Swimming NSW Youth Leadership Camp

November 25, 2022  

Ella McIlwraith – Year 10 and Kai Pilkington – Year 7, have been selected to attend a leadership development camp run by Swimming NSW early next year. Rather than their swimming ability, the pair were accepted into the elite development camp from their responses to the question: “what is one thing you’d change about swimming to make it better and more engaging for teenagers?”

From Swimming NSW: 

“Swimming NSW Participation Manager, Sarah Koen, said she was so impressed with the quality of the answers, it was difficult to select just 60 to attend the camp.

“We had 112 nominations from 74 clubs, and all were fantastic. In the end we could only choose 60 participants, who will represent 45 swimming clubs.”

The list of camp participants includes members of the current Youth Advisory Panel, who will act as young leaders at the camp and present the majority of the sessions themselves.

Male and female participants are equally represented from Country areas, Metro areas and the ACT, so the benefits and flow on effect from this camp will be widespread.

Camp participants are all aged between 13 and 18 years, and will come away with a host of new leadership skills, increased confidence and importantly, new friends from across the state!

Participants will take part in a range of leadership activities such as public speaking and time management, fun outdoor group activities such as raft building, crate stacking and canoeing, and will hear presentations from other young members on relevant topics such as the New Officials Program, Swim League, Duke of Edinburgh, Take Your Marks and the Swim Confident (body image) program.

Young leaders will be tasked with planning a ‘change maker’ project to take back and implement in their own club.

“The original reason behind this camp was to engage our teenaged members in a different way and therefore retain them,” said Sarah.

“By giving teenaged swimmers a sense of purpose and responsibility within their own clubs, we hope that they will realise how important they are as role models and young leaders, and that they can make a difference towards keeping their peers in our sport.”

Some participants will also go on to be selected to be part of the SNSW Youth Advisory Panel which was first created in 2016. Currently 20 teenaged swimmers from across NSW sit on this Panel and develop strategies to keep swimmers aged 12-19 engaged in our sport.”




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