Volunteer Profile: Joanne Burch

Volunteer Roles:

Youth Leadership & Development (Nippers – 5 years)

Club Vice Captain – 2 years

Club Captain – 2 years

Patrol captain – 8 years

National Leadership College delegate

Facilitator Pink Zinc All Female Patrol – Point Lonsdale and Ocean Grove SLSC – 3 years

Presenter Valuing Volunteer Events / Awards of Excellence

Rip View Swim Classic Water Safety Coordinator – 8 years

Joanne, her dad Hugh, and dog Ralphy patrolling on Australia Day as a family 2017


Current Club: Point Lonsdale SLSC


How long have you been involved in lifesaving?

I have been involved for 19 years.


What made you become involved in lifesaving?

I started in U/10 nippers and have not looked back since. My parents signed my brother and I up at Point Lonsdale SLSC, so we could learn to be safe around the water.

Joanne and Bec Sampson appearing in the Geelong Advertiser for the pink zinc patrol in 2017

What are some of your responsibilities at your club?

Recently, I have stepped down as club captain, so my responsibilities currently include mentoring, leadership and providing support to the new younger members taking on roles I have previously held. My largest role did include everything that came with being club captain – managing patrols, patrol rosters, rescues, beach safety, etc. Another big responsibility was managing the water safety for the Rip View Swim Classic – it’s a big day with lots of pressure.


What do you enjoy most about lifesaving?

I enjoy the volunteering aspect – giving my time to a worthy organisation. I think it’s good to always give back to the community in some way and enjoy the wider values and morals of doing that, as well as patrolling beaches and ensuring people are safe when they come to Point Lonsdale to swim.  I also enjoy the physical and metal benefits that lifesaving volunteering provides. Volunteering provides purpose in life and enables you to see outside your own world.


How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?

In my sessions as a psychologist, I am often encouraging young people to find a hobby/ physical activity to help improve their mental health. I frequently talk about my experiences with lifesaving and suggest my clients look at it as an option. I feel lifesaving provides many benefits – mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and even professionally.


What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?

A proud moment was being the second female club captain at Point Lonsdale SLSC.


What types of rescues have you been involved in? I have been involved in varied rescues, mainly at Point Lonsdale back beach using a tube, board, IRB and even no equipment. More recently, as patrol captain, I have been involved in overseeing and managing rescues as they unfold.

Hosting the 2018 LSV Awards of Excellence

What’s been the most surprising part of being a volunteer with your club?

The opportunities that come from being a member are numerous and the benefits multiple. For example, I had a job interview for a psychologist position and the interviewer said: “I was down at Point Lonsdale last weekend and saw the patrols – they are great.” I feel it helped me get the job, as it set me apart from the other candidates and helped lighten the mood in the interview. This surprised me at the time, but now I know it’s a reason why I continue to stay involved.


When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?

  • I am a child/adolescent psychologist. I work 2 days at week at Fitzroy High School and then 4 days in private practice in Eltham.
  • I have a golden retriever (pet therapy dog) named Ralphy. I take him to work with me and also volunteer in pet therapy programs e.g. Rosanna Library Paws to read program/ hospital visits/nursing homes.
  • I enjoy spending time with my family/ friends – cooking/ eating out
  • I exercise every day and enjoy being active


What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you? My parents advice has always been very helpful and meaningful. “Do your best, stick to your values and give back to the wider community where you can”.

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