The 2021 Junior Lifesavers of the Year from every Surf Life Saving Branch in NSW came together in Sydney this week to challenge themselves and learn new skills.
Of the 22 young participants, the overall NSW Junior Lifesaver of the Year (JLOTY) award was presented to Taylah Moffitt from Kempsey Crescent Head SLSC and Vivek Sirkari from Warriewood SLSC.
These outstanding young members were selected after panel interviews and enjoyed three days of fun, adventure and leadership training on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
SLSNSW President George Shales OAM said the selection of an overall winner this year was extremely tough, with such a high calibre field of young leaders participating in the JLOTY program.
This is the 32nd year of the award program, recognising the achievements and contributions of the state's most outstanding Under 14 members.
"Our young members are the future of our movement," he said before announcing the winners for 2021.
"We are re-imagining Surf Life Saving in NSW over the next few years and the people in this room are going to be the ones to achieve that."
Since starting Nippers in the Under 7s, Taylah has enjoyed participating and achieving her awards each year and is involved in all areas of lifesaving - patrolling, competing and gaining new education awards.
Her whole family is involved in the surf club and she sees the club as an extension of her family.
The young lifesaver has been recognised with Club Nipper of the Year, Branch Female Champion competitor and an achievement she is especially proud of, winning the Club Carnival Champion and highest point score award for the last four seasons.
Taylah says patrolling her home beach at Crescent Head is especially important and local hazards including the creek running out onto the beach on the outgoing tide, catches many holiday makers unaware and requires added vigilance from volunteers.
"I've learned a lot through SLS and with this knowledge I often help people in need, whether it's dealing with a bluebottle sting or helping someone with an oyster cut," she said.
Taylah's vision is that all young people have the opportunity to learn the skills she has.
"I would create a partnership with the Department of Education so that all students could gain formal qualifications in basic first aid and CPR at a young age," she explained.
"Whether they live on the coast or in the bush, giving young kids the skills to save lives could potentially save hundreds if not thousands of lives over a lifetime.
"It would also help young people get a job as it's a great qualification to put on their resume."
Taylah was extremely honoured to have come from a small club on the mid-north coast and to be named the female Junior Lifesaver of the Year.
"All the guys here were awesome, we had a great time meeting each other and it's been really fun. There's so much that I've learnt. I'll definitely take back to my club all the leadership skills," she said.
"I would love to eventually get my Gold Medallion and my future goal is to become a crewman or paramedic on the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter."
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