CHELSEA Green beams up at Layne Beachley as they chat inside Taree’s Iguana Surfwear.
In the case of meeting an idol, there is often so many questions and so little time.
But in this instance it is Layne asking all the questions of the talented, young surfer.
Layne wants to know Chelsea’s aspirations in surfing, how often she competes and how she is travelling in terms of sponsors.
It’s a milestone moment for Chelsea, who last year at just 14-years-old made it to the State final of the under 16 girls division at the NSW Junior Surfing Titles held at Middle Rock near Lake Cathie. In the same year Chelsea’s sister Lucy, who is also a promising young surfer, won two divisions (11-years section and open shortboard) at the Mid North Coast Girls Surfriders Classic held at Rainbow Beach at Bonny Hills. Chelsea won the 15-years section.
As a seven time world surfing title champion Layne wants to encourage, support and propel young girls like Chelsea and Lucy towards chasing their dreams.
In 2003 Layne founded the Layne Beachley Foundation ‘Aim for the Stars’ for Australian girls who are committed to achieving a dream in their field of choice.
The foundation offers financial assistance and development opportunities under the seven pillars of academic and education, business and leadership, arts, music and entertainment, science, technology and innovation, environment and sustainability, culture and community, and sport.
Layne was visiting Taree on Tuesday to deliver a keynote speech at the Australian Women’s Leadership Forum at Club Taree. Here she spoke on overcoming adversity, understanding the weight of your words and putting your hand up and asking for help.
The forum aimed to raise funds to support more regional girls and women into the foundations scholars program, with a specific Taree regional scholarship for 2017. Layne also visited Taree PCYC for an Indigenous Girls Sports Breakfast where she conducted a range of sporting activities, followed by a trip to Taree High School to speak to students.
Accompanying Layne on her visit to Taree were two past scholarship recipients and Aim for the Stars ambassadors Maddison O’Grady and Mel Thomas.
Using her scholarship from the business and leadership pillar Maddison O’Grady, travelled to Washington DC and New York to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference to represent Australia and Mel Thomas, who was also a forum speaker, founded KYUP!, a self defence and personal safety awareness program for Australian kids.
Maddison and Mel said fellow Aim for the Stars recipients act as a sisterhood, supporting one another’s achievements and goals.
“The foundation provides girls with inspiration,” explained Layne.
“They meet like minded people and also get the motivation of a mentor.”
Layne explained that when she first put out the call out for mentors she was overwhelmed by the response.
“I had more mentors than girls!” she said.
“Like me, when these women were younger, they didn’t have this type of support and they know how important it is.”
Chelsea said she planned to apply for a scholarship through the foundation when applications for 2017 open online in July of this year.
She thanked Jo-Anne Yarad of Iguana Surfwear and Carl Muxlow for giving her the opportunity to meet Layne and chat one-on-one.
It’s an experience Chelsea will take as motivation as she takes on the waves in future competitions.
“She told me to stick to my dreams,” she smiled.
See the full report on the Australia Womens' Leadership Forum in this Friday's Manning River Times