Achieving on & off the sporting field

Wet and Wild

Deadly Vibe Issue 110 April 2006

Waves of excitement ” when the outback meets the ocean.

A group of kids from the Aboriginal community of Brewarrina enjoyed a weekend to remember recently, when they travelled to Sydney’s northern beaches for a special trip organised by the South Narrabeen Surf Life Saving Club (SNSLSC) and the Variety Club of NSW.

Twenty-nine children, accompanied by community leaders Joyce and Les Doole and Sandra Murphy, took the 800 kilometre trip from Brewarrina in northern NSW to South Narrabeen in a mini bus donated by Variety the Children’s Charity to the Brewarrina community.

“Most of the kids had never seen the ocean before,” says Jack Cannons, national Deputy Chairman of Variety NSW. “They had their first swim on the evening they arrived. The smiles on their faces as they ran down to the surf were priceless.”

Jack, together with SNSLSC life member Peter Clarke, came up with the idea for the trip. Together with other club members and a host of sponsors, they arranged accommodation, food, outings, gift packs and a surf carnival.

“The sponsors were amazingly generous,” Peter says. “They provided everything from food and outings to presents. It was an unbelievable response ” everybody chucked in.”

The weekend was one of non-stop action, as the group were taken on a whirlwind tour of Sydney, including surfing lessons, a harbour cruise and trips to the Sydney Fish Markets and Manly Ocean World. The group also met with Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop and competed in a surf carnival, in which they got to show off their newly learned skills.

“The natural athletic and sporting ability of many of the kids was outstanding,” Jack says. “When it came time for them to leave on Sunday afternoon, it was hard to get them out of the water.”

The club hopes to make the weekend trip an annual event.

“The kids were a fantastic, well-mannered group of young Australians who experienced many new and exciting things over the weekend,” Jack says. “They wanted to learn about life outside Brewarrina and they asked so many questions.”

SNSLSC members donated their time and energy to running the weekend, and Jack says that they all felt it was an extremely worthwhile experience.

“The smiles and thank-yous from the kids were the greatest reward we could receive.”

(story 1/4/2006 end)

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