We held our AGM and annual video night last Friday night. Many thanks to our committee for their incredible support and energy for the last 12 months. Covid has made it a crazy year, with many plans put to the side, most events changed, delayed or cancelled, and our activities needing to be adjusted to accommodate. We'd like to welcome our three new committee members, as we dive back into a more 'normal' year ahead of us. Always plenty of advocacy work to do within SLS regardless of the activities we hold.
But the highlight of the night was clearly getting to watch the video of the season that our fantastic videographer, Mike Fitzhardinge has put together. This is his 10th year and they get better and better. So kick off your shoes, get a drink and popcorn and settle in to watch the video here.
And as we now dive into our new year, we again want to encourage you to take out membership for just $20 which supports us in our advocacy work with SLS, and provides you with priority access and discounts to our events, such as the Mardi Gras parade, which has filled up in 24 hours for the last 4 years in a row.
With the crazy summer out of the way, patrols on the home straight, rehearsals and parade behind us, our mailouts are on the walls at our clubs, latest photoshoot is polished off and our outreach patrol is tucked away, it's now time to turn ourselves to our annual season ending video night. Mike has been busy editing and reviewing the footage and we look forward to his magic coming together. So save Friday 09 April, where we will gather at the Newtown Hotel from 7pm for our video night in their dedicated movie room, then we'll head downstairs for some well earned drinks to laugh the night away.
Members of Lifesavers with Pride gathered down in the Royal National Park on Sunday 14 March to help support Garie SLSC, helping them patrol their beach for the day. Alas, the weather was far less impressive than the previous weekend and we spent most of the time with a closed beach on surveillance, and watching from the clubhouse. But it was good nonetheless to gather as a group down at the beach, and not away from the coast at one of our other events. Fingers crossed that we are third time lucky with our weather next year.
After a year of Covid-19 doubts, Lifesavers with Pride finally took part in the long awaited, and highly unusual 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday night. Capped to 40 members, we filled all our spots very fast, limited only to NSW clubs due to potential border closures. Participants from as far as Terrigal and Fairy Meadow joined members for Sydney based clubs from Garie to Manly, for an amazing night in the Sydney Cricket Ground. This is our best opportunity to show to the LGBTIQ community that Surf Life Saving is progressive, welcoming and inclusive, and that our clubs are perfect places for our LFBTIQ members, being safe and proud of our diverse members. And in the process we had an amazing night in front of a 75% capacity crowd of over 35,000 excited fans. Carrying March Past flags from over 30 beaches from right around Australia, we performed a routine, with whistles, that had the crowd cheering for more. As dancers, we make fantastic lifesavers, but everyone is there for a great night of celebration.
We had some welcome guests at our final rehearsal on Thursday, with CEO of SLSA Adam Weir, President of SLSNSW George Shales and President of SLSSB Peter Agnew. All wished us well for Saturday night, and highlighted the advocacy work that Lifesavers with Pride do behind the scenes ensuring that SLS has the internal structures in place to create a welcoming, safe and proud organisation for our LGBTIQ members.
Lifesavers with Pride headed down to Coogee Beach last Sunday to help celebrate the Sydney Mardi Gras festival. We took advantage of the new Rainbow coloured promenade, and held a photoshoot, with members of Coogee, Tamarama, North Bondi and Terrigal SLSCs. It was great to get such wonderful feedback from the locals throughout the shoot, and it was an excellent opportunity to show the community that Surf Life Saving is proud, safe and welcoming to the LGBTIQ community. Keep an eye out for some of the shots as they are released over social media in the coming days.
It was great to welcome long time friend of Lifesavers with Pride Alex Greenwich MP to our rehearsal last night. Alex has been a keen advocate for LGBTIQ rights in our local community for many years, and often refers to our beaches as "outposts" of his electorate of Sydney. He had some great words of encouragement for us, but chose not to let us teach him a few dance moves for the parade on Saturday night. We wish Alex all the best with his float this Saturday as well, although his lack of dance moves will limit his ability to match our entry!
Surf Clubs from along Sydney's East Coast celebrated Mardi Gras this weekend with a fantastic celebration of colour and fun down on the sand. Patrols donned rainbow attire, applied coloured zinc, decorated their tents in bright products and held proud events, to demonstrate that everyone is welcome at their clubs, including the LGBTIQ community. Coogee, Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte SLSCs were great enthusiasts for our event, which received excellent media coverage on SBS, Nine and SMH, as well as Getty and Reuters. We will look at taking the event further afield than Sydney Branch next year.
Lifesavers with Pride are really excited to be taking Mardi Gras down to the beaches. We've spent the last few years working with the organisation to make sure that SLS is welcoming to our LGBTIQ community, and now we're ready to get down to the beach and show off that inclusive nature down on the sand. We're painting the beaches all rainbow over the weekend of 27/28 February, with support of Mardi Gras, Surf Life Saving Sydney Branch, and SLSNSW. Clubs joining us include Bronte, Tamarama, Coogee, Bondi and North Bondi, with our list still growing, and we've provided some great props to help the patrols on duty to create a great rainbow effect. So if you're heading down to patrol over the weekend, get ready for a splash of colour. Be sure to post images to social media and include our hashtags #lifesaverswithpride and #proudbeaches so we can repost them too.
As we enter the parade season, Eastside Sydney and Sydney Mardi Gras are bringing the biggest and most colourful carwash to Oxford St this 2021 Mardi Gras festival. LWP, and our colleagues at Sydney’s Surf Clubs are encouraged to volunteer their time to help raise funds for The Gender Centre/ACON. Anyone interested, please sign up here with your preferred time. It will be a fun event for a great cause, and great to get our lifesaver faces out in the community again!