The Nippers Development programme was first discussed during 2000/2001 when it was felt that the club needed to respond proactively to the transformation challenges facing both Nippers in particular and the club in general. It was acknowledged that while Fish Hoek beach increasingly attracts a broad and diverse range of communities to its facilities every year, the club has been slow in responding to these changes. For the club to maintain an ongoing connection and relevance to all the communities it serves within its surrounds (Fish Hoek, Masiphumelele, Ocean View, etc) the club would need to transform into one which draws on and reflects this diversity of community. Moreover, it was also acknowledged that there is a moral imperative within the club to provide development opportunities to youth who otherwise would not be in a position to share in the enjoyment of Nippers. This is the best tradition of surf lifesaving's ethos of public service mutual support and teamwork.
At the Nipper AGM of 2001 it was agreed that the club establish a development portfolio with the aim of driving the development programme. To date, we have made modest but steady progress. Approximately 10 youngsters from Ocean View and Masiphumelele have joined our swimming training programme since late 2001. Early in 2002, three of the trainees qualified in their swim and later in the year are prepared for the exam. Other trainees are progressing well and we are aiming for a 50% qualification rate by the commencement of the Nipper later seasons. A number of factors appear to have had a bearing on the success and efficiency of the programme and need continued effort and attention.
- We should attempt to introduce younger trainess (8 - 10 year olds) to the programme. As far as possible we should aim for equal representation of boys and girls.
- Swimming training should be maintained through winter for building competence and continuity. Trainees will join the winter Nipper programme on the beach so as to facilitate the integration into the club's activities. We need to establish the "buddy-system" which draws on the strength and experience of talented Nippers in developing the skills and competence of trainees.
- Given the time and resources that the club invests in the programme, we require from all the recruits a clear and reciprocal commintment to the programme and its success. This discipline we demand of all Nippers regardless of development concerns.
- To run a successful development programme for Nippers we require funds. Nippers by its nature is an expensive sport - anuual membership fees. Nipper gear and national championships are all costed in. In addition to these costs, the development programme must fund the training programme for trainees, including transport and trainer fees. We have received some funding in recent months and are pursuing other funding options. Any funding ideas or donations from club members would be greatly appreciated.
- We are also appealing to all members to keep the development programme in mind as regarding gear for which members no longer have any use, including boards, second skins, old wetsuits and the like.