Index

This Frequently Asked Questions page is very long as it captures every question we've ever been asked. So there's a very good chance that whatever it is you're thinking is answered here: 

Joining

How do I join?
How does the enrolment process work?
Why can't I get a place? 
How do I know the ballot is fair? 
Why is the enrolment window so important?
Where can I find the season timetable?
Who can register / enrol? 
Can I join mid-season?
What if someone drops out?
How much does it cost?  
Can we use an Active Kids voucher? 
How should we pay for the program?  
What is your refund policy? 
I can't locate my login information
What age group should my child be in?
What happens on their birthday?

Clothing

Where can I buy clothing?
How can I return or exchange clothing? 
How do I find my cap number? 
What are the cap colours?
What happens if I forget or lose my kit? 
What's a blue rashie / green rashie? 
What time will the kit be delivered? 
Do you have any guidance on clothing sizes? 
How do I buy an extra Rashie or other clothing? 

Starting for the first time

Where exactly should we meet?
What happens in bad weather
What do I need to bring? 
What is 'set up and pack away'? 
When is it my group's turn for setup? 
What is an Age Manager? 
What's the tent for?

On the beach

Who looks after safety?
What happens when my child is too old for Nippers / What is ‘Bronzies’?
Tell me about the Championships
Do you have any special events?
What is Carnival day?
What are the optional water activities?
Are awards given to the children? 
How can I check the water and air quality?

General

Do you have an All Abilities program?
What’s the relationship with the Balmoral Beach Club?  
Is Balmoral Nippers part of Surf Life Saving Australia? 
How many children participate? 
Why can’t I make contact by phone, or with a named representative?
Do you need any help?
What is your code of conduct?
Do we need to sign ‘working with children’ forms?
Are there any parent resources?
Perception: Nippers takes up all the local parking
Perception: Nippers takes up all the beach

 

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How do I join?

The process is simple; 1. Register, 2. Enrol.

1. You can register at any time throughout the year (including at enrolment time!). This merely registers your details with us so we will email you to remind you when it's enrolment time.

2. Enrolment is where you confirm that you want to apply for a place this coming season.

  • You can only do this during the enrolment 'window', which is a ten day period around the end of July. (Note the enrolment option only appears during the enrolment window) 
  • If your child - or your child's sibling - has enrolled in a previous season then they will pass through the ballot and be offered a spot immediately.
  • If this is your first time, you will be entered into a ballot
    • Once the enrolment window has closed the system knows how many spots are available (ie. from Nippers not returning from a previous year)
    • The ballot process offers these spots to some applicants on a random basis.
    • Those applicants then have 24 hours to pay to secure or the spot is withdrawn and placed into the 2nd ballot for offer to other ballot applicants.
    • Once all the offered spots have been paid and secured, the system emails the applicants who didn't get a place.

Yes, we're afraid getting a place is based on luck. We have an article here that explains in detail why this is and the numbers involved.

Yes, the enrolment window needs to be enforced. We have an article here that explains what it is, and why it works like this.

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Who can register / enrol?

For legal / insurance reasons, only the parent or legal guardian can enrol their children (no friends or other relatives).

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Can I join the program mid-season?  What about if someone drops out?

Sorry, but there isn't capacity to add or change children throughout the season.

But what if we know the people who have dropped out?

We’re sorry, but still no.

While this might seem unfair, bear in mind that literally hundreds of families need to be managed, and several hundred fail to make it into the program. It’s a relief when the enrolment process is complete and our volunteers can focus on enjoying the program.

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How much does it cost?

This depends on how many children you are enrolling and what clothing the family requires :

Enrolment fee

1st child : $150
2nd child : $125
Subsequent children : $100

Clothing
Cap : $21.45
Child (pink) rashie (Age groups 4-11) : $39.05
Child rashie (Bronzies) : $42.50
Girls swimmers : $40.70
Boys swimmers : $31.90
Adult (blue) rashie : $47.50
Picking, packing, dispatch charges, and postage : $19.50 ($167.50 if just caps)

 

Nippers is a not-for-profit and runs cost-neutral. These costs are passed through and we make no margin on them. Please remember Nippers has no employees and is organised by volunteers.

