In 2020/21 LWP trialled our Rainbow Beaches events with the theme that “everyone is welcome at the beach”. In no time over a dozen clubs across the country took the initiative to show SLS as a place where everyone is welcome and can belong. These clubs adorned members, nippers, parents, patrols and beaches with rainbow colours. LWP provided a baseline range of “rainbow” items and clubs added even more colour and fun. Participation was broad-based and voluntary, while the reception from members and the general public, as well as the media coverage, was outstanding. We're now looking at making this a regular event for our Surf Clubs around the country showing that everyone is welcome on the beach.
Our approach is simple – bring a rainbow to your beach, however and whenever you choose. Keep it simple and don't overcommit, you can always grow it next year. Suggestions can include:
- Pick a date that suits you and your community. Start off with a few hours, maybe when nippers are around, at your club open day, or align it with a local community event
- Reach out to Lifesavers with Pride, where we will provide you with a basic kit including rainbow bunting, lanyards + whistles, sweatbands, facepaint or similar.
- Gather your own rainbow products, such as flags, banners and signs, or be creative and line up some coloured flags, boards or towels to make a rainbow. Try your local discount variety stores, markets stalls or look online for rainbow outlets.
- Engage people and use your networks. Ask the surf boat crew to wear colourful rash tops, the surfski folk to get some images of their coloured skis in a rainbow, give the nippers coloured zinc, and ask the swim group to wear their most colourful swimwear.
- Use social media, both in advance and afterwards with plenty of images. Promote the event as a fun day of inclusion designed to welcome everyone, with suggested messaging below. Tag #lifesaverswithpride, #proudbeaches, and #rainbowbeaches and we'll repost to our 20k followers.
- Reach out to the local community, such as schools, businesses and council. See a larger list of suggestions below as well.
- If all you do is get your patrol to have a few rainbow flags, that's still a success. Whereas if you want to do more, consider a paddle-out, beach flags, colour-in competition, best dressed, ocean swim, whatever, there are no limits.
Consider your messaging too. Feel free to look over our social history and reuse some of our original images to promote your day. Similarly look over our posters and stickers to use on the day which talk about inclusion. Use simple catch phrases and messaging in your communication such as:
- The ocean doesn't discriminate and neither do we
- Everyone is welcome at our club
- We're a proud surf club
- Surf Life Saving is for everyone
- Everybody, Everyday, Between the red and yellow
- Welcome home, Welcome to the surf club
- Lifesaving, where you can be you.
When looking at promotion, we encourage you to reach out to as many people as you can. Here is a list of suggested contacts;
- Your Surf Club members
- Nearby Surf Clubs
- Local schools, sports clubs and other emergency services
- Local businesses and cafes, chamber of commerce
- Local Council and local Members of Parliament
- SLS Branch and State contacts
- Local (diversity) community groups, such as church groups, cultural groups, age groups, youth groups, LGBTIQ community groups
- Community media - radio, newspapers, online
- State and national media - we got on
Whilst LWP are keen to promote LGBTIQ participation in SLS, this event is targeted at all forms of inclusion and diversity, be it physical, age, race, culture, gender or sexual preference. We do not expect, nor ask, for LGBTIQ recognition to be applied to any aspect of the day.
Most of all, Enjoy yourself. That's why we love lifesaving, and what we want to show others that they'll love it too.