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about how the small-town Tasmanian club built itself up over five years to be able to take out the coveted award.

As one of the most remote clubs in the country with a population of only 3800, Penguin SLSC, now in its 90th year, recently became the first ever Tasmanian club to win the prestigious title of DHL Club of the Year.

Now heading into her third year as Penguin SLSC President, Allison first joined the club in 2016 when her three young kids started Nippers. As an accountant by trade, Allison was quickly recruited as Treasurer of the club management committee.

“We were at point back in 2015/16 where we had four patrol groups and some people doubled up to make a fifth, so you were patrolling every weekend.

“At the same time that we were trying to work on building our lifesavers we were also put with a challenge of the clubhouse becoming vacant with the tenants and restaurant leaving, so it was at a point where you had to make that decision on where do you go.

“At that point in time the management committee put together a really extensive strategic plan to focus on a number of areas obviously junior development, training, patrol and the club house itself.

“We identified that we could do everything and put a really solid plan in place and ended up to this point in time where we hired out our facility to community groups and businesses 480 times in a 12-month period.

“We realised that there was no point having a club house, and having money, if we don’t have lifesavers. We had four IRB drivers and four patrol captains, obviously that was our main concern,” Allison said.

Although Allison wasn’t a strong swimmer, at beginning of the 2017/18 season she herself passed her Bronze Medallion and later that year won Tasmanian Volunteer of the Year.

“The current Bronze Medallion holders we had, we encouraged and supported them to regain more qualifications. We managed to have past members from varying different activities come back, and those people already had the skill base.

“And, we also got new people and had more training up and going, and we just finished the last season with ten patrol teams,” Allison said.

Penguin SLSC has undeniably seen a great turnaround over the past few years, now with 10 strong patrol groups and even quadrupling the number of Nippers competing in the state championships this year than compared to 2016.

To hear more from Allison about how Penguin SLSC came to be the best Surf Life Saving Club in Australia, make sure to tune into episode fifteen of Surf Studio on the SLSA website and SLSA Facebook page.

That draws a conclusion to our long-form episodes of Surf Studio for 2020. Over the past seven months we have shared members stories over 15 episodes in an effort to provide hope, share information and help the movement stay connected during the difficult times of COVID-19 restrictions.

As Summer approaches and we look to return to the beach, stay tuned for a new-form Surf Studio, bringing you shorter stories from the movement as they come to light.

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