 

 

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Can we use an Active Kids voucher from Service NSW to secure a rebate?

We're sorry, but this isn't possible as we are not registered. It's quite a considerable undertaking and we don't have sufficient volunteer cycles to run it, however if you'd like to volunteer your time to join the team to set up, administer and run the scheme (will need some IT changes as well), please let us know.

Hopefully your kid(s) are involved in other sports where they can take advantage of this great scheme

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How should we pay for the program?

When you get to the end of the enrolment process, you can pay either by PayPal or major credit card.

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Is there a refund policy?

We do not offer refunds or make-up sessions. So if any sessions are cancelled e.g. due to bad weather, water conditions etc. or if you cannot attend a session or need to cancel your enrolment we cannot provide a refund or extend the season to cover missed sessions.  Please be sure before you commit !

We are a not-for-profit operation, run by volunteers and are cost-neutral. Most of our costs are front-loaded before the season starts.  There is also a lot of pre-season planning that goes into running Nippers and the timetable (once set and agreed to by Mosman Council) cannot be extended.

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What's a Blue Rashie / Green Rashie?

A Blue Rashie is a parent or guardian who helps their child's age manager with smooth running on the day. We ask all parents and guardians to pull on a blue rash vest and take personal responsibility for their child, especially in the water. You can buy these at the tent

A Green Rashie is a voluntary member of the Nippers organising committee (a.k.a. Nippers crew). They're available to answer questions on the beach, and are responsible for organising the whole program from sponsorships to IT, from events to finances, from council relationships to champs, and more.

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How quickly will kit be delivered?

After the ballot has closed, we work through the kit delivery process with our suppliers. All kit will arrive at latest one week before the season commences.

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Where can I buy clothing?

Our clothing shop is operated by 'Catfish Designs'; a local, family owned business whose products are of high quality and service is excellent. 

You can buy clothing two ways:

  1. During enrolment we ask what you need, and then place a bulk order from everyone with the manufacturer for you to ensure it is ready in time. 
  2. From our online shop here (although we have some stock, we do not have everything as it's made bespoke (there are 63 options!). If out of stock it takes ~ 8 weeks, hence the preference to purchase during enrolment)

Please note,

  • Nippers uniform must be worn during a session (insurance reasons - we have no flexibility)
  • We don't have clothing at the tent to sell. (We previously did this, but with the growth in Nippers, the logistics became too complicated to manage - hence outsourcing to Catfish)
  • However, you *can* buy caps from us at the tent. These are controlled by us as they're numbered and have specific confirmation of enrolment. Please speak to us if you've lost your cap.

Therefore, please ensure you have the clothing you need before the season.

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How do I change clothing size?

If you need to change an item (size of unworn rashie / swimwear), please fill out the Return Authorisation form here (Enter 'BN' as the order number).

Once completed, please print the completed form and post back to Catfish with the item needing to be changed and include a self-addressed return postage bag so they can send the replacement back.

If the exchange is urgent, they recommend ordering the item online here with the original item to be sent back when possible.

NB. Refunds and returns for change of mind or incorrect ordering are not possible, these uniforms are custom made to order.

Catfish's contact details are here

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How do I find my cap number?

We have a handy guide here

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Do you have an All Abilities program?

Yes we do, we call it Sharkies

Please click here to find out more.

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What’s the relationship with the Balmoral Beach Club?

Members of the Balmoral Beach Club founded this nippers program.

The BBC continue to be our main supporters, providing us with storage facilities for all our materials as well as a useful meeting space for our organising committee, and much more. 

Membership of the beach club does not guarantee enrolment. 

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Do you have any guidance on clothing sizes?

Yes, the manufacturer has a clothing guide next to each item on their site here

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How do I buy an extra Rashie or other item of clothing

Please visit our online shop here where you can purchase any of the entire range at any time of the year.

Items available and cost:

Child rashie (Age groups 4-11) : $39.05
Child rashie (Bronzies) : $42.50
Girls swimmers : $40.70
Boys swimmers : $31.90
Adult rashie (Blue) : $47.85

Replacement caps are not available online as these are the unique marker that a child is an enrolled participant. Please report your lost cap at the tent where they will help you.

