Profile of the Month: William Vaughan-Smith

Our Profile of the Month for September is William Vaughan-Smith from Bermagui SLSC. The 20-year-old joined Surf Life Saving three seasons ago for the chance to socialise with his peers. It proved to be a fruitful decision as he has become heavily involved with the movement, which culminated in being awarded the title of Far South Coast Lifesaver of the Year for 2016.

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why?

I joined Surf Life Saving in 2013 for a number of reasons. I had never really thought about joining SLS until I saw one of my mates from school in the red and yellow uniform, I asked him about it and he told me there was a Bronze Medallion course about to start running and I should join. I was immediately interested because as an apprentice at the time I didn’t get a chance to socialise much with people my own age. This was my chance to meet a variety of new people.

What are the key lessons that you’ve learnt from your time in Surf Life Saving?

Some of the key lessons I have learned include engaging younger SRC and Bronze members so to keep them involved. Many are young and shy and it’s the responsibility of the more experienced members to make them feel welcome. I have also learnt that by just having a presence on the beach and chatting with visitors we can make sure everyone has a much more enjoyable and safe time at the beach. Another thing I have learnt is that there are lots of people who might like to be involved in Surf Life Saving but don’t think they have the skills. They don’t have to be Bronze holders to be valuable to our club and there are many ways to contribute.

Tell us about the moment you were awarded 2016 Far South Coast Lifesaver of the Year.

My first thought was “Me? Really?”. I was a mix of nervous, excited, surprised and extremely grateful to my mentors who nominated me. I had always thought there were people in other clubs who were much more deserving than me and was surprised someone my age could win Far South Coast Lifesaver of the Year!

What does your role as Youth Coordinator entail?

My role as Youth Coordinator is pretty simple. I recruit young members to the club and I am the voice of the youth in committee meetings. My role as Youth Coordinator is to help the youth get the most out of Surf Life Saving. I talk to the younger members of our club and ask them what they would like to get out of Surf Life Saving, how to improve it, the changes they’d like to see, and I then convey this to the committee.

What are you looking forward to about the 2016-17 season?

I am looking forward to training new members up, making new memories, the summer heat, the sunshine and the warmer waters.

What are your goals within Surf Life Saving?

My goals within Surf Life Saving are to become a paid Lifeguard on one of the local beaches, learn new skills that will benefit my club, give back to the community and take on different roles in the committee as I get older.

Tell us about your club Bermagui SLSC.

Bermagui SLSC is one of my favourite things about the South Coast region. It is a tight knit community with a lot of support and a family like feel about it. Bermagui SLSC is a relatively small club and I know just about everyone in the club. Being so small I have been given a lot of opportunities for personal growth I’m not sure I would have been given in a larger club, for example I have been given the chance to join the club committee, mentor SRC members, captain patrols and gain numerous qualifications.

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

It is hard to choose just one person I admire in the Surf Life Saving movement because there are so many wonderful and inspiring people. I would have to choose one of my mentors from my original patrol group, and that would be Cheryl McCarthy. Cheryl is like my SLS mum. She is relatively new to Bermagui surf club, however in the years she has been here she has done so much to change and improve the club. She is always willing to lend a hand, fill in patrols that don’t have enough members patrolling and she always does it with a smile on her face.

Favourite beach that isn’t yours?

My favourite beach that isn’t Horseshoe Bay, would probably have to be either Camel Rock or 1080 out near Mystery Bay. These are beaches from my childhood that made me fall in love with the water and summer.

Photo: William Vaughan-Smith (2nd from right) with fellow Bermagui surf lifesavers.

Fri 30 Sep 2016