A new wave of members are joining the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club.
Younger people in their twenties and thirties are making it clear that they are quickly changing the face of the historical surf lifesaving club.
Some of them have lived in the area their entire life, while others have just moved to the area or returning to the home of their childhood with their young families.
Georgie Smith moved to Yamba at the beginning of the pandemic last year, in hopes of escaping the worst of it in the big smoke of Sydney. Soon, after making herself at home in the town, she stumbled across Yamba SLSC.
“I met a few girls around town, and they said they were doing it, so I joined the club and started patrolling with them,” she says.
Ms Smith believes that she is one of several younger people who have recently joined the club in the past 12 months, with the percentage of younger members slowly beginning to challenge the strong membership of the over fifties.
Steve Butler, the publicity officer for the club says he has seen enormous changes in regard to the younger generations joining up.
“We’ve had an influx of younger people; young people with families have come in, so I think we have around 100 Nippers this year doing the Nipper program, so that’s a whole lot of parents. We have parents with young kids and by their nature, tend to be younger than the Yamba average,” Mr Butler says.
The quest for younger members remains one which is not only about balancing the scales, but also has a lot to do with filling the patrol spots for the beaches around the area.
Mitch Imeson, the Supervisor for lifeguards in Yamba was in desperate need of new and upcoming guards to patrol Yamba’s beaches, so he reached out to the younger generations.
“I approached a few young kids in the area, and we started training together as we do each year, kind of in July. From that, I think people have either seen it or heard a few people talking about it and asked if they can join in and then it kind of turned into a bit of a mix of guard training and people that wanted to train, who then joined the surf club through it,” Mr Imeson says.
Many in the club believe that this was always going to happen, it was just a matter of time, with the club offering so much to a variety of people around town and the region.
“It’s a really friendly place, lots of people round here really make you welcome. The great thing about a surf club is that it serves a community, you feel at one with the community, you’re doing something that’s good,” publicity officer Steve Butler notes.
Many at the surf club believe that the numbers of young people will only continue to grow, with Yamba and surrounds attracting an ever-increasing number of families and young people looking for work and a quiet, but exciting life in the regions.