National Volunteer Week: Geoff Horsey

Our fourth National Volunteer Week profile is Trainer and Facilitator Geoff Horsey from Evans Head-Casino SLSC. Geoff has been part of Surf Life Saving for more than 50 years and now passes his knowledge on to younger generations coming through the ranks.

Name: Geoff Horsey

Age: Cannot remember, I do have anniversaries of my 50th birthday, but do not ask how many.

Club: Evans Head-Casino SLSC, in the Far North Coast Branch, I call it paradise.

Occupation: Retired, so that I can work full time as a volunteer in my current position as Branch Director of Education in the Far North Coast Branch and other jobs that come along.

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why?
A long time ago. I joined because I got into a situation and fell off my surfmat, remember those hire ones at Manly? [no leg ropes in those days] It was in big surf, I got dumped, panicked and had to get rescued by the patrol. The lifesavers talked me into joining and that's when the journey began.

Why do you volunteer
Over the years I have learnt a lot about what goes on in all parts of the organisation and my active patrolling days are over so why not pass all this knowledge on to others? I thoroughly enjoy training and assessing and will continue to do so as long as I can keep up with the ongoing changes within Surf Life Saving.

How many hours in total have you volunteered for Surf Life Saving?
I do not have enough fingers and toes to count these hours, who keeps a record of the hours we put in, but the following will give you a bit of an idea. I got a 50 years’ Long Service award in 2012, 40 years’ training and assessing, 30 years’ officiating at Country, State and National Championships and to date this season I have 58 entries in my Vet Log Book. So how can you and why would you try to add up the hours for this service when you do it because you love and enjoy it.

What's the favourite thing about been a volunteer?
When you are doing something you enjoy and passing on your knowledge to help others. What I like is at the end of an assessment you tell the squad that yes they are all competent and have gained their respective award and to see the look of joy on their faces and later they come up to you and say thanks.

What would you tell someone to encourage them to become a Surf Life Saving volunteer?
First of all, what it’s all about. The awards system, patrolling and the benefits of this and how it helps them and others, surf sports and where this can take them; plus how it can help them as an individual within SLS and the outside world including employment and so on. And also how it has helped me and what I have got out of it and I would then tell them to visit the local surf club to meet their members.

Favourite moment as a volunteer in Surf Life Saving?
Heck how much time have you got, there are so many things that I could mention. While I was a marshall at the State and National Championships and being thanked by competitors, giving a patrol a not so good result in a patrol audit and still being thanked, feeling welcome in all clubs within my branch. I still feel being able to tell a group of candidates that yes, you have gained your appropriate award and this is the beginning of their journey within SLS, sits at the top of my list.

Anything additional you would like to add?
I have given a big percentage of my free time to Surf Life Saving and what I have got out of it is too much to mention, the friends I have made are for life, the places I've been in Australia and overseas are great memories. If I could relive life again would I make any changes? Some I would, but as a volunteer within Surf Life Saving no way, I'm here to stay.

WIN! WIN! WIN! Don't forget to enter our National Volunteer Week competition and go in the running to win an Engine Swim prize pack. All you have to do is nominate a lifesaver you think deserves to be recognised. Tag a fellow clubbie on our Facebook page post and you could BOTH win. You have until midnight on the 17 May 2015.

Top photo: Geoff (right) with club mates.

Geoff, Max Godbee (Yamba) and Jim Flannagan (former Far North Coast Branch President) in California at the 1978 World Lifesaving Tour.

Geoff (far left) and fellow club mates at the 2014 SLSNSW Awards of Excellence.

Thu 14 May 2015