Toowoon Bay Stingray Nippers is a modified nippers program for children with additional needs.

Toowoon Bay Stingray Nippers started as a 4 week trial in February 2017 and has been successfully running since then.

The program relies heavily on an amazing team of dedicated volunteers who support the Nippers to achieve their personalised goals. Due to the number of
volunteers and organisation required the program is split into two  four consecutive week blocks each season – generally four weeks leading up to Christmas and during February.

Due to restrictions on numbers due to COVID-19 it is our intention to continue to run the program separate to the busy regular Sunday Nippers program on Saturday mornings from 10 – 11:30am.  If you’d like to join in you will need to become a member of the club or renew your membership.  For further information please check out our Toowoon Bay Stingray Nippers FaceBook page  or email our co-ordinators at toowoonbaystingraynippers@gmail.com with any and all questions.  Once you have joined the club can you please also complete either the participant or volunteer enrolment forms.  These collect additional information to ensure the smooth and safe running of the program and we are using an online form this year to assist with the administration.

We are very grateful for the ongoing support of Narellan Pools, Central Coast who sponsor our volunteer’s shirts.

Block 1: 20th and 27th November, 4th and 11th December 2021
Block 2: 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th February 2022

Time:  Saturdays from 10am – 11.30am

Cost:  $55.00 for each Stingray Nipper who must be accompanied by an adult who is an Associate as a minimum – they will also be entitled to a discounted Stingray rate of $55.00

Enquiries:  Karen Hickmott toowoonbaystingraynippers@gmail.com or 0413 807 413

Access
Toowoon Bay SLSC is located just off Bay Road, and below Swadling Reserve.  The walk down is accessible, but it is on a hill.  If your child is unable to walk the distance to the Club, or if you need support around transitioning your child, a drop off and handover point can be arranged.  Toowoon Bay also has a few different wheelchairs available that are able to be used to get participants down to the water.
Noise
In addition to the general noises associated with the beach, the patrol rostered for the day uses an inflatable rescue boat (IRB), an all terrain vehicle (ATV) and sometimes a jet ski.  These can all be noisy when in close proximity and can emit fumes.  We will take this into consideration when planning and require your input.  We will create a small space where a sensory timeout can occur if needed and supply you with a social story.
Crowds
Toowoon Bay can be a busy beach and can be very crowded on Saturday mornings, as can the car park.  The car park near the surf club fills up early.  There are a few disabled parking spots down near the boat ramp below the surf club.  If your child is unable to walk the distance to the club or you need support around transitioning your child, a drop off and hand over point can be arranged.
Sun Protection
Please remember to apply sunscreen to children, ideally before you leave home for Stingrays.  Hats and sunglasses can be worn, but will be taken off if entering the water for safety reasons.  Long sleeve rash vests, t-shirts, boardshorts, wetsuits etc can be worn.  Whatever your child is most comfortable in will be the best choice.
Uniform
Toowoon Bay SLSC Club colours are blue and yellow.  Children who participate in nippers usually wear a club nipper cap.  We encourage the wearing of the Toowoon Bay SLSC nipper cap but understand this may not always be possible.  These can be purchased from the uniform shop.

It is mandatory to wear a pink rash vest for all surf club related water activities and training.  These can also be purchased from the uniform shop.  These are singlet vests, and children are welcome to wear t-shirts or long sleeve rash vests underneath for sun protection.  Club swimming costumes are also available for purchase, but are not compulsory.

Stingray participants need to be dressed for swimming, regardless of whether they will enter the water.  A lot of activities will be addressing water familiarisation, so even non-swimmers will participate in activities where they have the opportunity to get wet.

Stingray Activities
There will be a sign in for the Stingray group near the entry to the gear shed.  The Stingrays will assemble at 9.30am for a 10am start.  All participants will marshal near the beach ramp and will be introduced to and paired with volunteers.  We will then move to the first activity as a group.  There will be a Visual Schedule to assist transitions between activities.  Stingray volunteers will be identified by orange and blue “Narellan Pools” water safety rashies.

The Stingrays will complete a modified version of the general nipper program.  This will include events such as beach sprint, flags, wade, swimming and board paddling.  There will also be different fun games and activities that are intended to familiarise children with the water such as bucket relays and obstacle courses.  Participants can choose which activities they would like to try, and we will endeavor to make any modifications necessary to enable children to succeed and have a positive experience.  Please feel free to offer suggestions and feedback regarding ways to enhance your child’s experience.  We are fortunate to have some fabulous occupational therapists willing to assist us, as well as other support resources, so please don’t hesitate to ask if you have a question or concern about a part of the program.

Another important part of the program is beach and water safety.  This will be incorporated into our program, and will utilise patrolling club members to teach children how to stay safe at the beach.

The program will be supported by volunteers who have completed their Bronze Medallion.  Stingrays nippers will have a ratio of at least 1:1.  We are currently investigating introducing a buddy system, to partner Stingray participants with club members in the U15 age group.  This will depend on the number of registrations.

Please note that a parent or caregiver is required to remain with the group for the duration of the nipper morning.  Parents can choose to have as much or little involvement in activities as they like.