Leadership skills polish-up

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Leading by example . . . Surf life-savers Charlotte Becconsall-Ryan (left) and Jody Mowat (both 21) have been selected in the leadership development programme Leaders for Life. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Two surf life-savers are hoping to improve their skills so they can help others.

Warrington Surf Life Saving Club chairwoman Charlotte Becconsall-Ryan and St Kilda Surf Life Saving Club women’s club captain Jody Mowat have been picked in the national Leaders for Life programme.

The programme aims to upskill and retain people within Surf Life Saving New Zealand, with the view that they can lead their clubs and the surf life-saving movement into a sustainable and vibrant future.

Becconsall-Ryan and Mowat are two of the 15 people selected.

They will attend five workshops throughout the year – the first will be held in Mt Maunganui next month.

Becconsall-Ryan and Mowat were looking forward to learning new skills which they could then pass on to their fellow club members.

“If we can develop our skills then we can help others develop,” Mowat said.

They have recently both taken on more leadership roles within their respected clubs, and Becconsall-Ryan felt she had more to give by upskilling.

“It’s really cool that they [Surf Life Saving New Zealand] have a programme that supports young leaders to improve their skills,” she said.

As the Warrington club chairwoman, seeing small successes encouraged her to continue learning.

While the male-female ratio was relatively even in lifeguarding, the competition side of the sport tended to be more male-dominated.

Becconsall-Ryan and Mowat hoped that being women in leadership roles in their clubs would encourage more girls to stay in the sport.

Out of the about 72 surf life-saving clubs in the country, Becconsall-Ryan was one of just 10 chairwomen.

“As you get higher up there are less and less girls,” she said.

In the long run, both women hoped to attract more people females and enjoyable.

Mowat said she wanted to keep evolving the sport.

“It’s such a fun environment.

“You meet so many people all over the country and you learn so many skills within the beach and water, and life skills.”

Becconsall-Ryan wanted to help others improve and hoped clubs could work together more.

“I think we’ve got a lot to offer each other.”

They believed the sport offered something for everyone, whether they wanted to compete or not.

It was a unique sport that “offers a voluntary service while also competing in sport and having a good time with your mates”, she said.