It has been a busy and successful couple of weeks for the Marcoola Surf Club and for patrol captain Matt McLean.
At Surf Lifesaving Queensland's Awards of Excellence, premier Anna Bligh presented the club with the youth development club of the year award and Matt McLean with the young lifesaver of the year award (18-25 years).
Club president Rob McGregor said the awards were a repeat of the recent Sunshine Coast branch presentations where the club and Matt received the same honours.
“To receive these prestigious awards at both state and branch level is an honour for the club”, Mr McGregor said.
“Over the last five years, the club has made a concentrated effort on retaining and developing its young members.
“Matt McLean, who was the club's youth development officer and a member of the club since nippers, has led the way over the last few years and his award is a great recognition of this.”
Some of the innovations introduced by Matt and the club included an exchange program with interstate clubs and a recognition and reward system, which rewarded young members as they reached designated achievement levels.
A couple of days after the Surf Lifesaving Queensland awards, Matt was again honoured when community services minister Karen Struthers presented the Queensland Young Volunteer Awards, in which Matt was highly commended in the community volunteer category.
Ms Struthers said the awards recognised and rewarded the positive contributions of young people who offered their time and energy to make a difference to the lives of Queenslanders.
“These awards promote the winners as role models to inspire other young people to volunteer and increase the community's awareness of the nature and extent of the contribution that young volunteers make to the Queensland community,” Ms Struthers said.
The award profile said Matt exemplified “the great Aussie surf lifesaver icon by promoting mateship, teamwork, leadership, determination and dedication” and that he was “an exceptional role model and mentor for future lifesavers”.
Matt said the awards were a great boost for the club, especially when it came to applying for government grants.
But he said personally it was “weird” getting an award because lifesavers did not do what they did to get awards.
“I really enjoy lifesaving and I've been doing it for ages,” he said.
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