Bendigo locals love to travel and as a central Victorian city, many opt for short breaks on beaches scattered along the Great Ocean Road or head north to the Murray River region.
In partnership with Life Saving Victoria, Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre hosted the Bush Nippers Education Program to ensure its young community has the skills and knowledge when having fun in open waters.
“Bush Nippers is designed for rural communities and is a remodelling of ‘Beach Nippers’ commonly seen on the shores of Bells Beach and other popular beaches across the country,” said Aquatics Services Manager, Gayle Turner.
“The program aims to build water knowledge and skills of children and young people aged five to 14 in open water environments. Often, we’re so excited about heading out on holidays, but lack education on how to be safe around open water.
“A lot of dangers for swimmers are hidden beneath the surface, from tree branches and rips; to ice cold water and sudden changes to water depth. Each of these dangers can impact how a normally strong swimmer in a pool, is affected.”
Bush Nippers hosted 25 children and young people where participants learnt water safety skills, rescue and CPR techniques. They also joined in fun water activities such as board paddling and relays to develop teamwork skills.
“It’s a great program for children and young people of our community. You could see their confidence grow and we hope programs like this encourages future pathways to lifeguarding at our centre,” said Gayle.