Grey clouds hung above Anglesea on Friday, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the 30 participants preparing for The Huddle’s Anglesea Surf Life Saving trip.
The excitement was infectious as people of all ages from diverse cultures caught their first sight of sand and surf.
For some, this was their first experience of a surf beach so before getting into the water each participant took part in a surf safety session run by members of the Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), highlighting the importance of the surf lifesaving community.
As the participants made a splash, a special moment between a young participant and 15-year-old Anglesea SLSC member Annabelle soon caught the attention of those on the beach.
Sitting in the shallows, Annabelle was supporting Remaz, a young participant of The Huddle, with her first time at the beach.
“It was Remaz's first time in the water, so she was a bit out of her comfort zone and hadn’t quite found her feet yet, so I took her out and we had a bit of a breather,” Annabelle said.
“We had a bit of a chat and I let her know that it was okay to be a bit scared, but I reassured her that I was there to help and that she was safe in the surf.
“We ended up having a great time in the water and by the end she was laughing and playing so it was also a great confidence building moment for her.”
A favorite session in The Huddle’s school holiday program calendar, the surf trip provides exciting opportunities for youth to experience new things, but it is when we see young people supporting other young people that we truly see the impact of our programs.
“It is always a great day coming down to Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club,” The Huddle CEO, Cam McLeod said.
“Each participant gets something different out of the day whether that be learning about water safety, being at the beach for the first time or meeting new people and making new connections.
“After the year that was, the excitement from each participant when they got off the bus and saw the water for the first time was incredibly rewarding. I cannot thank the members of Anglesea SLSC enough for enabling this day to happen, teaching our young participants to feel confident in the water.
The volunteers and young lifesaver go above and beyond each year to make our visit special and to make us feel like we belong to their community.”
The Huddle thanks the Department of Education and Training for their continued support of the School Holiday programs, empowering people across all ages and from diverse backgrounds to learn, grow and belong.