Cultural Diversity and SLSA
Diversity is not trying to fit difference into the same mould …
it’s doing things differently to get the best out of diversity.
Cultural Diversity in Surf
A Case Study
Events that Change - 1
• 40 Rescues in the morning;
• Sydney 2000 Closing Ceremony;
• Panic call –we’ve lost someone;
• Young Vietnamese man lost in a rip,
body found several days later;
• Family on the beach, beseeching his
return from the water.
• A “normal” member rode or drove past
– would they stop and speak to an
• An “Asian” member rode or drove past
– would they stop and suggest hey
should move to a safer area?
• We had a broader based membership?
Events that Change - 2
• Perth Modern School, a day at the
beach in 2001/02;
• PMS is an ILC school, for migrants and
• Marshall Walker ran the day and was
impressed by what he saw – “they can’t
swim but boy can they run!”
• “We should do something!”
How do you do it – in a SURF
• We could not know how many might be interested;
• We could not set the normal entry standards – 400m
in 9 minutes – when most could probably not swim a
• What country(ies) will they come from?
• What will they wear?
• What will they look like?
• How will our “Normal” members cope?
• Very Challenging!
• Foundation for Young Australians – newspaper ad;
• Structured application for $30,000 over 2 years;
Capturing the Perth Mod
• Contact the school;
– Lee Hammond – key supporter;
• Arrange presentation at school assembly;
– Talk with:
• Handouts with details for parents of potential
Day 1 Sunday October 2001
• Transperth Bus at Perth Modern School;
• Bus to the beach;
• Approximately 35 young students from 13 to
17 years old;
• About a dozen nationalities;
• Some had never been to the beach before;
• Many were not well prepared;
• Were we?
Day 1 – a rough day at
• Challenging for the membership;
• About 35 on the beach;
• These kids are different;
• One to one supervision essential;
• All students entered the water holding
hands with club members;
Day 1 – have you seen this at
Day 2 – Lee Hammond at the
Marshall Walker instructing
FYA Group – early 03
• Vietnam; • Iraq;
• Thailand; • Sudan;
• Taiwan; • Belgium;
• France; • China;
• Switzerland; • Burma;
• Korea; • Yugoslavia;
• Iran; • Philippines;
• Afghanistan; • Japan;
Nelson - Sudanese Runner
• Travel by bus passes – spent $,000s;
• Equipment – buoys, trailer, racks, body
• Swimming lessons in summer;
– Qualified teachers to get pool space;
– Pool hire;
• Fun nights;
• Training towards awards – first step Basic
End Year 1
• No awards;
• Few swimmers;
• Many happy with the boards;
• Few girls;
• Overall enjoyment;
• Accepted by the club, maybe not
• Very dependent on the committed few.
Cheng – Chinese Iron Man
Soroush – Iranian Paddler
Fiona - Chinese Swimmer,
Sean – English Coach
Basic Resuscitation Certificate Holders
with Local Member John Quigley
End Year 2 and Beyond
• Competent swimmers
• Basic Resuscitation awards
• Bronze and SRC Training
• Eventually 7 BM
• Club competitors
• Congratulations to Kim,
James, Nikola, Thibault,
Lionel, Jad – all great BM
• Cheng lost this year, too far
• Kim and Nikola
It can be done but needs
consistent effort and
Other Case Studies
• Ocean Grove SLSC
• Sandridge LSC
But what about a National approach?
a. Develop club environments that are a. Clubs articulate and demonstrate a
sensitive, and adaptable, to culturally diverse welcoming environment for range of culturally
community needs diverse Australians
b. Establish a positive SLS profile within b. Surf Life Saving is recognized as a valued
culturally diverse communities experience and organization within culturally
Expansion of SLSA c. SLSA to gain an understanding of the
volunteer base to reflect the c. SLSA has developed and delivered a range
needs of a diversity of cultural communities in
cultural diversity existing of training programs to enhance an
relation to their involvement in SLS.
within the Australian understanding of the needs of a diversity of
community cultural communities in relation to their
involvement in SLS.
d. Create politically acceptable approaches to d. SLSA meets milestones established in the
cultural diversity within SLSA contract with DIMA
e. Train surf lifesavers from culturally diverse e. 200 surf lifesavers from culturally diverse
backgrounds backgrounds have been trained in Sydney
clubs between 2006 and 2008
Beach access / location
What ILS organizations exist in countries of origin? skills
What confidence skilling could be necessary?
How do communities volunteer?
AMF Volunteer COMMUNITIES
What are the youth issues with each particular
How does SLSA access communities?
Schools Community What are the cultural issues that could
Centres impact on SLS involvement?
Events Dress Diet
Organizational alliances Prayer
Facilities Practices Club
State grants Local grants
Australian Multicultural Foundation DIMA
Australian Council of Multiculturalism
Case studies from Scarboro, Ocean
Job and Person Specifications for
development officers Management Group