Clubbie Profile May: Ben Stevenson

Our Clubbie Profile for the month of May is Ben Stevenson from Taree-Old Bar SLSC. Ben has recently been elected the President of the club and has his eyes set on growing the membership and expanding Taree-Old Bar into a strong club.

Name: Ben Stevenson

Age: 37
Surf Life Saving Club: Taree-Old Bar SLSC*

Career volunteer Hours: 426.25 hours

Occupation: Business Advisor

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why?
I joined Surf Life Saving in 1993 just out of interest and to see what went on around the club in summer. I didn’t join with any big aspirations or anything like that, Taree-Old Bar caught my interest and I ended up gaining my Bronze Medallion. My family followed me into the club and now the rest is history.

What are you most proud about as President of Taree-Old Bar SLSC?
Being recently elected as President of the club is a huge honour and I’m very excited to see where we can go. Since I’ve lived around Old Bar for a long time, I know enough people from both the community and surf club to motivate everyone and bring us all together to grow Taree-Old Bar SLSC.

Tell us about your plans for Taree-Old Bar over the next few years?
I would really like to develop our membership because we’re nothing without our members. Once we reach enough members, we can do a lot more and ultimately operate as a strong surf club. When we get more members on board we will have more time as individuals to focus on our patrol skills, expand on our qualifications and venture into training and competition.

Looking back on the last two years, what have you learnt from being part of Taree-Old Bar?
I’ve had limited involvement in the club for the last few years due to work commitments, but by being involved at a grassroots level I’ve re-discovered what a surf club should be all about. That is, working with fellow members and the public to make the beach a safe and enjoyable place for everyone. Seeing the commitment of our members and the appreciation from the community, I wanted to help get the club running in a way that best supported them.

What would you say to other clubs who have helped out with patrols at your beach?

We had around 10 clubs come visit in the 2014/15 season which was a huge benefit for our members who were doing three out of every four patrols. It was such a massive relief to have clubs come and roster on for patrol.

This year we would like to expand on this concept, and not just have clubs come for patrol but also create a partnership between other clubs in NSW and our returning members. It would be fantastic if we could share the experience with other clubs and learn from those members.
This idea would be an extension of last year and create more of a social event between our club and other clubs and also have a mix of both clubs patrolling together. This would be a greater experience for our members and they can get a better understanding of what Surf Life Saving is about rather than just what they’ll get from being a member of Taree-Old Bar.

Favourite beach that isn’t yours?

Like many people I have a real love/hate relationship with Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast.

Who is someone you admire in the Surf Life Saving movement and why?

Doug Ferguson, who was a former president of Taree-Old Bar and sadly passed away a number of years ago, he had a good understanding of the president’s role and Surf Life Saving. He did a great job of coordinating the club within the community and engaging with the members, without necessarily intervening in other people roles. Doug was able to encourage members to be the best they could be and we were always amazed by how many people he knew by name.

What do you get up to in the off season that involves Surf Life Saving?

Since I’ve taken the President’s role, I’ve been working behind the scenes in particular setting goals around growing our membership.

We want to do two things to boost our membership; we want to get in contact with all our previous members and people we hope we can get back into the club and see what we can do to help bring them back to Taree-Old Bar. We also want to attract new members, so need to streamline the path to being a member e.g. make it easier for people off the street with a little bit of interest to walk up and join and in the future, train for their Bronze Medallion, get involved in patrol and become a valuable member of the club.

Anything else you would like to add?

The direction we’re heading is making the club the ‘NEW’ Taree-Old Bar SLSC, which ironically is taking on some things of the ‘old’ club when it was very family orientated and a great place to be.

The work that Janet Clingeleffer did over the last couple of years is now only being realised by our committee. The amount of time and effort Jan put into the club to keep the place going was astounding.

I’m also very lucky with the committee that have come on board with me; they’re genuinely a really good mix of people with all the right ideas about getting the club going again.

Any surf lifesavers interested in travelling to Taree-Old Bar SLSC for a weekend next season to patrol or join in on the social events contact the club via their Facebook page or email Ben Stevenson.

*Taree-Old Bar SLSC was placed into administration in 2013 and has been supported by other clubs to maintain patrols over the last two seasons.

Top photo: Ben Stevenson (far left) with members of Taree-Old Bar SLSC. Credit: Manning River Times

Last weekend's working bee and BBQ at Taree-Old Bar SLSC

Fri 29 May 2015