And the winners are...........

Yorke Peninsula’s 500km shared walking and cycling trail, the Norwood Swim School and an outdoor educator were rewarded for making an outstanding contribution to the recreation sector in South Australia last week.

Yorke Peninsula Council’s Walk the Yorke, Norwood Swim School and Ben Hopkins, from Baptist Care’s Mylor Adventure Camp, were winners of three honours presented at the 2016 Recreation SA Awards, on Monday, April 11.

The awards were handed out at a special event at the Recreation, Parks and Leisure State Conference, at Next Gen Memorial Drive.

Each year the awards celebrate the achievements of committed professionals and forward-thinking organisations who dedicate significant time and effort to improving the recreation sector in South Australia.

Recreation SA is an independent, member-based organisation with a vision to increase the participation and profile of active recreation in South Australia. It is the peak body for the Aquatics, Outdoor, Community and Fitness industries in SA.

Recreation SA executive officer Rebecca Deans said the three winners demonstrated outstanding leadership, innovation and a strong commitment to increasing participation in active recreation in SA.

Walk The Yorke claimed the 2016 Recreation SA Award, which every year recognises organisations or individuals who have developed initiatives that increase the numbers of participants in a recreation activity or that has increased the profile of recreation in South Australia.

Mrs Deans said Walk The Yorke, which encompasses a variety of terrains and spectacular vistas was “a fantastic example of how to increase opportunities for participation in active recreation to benefit not only the local community, but also for state and national visitors”.

“The judges were impressed with the trail’s potential to make a significant contribution to the lifestyle, health and well-being of the region’s residents,” Mrs Deans said.

Baptist Care outdoor educator Ben Hopkins was named the winner of the 2016 Recreation Industry Professional of the Year award.

Mrs Deans said Ben stood out from a very strong field of finalists because his achievements crossed many sectors.

“Ben has contributed to recreation in SA through the design and provision of Adventure Therapy programs for marginalised and disadvantaged young men across the state, through the delivery of adventure-based learning programs for young Aboriginal men and women and through leadership and management of Baptist Care's Adventure Services program, and in previous years the Mylor campsite” she said.

“He has shown strong commitment to the sector over many years and the judges were impressed by his proven leadership qualities.”

The Norwood Swim School was a deserving winner of the 2016 Watch Around Water Community Innovation Award, Mrs Deans said.

Watch Around Water is an education and public awareness raising program managed by Recreation SA that addresses the supervision of young children at public swimming pools. The program assists aquatic staff to promote safe supervision practices and provides a safe venue for the community to participate in sport and recreation. About 45 public and private pools in SA are accredited Watch Around Water centres.

Mrs Deans praised Norwood Swim School's hard work to promoting the Watch Around Water safety message.

“Our judges were impressed by Norwood Swim Schools’ holistic approach to advocating and promoting Watch Around Water safety concepts, including the addition of Watch Around Water specific messages into its Learning Pathway training booklets for instructors,” Mrs Deans said.

Mrs Deans said it was vital for the recreation industry and the health of the South Australian community to every year recognise programs, organisations and the people working in the sector who are making a real difference to encouraging more people to be involved in active recreation.

The awards were open to all of Recreation SA’s 100 member organisations.