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Mount lifeguard Fergus Rieger – leader for life

Fergus Rieger. Photo: Jamie Troughton.

Mt Maunganui lifeguard Fergus Rieger is one of 15 surf lifeguards from around New Zealand who have been selected for the prestigious BP Leaders for Life leadership development programme.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand announced that nine women and six men, aged 20 to 27, have been chosen. 

Fergus was delighted to hear he’d been selected. 

“It’s a great opportunity to develop as a leader. I’ve had a few friends who have been through the programme and enjoyed the experience and the opportunities that arose from that, and the pathways that have opened up,” says Fergus.

Fergus’ application had been endorsed by Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service chairman Paul Manning who is delighted as the programme will provide extensive personal development opportunities for Fergus, both as a lifeguard and a person. 

“Fergus is an accomplished lifeguard and role model in our organisation and we look forward to supporting him on this exciting journey,” says Paul.

BP Leaders for Life is designed to up-skill and encourage people to stay with surf lifesaving, with the view that they can lead their clubs and the surf lifesaving movement into a sustainable and vibrant future.

Graduates have moved into roles including board and committee members, instructors, examiners and patrol auditors, as well as returning to the programme as BP Leaders for Life facilitators.

Surf Life Saving NZ education development lead Belinda Slement says the candidates for this year’s programme “were all outstanding”.

“The 10-month programme is about creating people that can give back to their club and community and have an impact,” says Belinda.

“Seeing the success people achieve post-programme, applying the leadership skills they’ve learnt and seeing how supportive the clubs are is really rewarding.

“They are developing themselves personally and it crosses over to their club and their life. The skills they are going to get are going to be with them for life.

“They are doing it to better themselves, their club and their community.”

The programme includes weekend workshops where the volunteer Surf Lifeguards hear from top leadership speakers. They learn about good communication, leadership skills, their own strengths and weaknesses, the organisation and its strengths and challenges, how things work at different clubs, and how to make positive change.

The Leaders for Life programme began in 2012, and BP came on board two years later. Since then 120 people have been through BP Leaders for Life benefitting from the company’s investment.

The 2020/2021 Leaders for Life group gets underway in a combined weekend event at Mount Maunganui from July 24-26.

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