Clubbie Profile September: Leanne James

Our Clubbie Profile for September 2014 is Leanne James from Sawtell SLSC, who has been named the first female President in the history of the club.

Name: Leanne James

Age: 46

Surf Life Saving Club: Sawtell

Occupation: I work for Westpac as a Team Assistant to our Northern NSW and Metro NSW Financial Planning Teams. I enjoy supporting a great team of planners that help everyday Australians achieve their financial goals.

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why? I did my Bronze Medallion about 12 years ago when my kids were doing nippers at Wanda SLSC. Wanda had about 500 nippers and there was always a call for parents to assist with water safety. I have always loved the surf so decided to do my bronze so I could help out. My passion is helping children to enjoy and be safe in the surf and all the aspects it offers. My own four children have all been involved in nippers, with my older two going on to compete at a senior level, and the younger 2 continuing with nippers at Sawtell.

What does it mean to be named the first female Club President for Sawtell? It is an honour, although a little daunting and I have been humbled to receive amazing support from the club and community. We have an amazing committee and so many wonderful dedicated people who all work together to ensure the operations and maintenance of our club is run efficiently and effectively. The contributions made by our members is the reason why Sawtell SLSC is seen to be an important part of the community and a great club.

What is your favourite clubbie memory? I love being in the water with nippers while they are doing an ocean swim or paddling a board and helping them overcome their fears. It’s great to watch their faces when they have accomplished their first ocean swim or caught an amazing wave and see how proud they are.

Why do you volunteer as a lifesaver? I enjoy working with the community and I want people to enjoy and appreciate the surf as much as I do. I also think it’s important for the wider community to also understand and respect the ocean, and appreciate that conditions can change quickly and change from being so calm to being wild.

Who is someone you admire in the Surf Life Saving movement and why? I admire my previous patrol captain and the current First Aid Officer of our club Dennis Meagher. Dennis is a dedicated member of our club and has recently been made a life member. Dennis is responsible for ensuring club members are ready for their proficiencies each season, along with training kids each year from Armidale for their Bronze Medallions. Apart from his contribution to the surf club, Dennis has inspired me in many ways, showing courage in dealing with the death of his beloved wife one year ago, managing his own continuing cancer treatment and running his first full marathon this year at the age of 75. He has amazing strength and determination in all he does and he is a fantastic mentor to me.

What are your goals within Surf Life Saving and for Sawtell? I love Sawtell. It is an incredible place to live and raise a family. I want to increase the profile of Surf Lifesaving in the community and encourage more families to join our club with the aim of building ocean awareness for both parents and children, and promoting an active and healthy lifestyle. I am passionate about the surf and want local children to be able to enjoy all aspects of it and grow up to be active patrolling members for the club.

Recently we have lodged a development application with Coffs City Council to renovate the club and we are waiting on approval for this. The current building was built by the community just over 30 years ago and is now in need of some work. We are anticipating exciting and busy times ahead.

You also love your sport? My other passion is Masters Competition (over 30’s) - I would love to see an increase in numbers of Masters competing on the North Coast. At Sawtell we have the most competitors in the branch and I encourage all Masters to get involved and compete as it is a fun way to stay fit and also a good role model for the younger kids to see us being active and enjoying ourselves.

Photo thanks to Rob Cleary - Seen Australia.

Thu 25 Sep 2014