First bp Leaders for Life Workshop Sets the Bar High – Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Surf Life Saving

Friday, 7 July 2023

The first bp Leaders for Life workshop has been hailed a resounding success by participants who said it was “epic” and exceeded expectations.


The workshop was part of a 10 month programme that’s designed to upskill and retain people within Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ), with the view they can lead their clubs and the Surf Life Saving movement into a sustainable and vibrant future.


This year 16 emerging leaders from SLSNZ between the ages of 20 and 35 years old were chosen.  On 25 June they gathered at Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club for the first two-day course.


Despite encountering one of the wildest weekends of weather this winter, with a state of emergency being declared in Tairāwhiti Gisborne, the participants persevered. 


Belinda Slement, SLSNZ National Education Manager, said, “Initially, the wild weather posed some challenges, but that’s precisely what this leadership programme teaches you – to overcome obstacles and bounce back.”


Over the course of two days, the team explored various aspects of leadership, including teamwork, problem-solving, and different leadership styles.  They also focused on fostering networks and relationships within and beyond Surf Life Saving, and reflected on themselves personally to identify strengths, weaknesses, and character traits. 


Guest speakers, including SLSNZ Board Chair, Paul Carlyon, shared their experiences and emphasised the importance of leadership for SLSNZ as an organisation and its 74 Surf Life Saving clubs nationwide.


Reflecting on the workshop one participant said, “Overall, I was so impressed by the first workshop.  It was a tier above any other course I’ve ever completed in surf or elsewhere.  I got so much out of it and I’m very excited for the next four.”


Another participant raved, “It was epic and honestly awesome!  I didn’t know what to expect and it exceeded my expectations.” 


Many participants said the workshop was an ideal launch pad for their bp Leaders for Life journey.  One said, “I’m feeling really inspired and am really looking forward to my own personal growth and leadership development journey.”


Slement said watching the participants as they embark on their leadership journey is incredibly inspiring.  “Seeing them embrace challenges, develop their skills and forge meaningful connections has reinforced my belief in the power of this course.  I am honoured to be part of their growth and I can’t wait to see the positive impact they will make in SLSNZ and beyond”.


Matt Elliott, bp Head of Country New Zealand, said, “It’s great to hear such positive feedback from participants after the first workshop. At bp, we believe in fostering leadership potential, and through bp Leaders for Life, we can help future leaders make a positive impact”. 


The next workshop will be held in Wellington in September.