LSV Volunteer Profile: Janet Jones
Anglesea SLSC’s Janet Jones is coordinator and co-founder of Starfish Nippers, which is a modified Nipper’s program for children and young adults with a disability. The program aims to give young people with disabilities beach safety and water awareness skills. She has also patrolled and competed in the surf boats. Here’s her lifesaving story:
Current Club: Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club
How long have you been involved in lifesaving?
I have been involved in the Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club for 17 years.
What made you become involved in lifesaving?
I first became involved in the Anglesea Surf life Saving Club when my 3 children started out in the program in 2002. I completed my Bronze Medallion in 2013 and became an Age Group leader in the Nippers program, as well as patrolling and competing in the surf boats section for a few years.
In 2010, we trialled integrating a child with a disability into an age group with a trainer. Then in 2011, Naomi Symington and I decided to establish the Starfish Nippers program at Anglesea, because we wanted children with all abilities to have an opportunity to participate in Nippers.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club?
Co-ordinating the Starfish Nippers program at Anglesea and supporting other clubs across Australia who want to implement Starfish Nippers.
What do you most enjoy about lifesaving?
Getting active on the beach with children and young adults with a disability.
How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?
I try to share the positive experience l’ve had with lifesaving and volunteering.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
One of the things I’m most proud about is that Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club has a water safety program, which includes children and young people of all abilities embedded in the Nipper program.
Please tell us about your role within education and what inspired you to take this path?
For the past 12 years, I have worked at Ballarat Specialist School to help senior students to obtain work experience and part-time jobs and help them transition from school. Through my work, I have become very passionate about the importance of programs and services that cater for people of all abilities.
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
Outside of work hours I love keeping active. Over the past 20 years, I have enjoyed getting together with friends and participating in ironman triathlons, marathons, ocean swims, paddling and bike riding along the Great Ocean Road.
What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?
The best advice I have been given is to get out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges. A Former Principal of Ballarat Specialist School John Burt taught me this through his positive, trusting approach to others. Through my many challenges to overcome cancer I want to continue to take up every opportunity to enjoy life.