Bush boys get surf bronze

Posted 13th May 2015

The Armidale School may be 200km inland, but 20 Year 11 boys were presented with surf bronze medallions this morning (12 May), recognizing their completion of a year-long Activities program.

Surf life saving commenced at TAS in 1967, as the service component for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme introduced at the school earlier that year. After some years based at Nambucca and then Yamba, for the past several years the program has been in partnership with the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club.

The challenge of it is one reason why it is so popular for our boys, most of whom are from rural or regional areas; they’re swimming in open water, there’s a fear of sharks, they can’t stand on the bottom,” Surf Life coordinator Mr Jim Pennington said.

“Not only does it give boys an opportunity to gain an understanding of the ocean, but also to learn new skills and appreciate and develop a sense of service.”

In order to attain their surf bronze medallion, the boys learn rescue techniques, complete a fitness test and be competent in resuscitation and defibrillation techniques. They hit the beach on several days in Terms 1 and 3 each year and spend the winter months preparing for the theoretical component of the course and revising in the TAS indoor pool.

Mr Pennington said the course would not be possible without the great support of Sawtell SLSC, particularly club stalwart Dennis Meagher, who visited the school to present the boys with their surf bronze medallions at a school assembly.

As part of the association, the boys have helped with small maintenance projects to the clubhouse, and last year donated a new life members’ honour board.