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New BP Leaders for Life structure introduced for 2017

BP Leaders for Life was created in 2012 as part of a national strategy to support a wide range of development activity for member's right across the Surf Life Saving community.  Over the past three years, around 75 candidates have taken part in group workshops, held across three weekends from June to August.

 Surf Life Saving New Zealand Member Development Manager Belinda Slement says while small changes have been made from year-to-year, after last year's programme it was clear that there were some aspects that needed review.

 "As with any programme, you constantly need to evaluate and reflect on it to ensure it is still meeting your desired outcomes. We have seen the programme constantly develop year after year with changes noted and we needed to look at the programme to ensure the content and delivery mechanism we use still meets out leadership strategy, she says.

 "We recognise that in order to develop our future leaders, we need to have a programme that is strength-based, tailored, provides ongoing leadership support and develops good adult learning principles." 

As part of the review, Surf Life Saving New Zealand has evaluated feedback from past courses and held meetings with previous BP Leaders for Life candidates, programme facilitators and key Surf Life Saving New Zealand staff.  As an outcome of the review, Surf Life Saving will undertake a new format for the 2017-18 season. A total of 15 candidates will be selected and the selection process will involve regions identifying key leaders and the short listed candidates will then have a face-to-face interview.

 Mrs Slement says each successful candidate will be assigned a leadership mentor, who will be someone within their region that can guide and mentor them as a leaders.

"It will be someone who demonstrates strong leadership skills and can act as a sounding board to bounce ideas off," she says.

Group projects, which were formerly developed over three weekend workshops, will now be worked on for a full year (June to July) with a list of project topics provided for candidates to select from.

Mrs Slement says it is hoped that the new structure will allow candidates more time to bond as a group, become more capable leaders at all levels and build a more sustainable organisation for the future.  

"BP Leaders for Life is a fantastic programme on offer to our members. We hope that ongoing reviews like this, to make sure it remains relevant and desirable, will help us to build great leaders well into the future."

 Part of surf Life Saving's partnership with Zespri sees a number of scholarships available for the BP Leaders for Life programme to cover the user-pays component of the course cost for Eastern Region candidates and this will be offered again this year.