Swimming NSW’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) held their inaugural Youth Leadership Camp at the end of October, with 49 teenage swimmers attending from 30 different clubs across NSW.
It was a fantastic weekend, with participants taking part in fun team building activities and learning swimming specific leadership skills through Optus Junior Dolphin coaching; a public speaking workshop, Technical Official training and club event management and planning.
They were a credit to their home clubs and we look forward to having some of them join the Youth Advisory Panel as it expands to include swimmers from each Area.
Congratulations must go to the current YAP team members who planned and delivered all the camp leadership sessions themselves. The future of our sport is looking bright!
Future ideas to retain other teenagers in swimming include a Saturday evening summer Twilight Race Party for teenagers (50m races, relays, novelty events and a BYO Pool toy pool party afterwards!). There are also plans to host 4 more Leadership Camps in regional areas in 2018 to enthuse, empower and upskill more teenage swimmers.
To stay up to date with their progress, please follow them on Facebook.
Lane Ropes to Leadership Youth Camp Report by Madeline Franjic (aged 16, Blacktown City Swimming Club).
First of all, I’d like to start off by thanking the club for the opportunity given to me on the weekend and allowing me to discover a new side to the sport of swimming. On the weekend, 28th and 29th of October, I attended the Lane Ropes to Leadership conference held at Vision Valley, Arcadia, by the Swimming NSW Youth Advisory Panel.
On this camp I had the opportunity to participate in many different aspects of swimming that I had previously never experienced. Over the weekend the group encompassing a range of swimmer’s state wide participated in many team building and other activities under the preface of learning about the sport in which we are a part of.
The weekend enlightened us on the Optus Junior Dolphins Coaching program and the importance of facilitating a love for swimming that would allow k ids to remain in the sport. We learned about different games and activities that could be held at the beginning of club nights or the end of training sessions to inspire fun and skill into a social and learning environment as well as how to run and host these events to benefit the Junior Dolphins in our club. The session also included the importance of fun, through games or competitions, within a session to keep interest whether this be at junior level or national level.
This weekend also provided training on how to become a technical official in the areas of timekeeper and Chief timekeeper as well as Marshall and Check Starter. This course enlightened me personally, on how to give back to the sport as well as become further integrated into the wider swimming community. The presentation by one of the fellow swimmers at the camp and their experience becoming an official as well as another story by a referee attending the camp provided a beneficial new perspective into the sport and one I will take away. These courses have motivated me and my desire to become a technical official.
Event managing was one of the most informative aspects of the camp, it was here that the goals of the Youth Advisory Panel came into play. The Panel members advised us on the habits of people around 12-17 years of age dropping swimming as a sport, they spoke about the importance of the social aspect to swimming and building Club connections outside of the swimming pool. Here, in club groups, we brainstormed ideas on how encourage events that escape the pressures the pool can bring and enjoying the company of those that surround us in training. Things like going to the movies, out to lunch, on a bush walk, or bowling as well as having fun events once a school term to facilitate the social aspect and fun side that needs to be encompassed in the sport.
It was within this session that we were told of the Australia Swim Initiative by swimming Australia that will be announced a t the beginning of December. This event is one that aims to promote swimming as a sport by having various pop up events like pool parties, fun days and ocean swims across the month of January. The Panel encouraged that clubs organise an event during this time to promote fun within clubs and unity of the swimmers inside and outside the community.
Overall, this event is one that was highly informative and beneficial for myself as a swimmer and I highly recommend this to anyone offered the opportunity to attend. I meet a range of people from all over the state, all linked by the sport of swimming which was a very enriching experience. At this camp Swimming NSW aimed to improve its support for swimmers and we were asked for any changes or initiatives that we wanted to be put in place that would keep swimmers in the sport. This experience is one that I will take away and hopefully I will get the chance to be able to implement the wishes of the Youth Advisory Panel in my club.