Nippers runs cost-neutral, which means that these are charged for pretty much what it costs us. 

 

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Is Balmoral Nippers part of Surf Life Saving Australia?

No, it's an independent program that's been running for nearly 20 years. However we do employ LifeGuard and First Aid services from them.

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How many children participate?

We have 700 children in the program. We're limited by the amount of space on the beach that we're allowed to use as determined by Mosman Council, guided by safety.

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Why can’t I make contact by phone, or with a named representative?

Balmoral Nippers is run by volunteers, all of whom have day jobs - hence we do not have a telephone number.

Having a single point of contact by email makes the program easier for to manage. We are very quick on replying though!

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Do you need any help?

Yes please! We lose about 20% of our age managers each year as their children grow out of the program. We also welcome support in our organising committee - there’s plenty of work that needs doing, and it’s a fun team with the occasional social event too. Drop us an email if you’d like to get involved.

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What age group should my child be in?

Interesting one this as it's as simple as it can be, yet because it doesn't follow schools or other sporting activities, it confuses people!

The grouping is the age they turn on the season start year (ie. 01 Jan - 31 Dec). 

For example:

'The fours' turn four between 01 Jan and 31 Dec on the year the season starts
'The fives' turn five between 01 Jan and 31 Dec on the year the season starts
'The sixes' turn six between 01 Jan and 31 Dec on the year the season starts
..

This was first put in when Nippers started in 1984. As we run nine age groups, changing all the groups to align to the school terms or to the 'under' convention would split groups. And as most of our Nippers join in the fours and stay in the same group the whole way through, moving and splitting them would cause more upset than exists by being a little different!  :)

As part of registration our system will ask for the date of birth and calculate it automatically.

My child is in the wrong group as I entered the date of birth incorrectly

This is a tricky one, which is mitigated by a policy that's been developed over the seasons. To explain:

The group numbers are very tight and we manage this in terms of permitted volume, equipment available and age manager load.

The enrolment process manages 38,000 permutations of ages and children, the place for your child would have been offered due to one of these permutations fitting the age of your child(ren) from what was entered during registration. Ie. if you entered a different date of birth there is a possibility that they would not have been offered a place(s) at all.

During the registration process, and enrolment process, automated system emails confirm a participant's entry and hence age selection. Some identify an error at this time and advise, where we have some flexibility before the season start. We find that most people who advise 'my child is in the wrong group' do this once the season has started. We suspect that this is because the parents would like their child to be in a lower age group for 'an advantage'.

We get lots of people asking. In the 2017-18 season we had 34 of these requests in the first two weeks, and since then we now have a policy where we need to see a copy of the child's passport showing the date of birth before we make the change.

If you have genuinely made a mistake, contact us and we'll figure something out, but we will need a picture of their passport confirming date of birth.

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What happens on their birthday?

They remain in the same age group - no need to move around from one group to another during the season.

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Where exactly should we meet?

The beach we use is 'Edwards Beach, Balmoral', which your SatNav will know as 6 The Esplanade, Mosman 2088. Here is a map.

Go to your age group Lollipop which will be in the location below and meet your age manager (who will be wearing a yellow cap) for registration at 08:45

Beach layout

An age group Lollipop looks like this:

Note that the Lollipops are coloured the same as the caps - just follow the colours!

Any questions, ask the green rashie volunteers in the tent on the day (you can’t miss it!).

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What time does it run?

09:00 - 10:00.   Please arrive ~10 minutes earlier, ready for registration.

Champs is from ~10:15 

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What happens if there’s bad weather?

Nippers runs every week, come rain or shine.

We think poor weather is a great opportunity to teach our kids about commitment, and the sea is the same temperature anyway!

The only exceptions are if there are electrical storms, extreme poor air quality or extreme poor water quality in which case Nippers will be cancelled.

Check the website beforehand, if there are no special notices then Nippers is ON!

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How can I check the water and air quality?

Two Government websites that we reference are here:

Air quality

Water quality

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What is 'set up and pack away'?

We need to get the equipment out of the shed and onto the beach, and then put it back. Each week groups take it in turn to help do this.

In more detail:

All of our equipment (boards, flags, tunnels, etc.) are stored in a very small space in the beach club we call 'The Shed'.

