Since March 2020, when Circuit Breaker began in Singapore, ANZA Singapore Nippers has faced many challenges and setbacks, but they’ve been determined that the game must go on! Through months of planning and discussions, Nippers Committee Members finally formulated a plan to return kids to the beach for life saving fun.
Challenge #1 – Beach Bookings
When you think of Nippers, you think of the beach. But what happens if the beach is no longer easily accessible? This was one major obstacle faced by Nippers in 2021. When Sentosa’s beaches reopened, a booking system was implemented, with all weekend attendees required to book one week in advance.
Coordinating Palawan Beach bookings across all Nippers participants and their family members seemed like a huge task, however with precise coordination and good communication, the Nippers Age Managers managed to remind participants to book their beach slots seven days in advance. Being mindful not to overbook, so our Sunday sessions could go ahead.
Challenge #2 – Group Size
New COVID-19 regulations restricted group sizes to five maximum. For Nippers that meant some age groups needed to be split into several teams. This led to further issues because each team also required Age Managers to run the classes and Bronze Medallion holders (Bronzies) to oversee the safety of the children entering the water.
The solution was to recruit more parents to act as Age Managers, to ensure that group sizes could be kept at five and each team could operate autonomously. Nippers also recruited a local Singaporean life saver to volunteer her time each week to teach water safety and patrol the ocean to ensure the children were safe in the water.
Challenge #3 – Safe Distancing
Strict safe distancing protocols needed to be maintained, so teams were spread across two zones at Palawan Beach and a Nippers safe distancing volunteer ensured that parents did not congregate near the lessons. The drop off and pick up process was coordinated so that children could reach their team safely (checking in with their assigned Age Manager) and they could be checked out officially, without the need for parents to hang around and intermingle during the session.
Challenge #4 – Fun and Community
The essence of Nippers continues to be fun sessions, with a focus on essential water safety, swimming, and board skills, alongside team building and community spirit. Age Managers have been provided with a session booklet for games and skillset markers to be reached by each child. Equipment volunteers (participating parents) help carry and distribute heavy equipment, such as boards and accessories for games like ladders, flags, balls and hurdles. Keeping the teams small also allows kids to form closer bonds with their coach and peers.
Families are encouraged to raise community spirit through fundraising events, such as the new Nippers merchandise range, this helps create a feeling of belonging and togetherness in the Nippers community, even as new challenges arise.
ANZA Singapore Nippers is a not-for-profit volunteer group where children aged 5-13 years participate in fun activities at Palawan Beach to learn essential ocean and swimming skills.
Stay up to date with Nippers news at anza.org.sg/sports/nippers, Instagram @sgnippers and Facebook page @SingaporeNippers