Starfish program celebrates decade of making a difference

January 27, 2021 BY

Starfish Nippers co-founders Naomi Symington and Janet Jones during the 10-year celebration of the program. Photo: SUPPLIED

ANGLESEA Surf Life Saving Club’s (ASLSC) Starfish Nippers program is turning 10 this summer.

The highly-successful initiative, which runs alongside the club’s traditional Nippers program, is for children and young adults with a disability.

Starfish Nippers co-founders Naomi Symington and Janet Jones during the 10-year celebration of the program. Photo: SUPPLIED

The program was the first of its kind to be created in Victoria and is continuing to go strong in 2020/21.

At a presentation at ASLSC’s newly-opened clubhouse earlier in the month, program coordinator Matilda Cameron described Starfish as a “special and unique program”.

“May Starfish go from strength to strength for another 10 years and beyond,” Ms Cameron told participants, family and carers of this year’s Starfish group, many of whom have participated for the past decade.

This year Starfish Nippers welcomed almost 20 participants as they hit the sand in a modified Nipper program which included traditional beach games and activities, beach running, swimming, board skills, water familiarisation and safety.

Starfish Nippers co-founder and former ASLSC president Naomi Symington said the success of the program was built on the development of strong relationships between participants, their families and carers.

Ms Symington added that the program had played a major role in creating a “truly inclusive” environment at ASLSC.

Fellow co-founder Janet Jones paid tribute to all Starfish participants and their families for trusting in the program.

The birthday celebration capped off a massive week for the club, which saw the completion of its COVIDSafe Nipper season, which boasted 437 children participate.

The club also recently held its Ladies Luncheon, with over 100 female members gather.

The event, which was sold out, was hosted by ASLSC general manager Jen McIntyre and saw a range of guest speakers including six-time Lorne Pier to Pub winner and ASLSC champion Naantali Marshall.