Although it’s only her second patrol season at Newcastle’s Nobbys Surf Life Saving Club, Jenny Parlett worked tirelessly with fellow club members to organise a special “Pink Zinc Day” to bring a uniquely Surf Life Saving touch to International Women’s Day.
The celebration was an opportunity for volunteers to gather and reflect on the past, present and future roles of women in the Surf Life Saving movement, both in New South Wales’ Hunter region and around Australia.
Jenny said it was important to her that the club made Pink Zinc Day as inclusive as possible, so that club and community members of all ages and genders could join in celebrating the contribution of female volunteer lifesavers.
“Dave, who is one of our age coaches for Nippers said ‘let’s do a Pink Zinc Day on the Sunday after International Women’s Day’,” Jenny said. “I then suggested making it a swim out as well, and he said ‘great, you organise it!’”
“The whole idea was to get as many women there as possible – from the past or present, mums, patrol members, we just wanted to get them involved.”
Organising the event in just two weeks, Jenny teamed up with local media to attract a turnout of more than 70 people, who embraced the theme with pink balloons, cake, cordial, hats and - of course - pink zinc.
Over the course of the day, members and friends of the club swam, paddled and rode out into the surf to honour the contributions of their sisters, mothers, aunts and friends.
Coincidentally, the Nobbys SLSC president Narelle Blick is the first woman to head the club in its 96-year history.
Jenny hoped that bringing the girls and women together would encourage more female lifesavers to recognise their own strengths and embrace all of the great things that Surf Life Saving has to offer. These include a strong sense of community, a healthy lifestyle and increased confidence to face life’s challenges.
“I love the idea of including everybody. It gave our mums a chance to be hands-on in a way they can’t usually, which was great,” Jenny said.