2019 saw the launch of TSLSC starfish program, a huge milestone for our great club. The starfish program aims to give young people with disabilities beach safety and water awareness skills. The program caters for students with numerous disabilities including Autism, Asperger’s and Down syndrome amongst others.
In 2023/24 the program continues! At Torquay Surf Life Saving Club we believe that everybody deserves the chance to enjoy the beach safely. Our tailored Starfish Nippers beach awareness program is all about having fun and learning how to be safe in and around the water.
This program is about inclusiveness and is part of our club’s passion for enabling everybody to enjoy their time at the beach.
Starfish Nippers runs as a summer program alongside Nippers, daily from Wednesday 27th December 2023 through to Thursday 4th January 2024 (we do take New Years Day off!).
The cost of the program is free for families that are already paid members of the club. If you’re not a member of the club the fee is just $350 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children to join the club and participate.
WHAT IS STARFISH NIPPERS?
Starfish Nippers is a modified and structured Nippers program for all abilities that runs alongside a club’s Age Group Nippers program and focuses on beach and water safety and awareness and promotes inclusion and diversity. It features modified Nippers beach and water activities such as games, running, beach flags, wading, swimming and boards as well as activities with the club’s Age Group Nippers. The program is run entirely by volunteers.
WHO IS IT FOR?
The program is designed for young people aged 6 years and above with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities and learning difficulties, and can be modified to suit an individual participant’s needs so everyone can be included.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The Starfish Nippers program has a profound and positive impact on everyone who gets involved. The benefits flow to not only our Starfish Nippers and their families, but also to our volunteers/trainers, our Age Group Nippers and the club overall.
Our Starfish love being involved and included in the club and the overall Nippers program. They feel a real sense of belonging and wear their Nippers gear with great pride. In many cases, Starfish have been spectators up until now, watching their siblings participate in the Age Group Nippers program. They are learning life skills from excellent role models (their trainers), increasing their beach and water safety knowledge and improving their swimming and board skills, while developing their fitness and improving their coordination. We see their confidence and skills in the water improve with every session. They love the social side of the program too and are developing confidence socially – they love encouraging each other and having fun together, interacting with their peers and Age Group Nippers and participating actively in the community.
Our parents value highly that all children in the family can participate in the club’s Nippers program. They also find networking with other families who are raising a child with a disability invaluable, and provide great support to each other with the challenges they face.
Our trainers find the experience valuable and rewarding. Not only have the youth in our club developed more understanding and skills in working with people with a disability, they have developed leadership skills and feel a great sense of making a worthwhile contribution.
Age Group Nippers
Our Age Group Nippers are learning the importance of inclusion and how to connect with people with a disability. They are acting as role models and learning skills in leadership. They find the experience valuable and rewarding.