National Volunteer Week: Mike Le Geyt

Our second profile to celebrate National Volunteer Week is Mike Le Geyt from South Curl Curl SLSC. Mike is the Chief Training Officer and is an Assessor for the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch.

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

Volunteering is about contributing to society - helping others and making a difference. It is such a positive experience for everyone involved – for the individuals and organisations that the volunteers support, and for the volunteers that give their time and support.

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why?

My oldest son, Sam started Nippers in 2007. I started helping out with his sessions, and got more involved from there like many other parents. For me this was a return to surf related activities. I was born and grew up in Jersey, Channel Islands and spent plenty of time ocean kayaking and I qualified as a Teacher with the Royal Life Saving Society when I was at school. I even managed to get my Dad through his Bronze Medallion!

Why do you volunteer?

I gain a great deal of enjoyment from volunteering. In addition to being involved in Surf Life Saving, I am the Chair of Sydney City Group of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.

I like working with others to achieve results and provide opportunities for people. It is particularly rewarding to see the development in others, particularly with our younger members.

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

I am currently the Chief Training Officer for South Curl Curl SLSC, and an Assessor for the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch. I have also been a Nippers Age Manager for a number of years, and was Club Treasurer for two years.

Training and assessing currently takes up most of my time. As Chief Training Officer I work with others to ensure that our club’s 200+ volunteer patrolling members have the skills and training to patrol the beach and deal with any incidents that occur. My role involves conducting refresher and proficiency sessions, running in-house courses at South Curl Curl, booking members on Branch-run and other courses, and providing support and encouragement to members and our training team.

What's the favourite thing about being a volunteer?

I am fortunate to be a volunteer with organisations that I enjoy being a part of and am passionate about. I enjoy being around people that want to contribute and are prepared to put the effort in to make things happen.

With Surf Life Saving I get a great deal of enjoyment training members who have come along to volunteer their time. If they are prepared to put in the effort, so am I.

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

Surf Life Saving is a great organisation to be involved in. It provides a valuable service to the community, including patrolling beaches, running Nipper and other development programs, and raising surf awareness.

Surf Life Saving is a very family friendly and community based organisation, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Our club alone has over 900 members and it is great to see everyone interacting and having fun in such a healthy and positive environment.

I have been fortunate to meet so many people through Surf Life Saving, and really enjoy spending time down the beach with my family, friends, fellow club members and beachgoers.

Favourite moment as a volunteer in Surf Life Saving?

I have quite a few! Seeing the huge smiles on people’s faces when you let them know that they have gained their Bronze Medallion/Surf Rescue Certificate, and all the work that they and their trainers have put into their training has paid off.
Multiple occasions where members have dealt with difficult situations by putting their knowledge and skills into practice (on and off the beach), particularly new members that have completed their first rescues or responded to a first aid incident.

Meeting people that are determined to give things a go. A few weeks ago I swam from South Curl Curl to Freshwater with a 70 year old lady who was determined to complete our annual ocean swim.

Anything additional you would like to add?

It doesn’t matter how much time you have to volunteer – your time, skills and expertise may be just what a volunteer organisation is in need of. Put your hand up and don’t be shy!

Tue 10 May 2016