Four members of the green crew start at 7am on Sunday to unpack the shed and put the equipment onto the grass.

The age group whose turn it is that week arrives at 8am and moves all of the equipment into the various areas (ie. tunnels for 4s, small boards for 5s, one rescue board for each group, etc..)

At the end of the session, that age group moves all the equipment back to the grass and sweeps the sand off and helps the green crew stack it all back in the shed (it's like a giant game of Tetris)

When all in the age group help it's quite a rapid process. 

You can find when it's the turn of your group on the timetable here

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What is an Age Manager?

Age managers are parents/guardians who guide and operate the session. They have been trained by the green crew and generally have a lot of experience about how the session operates. 

Normally we have two age managers for each group.

You can identify them by their yellow cap.

 

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Which cap colours should my child wear?

Caps will be assigned automatically during enrolment - here's how the colours are assigned to age groups:

 4 : Bottle green 
 5 : Maroon (Of course! Click :)
 6 : Royal blue 
 7 : Navy 
 8 : Yellow 
 9 : Red 
10 : Jade green 
11 : Sky blue 

Sharkies : Aqua

Bronzies : no caps

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What do I need to bring?

Here’s a handy checklist for you each week:

  • Make sure your Nippers wear plenty of sun cream
  • Bring a full water bottle for each child
  • Bring goggles if your child is 5 or over
  • Bring a change of clothes and a towel in a waterproof bag
  • Make sure they’ve got their correct nippers outfits (they can’t participate if they’ve got the wrong clothes)
  • Watch for unsportsmanlike behaviour. We don’t like the kids to be aggressive or disrespectful to the age managers when decisions or results don’t go their way.
  • Encourage them to have a go at the different tasks
  • Inform the age managers of any health issues or special needs
  • Be ready to supervise them 100% of the time
  • Encourage them to have fun
  • Bring a smile! Remember a lot of the experiences on the beach are new for children and it may take a few weeks for them to enjoy the experiences - this is normal! Speak to your age manager if you are having difficulty encouraging your child to participate.

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I can’t locate login / registration information..?

It’s possible you typed your email address incorrectly during registration, or the email went to your junk folder. You can try retrieving your password by clicking the link on the login page. If it all looks good, it could be that your email address is bouncing and our email provider has automatically stopped attempting - drop us a line to look into this.

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What happens if we forget or lose our kit?

For safety reasons, it’s a strict condition that children wear all of their designated Nippers kit so we can track them easily, and the same goes for parents so we know the right carers are involved. 

You will need to purchase kit from the online shop as we no longer have any on the beach.

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What’s the tent for?

The tent is run by volunteers to make sure the event goes smoothly. You can go there to ask questions, get some emergency sun cream / water, make enquiries about kit, get medical help, or just to say g’day!

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Who looks after safety?

We have Professional life savers on the beach at the Balmoral Beach Club, as well as Surf Life Saving First Aid representatives at the tent for medical emergencies. However - and we can’t stress this enough - your child is YOUR responsibility. We don’t accept any responsibility for the welfare of your children. 

Our safety policy is here 

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Is there a code of conduct?

Yes there is.

As a condition of membership, all parents, guardians and children commit to follow our code of conduct here

 

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Do we need to sign ‘working with children’ forms?

For regular Blue Rashies: we’ve checked with the authorities who have confirmed that this isn’t necessary so long as parents or legal guardians are in the same group as their children. This is a strict condition of participation, accepted via the T&Cs during the enrolment process.

For age managers and crew: you need to obtain a Working with Children Check and Number – reflecting the fact these leaders will oversee groups of Children on the Beach. This is standard process for many Schools and Clubs now. It is very easy to obtain:

1. Go Online : https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-working-children-check
2. Then go to Service NSW to confirm your identify (ie. show your driving licence)
3. After about 3 weeks they will email you a WWC number.
4. Advise The Crew or Balmoral Nippers Admin of the Number and date of expiry.

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Do you have special events?

Yes! We’ve had special visits in the past from the army, the Warratahs Rugby team, not to mention Santa! Plus we sometimes have a sausage sizzle at some point in the season. Events vary each year, so watch the emails for details this season.

