and commitment of youth;
  • Increase the recognition of members through the identification of contributions and activities of 13-18-year-old members;
  • Positively promote youth as respected members and citizens within their local community.
  • Have fun!


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