National Volunteer Week 2016

National Volunteer Week starts today and Surf Life Saving NSW would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to those who selflessly volunteer their time to protect the community.

Give Happy, Live Happy continues as the theme for National Volunteer Week and it is a theme that the Surf Life Saving family actively tries to embrace.

In the 2015/16 season our volunteer surf lifesavers donated over 680,000 hours of their time to patrol beaches across the state, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of hours of behind the scenes work that are essential for the smooth running of our surf clubs.

Our first National Volunteer Week Profile is Anne-Maree Connolly from Coalcliff SLSC.

Volunteering Australia’s slogan for National Volunteer Week is ‘Give Happy, Live Happy’. What does this mean to you?

Volunteering is giving of oneself - your time, your talent, your smile. When you have the opportunity to do this, you feel self-worth which in turn puts a smile on your face.

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why?

I joined Surf Life Saving in about 2005 through Nippers and was an Age Manager for 10 years. I enjoy seeing the Nippers grow, learn life skills and become lifelong friends through their competition. I have always encouraged them to cheer each other on, wish each other good luck and accept defeat and winning gracefully.

Why do you volunteer?

I believe that there should be a three-way balance in life: family, work and community. Volunteering fulfils part of my community role and I am regularly accompanied by my daughters and husband.

What ways do you contribute to Surf Life Saving as a volunteer?

Most patrol days I join my husband, our Club Captain, to set up the patrol room and the beach. I am Water Safety Officer for Nippers, managing surf craft and personnel. I regularly join patrols other than my own to learn as much as possible as I’m in my first year as a patrolling Bronze medallion holder.

What is your favourite thing about being a volunteer?

My favourite part about being a Surf Life Saving volunteer is the kind acknowledgements from the public who appreciate our presence, knowledge, experience and expertise. A simple wave or thank-you makes the day worthwhile.

What would you tell someone to encourage them to become a Surf Life Saving volunteer?

Come and join our supportive family. There is a job for everyone. If I can do it, anyone can!

Favourite moment as a volunteer in Surf Life Saving?

It is difficult to choose just one favourite moment, there have been so many! The sad, the painful and the funny, the old, young and everything in between. Late one afternoon, just as we were starting to pack up for the day, we had a Muslim woman fall and she needed our assistance. As one of the few women on patrol that day, I was called on to ask her for details, assist in making her comfortable, liaise with her very worried family and pass on information to emergency personnel. The family later returned to the beach to express their gratitude and let us know that she was okay.

Anything additional you would like to add?

I would like to thank all my fellow lifesavers for their encouragement and support and for sharing their knowledge and expertise with me.

Mon 9 May 2016