Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club’s Jen Swan aims to inspire the community as she vies for Surf Woman of the Year.
Moving to the Bundaberg Region from the Kimberley in Western Australia was like chalk and cheese for the 42-year-old, who had never taken to a board before.
But Jen didn’t think twice as she gave it everything she had and committed to joining Bundaberg Surf Life Saving in 2016. She quickly became patrol captain for her patrol team.
Now with the assistance of Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club secretary Amanda Findlay, Jen hopes to inspire both young and old, while promoting surf safety, fundraising, and the important role of Surf Life Saving in the wider community.
Jen will implement Silver Salties program
In Jen’s Surf Woman of the Year role she will implement Surf Life Saving Australia’s Silver Salties program at the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club, which she says is basically “nippers for the over-65s”.
“It’s not just for club members, any senior member in the community over 65 can come along to the 10-week program,” she said.
“Anyone can be a life saver. I was 38 when I started and I had never been on one of those big boards, but I just practised and practised, and now I love it.
“Age is just a number, I feel better now than I did at 20.
“Taking part in Surf Woman of the Year for me is about raising awareness in the community about surf life saving, I get a bit excited about it all and I can talk and talk about it.
“I’ve actually just been made redundant but I now have extra time to focus on this.
“As my mum says everything is always serendipitous, and although I’m not working anymore I can put more in to this – and I am so excited.”
Jen admits her skills in the water are no match for some of the entrants, but she hopes to motivate and inspire individuals with her passion and leadership.
As patrol captain for a larger patrol team made up mostly of females, Jen said organisation was key to keeping the beaches safe.
“I have two girls who are also patrolling members, I became the patrol captain because I enjoy doing it, as they say it is girl power and we are a well-oiled machine,” she said.
“I like it to be that everyone knows what they should be doing and that they are enjoying it.”
Surf Life Saving Queensland’s flagship Surf Girl program has been rebranded, modernised and refreshed in 2020.
The program will continue to recognise the most outstanding women in Surf Life Saving under the new brand, Surf Woman of the Year.
The Bundaberg community can expect to see Jen in her Surf Woman of the Year role as events start to kick off in the next month, and will continue through until May next year.
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