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What is Carnival Day?

Carnival Day is an optional event which gives kids a sense of what Surf Club carnivals are like. It's a fun introduction to competitive activities for kids of all ages (unlike Champs which is limited to certain ages), and there are about 60 events taking place up and down the beach, with ribbons awarded for a variety of achievements. 

It's held at the midpoint of the season (see Timetable) and gives children in all age groups a chance to test the skills that they have been busily learning and practising. Ribbons are given out for first, second and third places. The 4s compete in three events (Flags, Wade, Run), 5s compete in 3 events (swim, flags, run) and 6-11's compete in 4 events (Swim, Flags, Boards, Run). All children in 4-7's get a special participation ribbon, any older children who would like a participation ribbon can collect one from the tent. There isn't a bronzies education session but their participation is encouraged to help in the other age groups.

The format of the day is a little different so please try to arrive 5-10 mins early so you can find your age group lollipop marker. The session may take a little longer than usual but there is no champs on this day. If you do need to leave early please let your age manager know so that the roll can be updated.

Following the carnival there may be a very special visitor chanting ho ho ho putting in an appearance...!

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What are the optional water activities?

During the Summer break we've been running dedicated paddle board sessions for those in age groups 8-11 interested in improving their skills. This coming year our intention is to extend water activities to all age groups. Details are still in the process of being worked out - watch your inbox for updates.

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What happens when my child is too old for Nippers / What is ‘Bronzies’?

Nippers who graduate from the 11s age group are encouraged to participate in the RLSSA Bronze Medallion program ("Bronzies"). This is a two year program where the children learn more about surf lifesaving and the more practicable aspect of the skills needed. It is supported by Life Guards who also support the Beach Club. If children are keen, they can then go on to earn their SLSA Bronze Medallion at a surf club. We have established a link with Freshwater SLSC - contact us for more information. Please note however that we are not affiliated with any SLSA - we run an independent program.

You can find more details about our Bronzie program here

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Are awards given to the children?

Yes, we hand out participation medals at the end of the season for all children in age groups 4-8 inclusive. Special Awards are given for Spirit of Nippers and Most Improved Nipper (all age groups). The focus for the main Nippers program is on fun and participation, and the more competitive awards are reserved for Championships.

Age managers are also given a ‘Nipper of the week’ award to distribute, which is a small prize from our sponsors. These are normally given for effort, and we try to ensure everyone gets at least one each season.

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Are there any parent resources?

This one is particularly good

Online parent training tool to learn kid's first aid

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The Championships

Information regarding what the Champs is and how it runs can be found here 

The score table is here (this is normally updated at the end of Sunday)

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Perceptions

Two common perceived issues are :

"Nippers takes up all the local parking"

The popularity of the gorgeous Balmoral Beach means that there can never be sufficient parking spaces during a summer weekend. There are 30,000 people living in Mosman, and a couple of hundred parking spaces at the beach - meaning only 0.1% of residents need to venture out on a fine weather Sunday to fill all the places!

Some are of the perception that Nippers participants are the main contributor to this problem, however the majority of Nippers do just the first hour's activities and skip the optional 'Champs' second hour. This means the majority arrive just before 9 and leave after 10, hence if Nippers were the cause of the problem there would only be parking difficulties during this hour - and parking would be significantly eased when they leave just after 10. However this is not the case.

(It should also be noted that the majority of Nippers participants are Mosman residents)

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"Nippers takes up all the beach"

Nippers usage of the beach is extremely efficient; compressing about 1,500 local people on a third of the beach area, in a time slot which is quiet, and most of these people depart at the end. 

Capacity

  • Balmoral Beach is 1.3km long
  • Nippers use a section that is 300m
  • Whilst Nippers is on, usage of the 1km remainder remains sparse.

Timing

  • Nippers operates mostly between 9am and 10am on Sunday (we have an optional item for 30 mins after for some).
  • Majority of the beach users arrive around 1pm, peaking at 3pm.

Demographic

  • 92% of Nippers participants reside in the Mosman
  • 100% of Nippers participants have young children
  • Hence this is mostly the participants' local beach facility that is likely they would be on with their children even if there were no Nippers running.
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