Jessica Robinson was recently awarded Youth Life Saver of the Year at the annual Awards of Excellence for her outstanding contribution to the delivery of patrolling frontline services. She is not only Junior Club Captain, but has also completed the Advanced Lifesaving Camp as well as achieved her Gold Medallion. Here is her lifesaving story.
Point Lonsdale SLSC
How long have you been involved in lifesaving?
I have been involved in lifesaving since U/8 nippers which I did in 2008/09. I completed my SRC in 2014, my Bronze in 2016 and my Gold in 2018.
Why did you become involved in lifesaving?
I became involved in lifesaving because my parents enrolled me in nippers. However, I chose to stay involved in lifesaving because I had made so many new friends as well as learnt so many new skills and I realised how beneficial lifesaving is. I have had opportunities to go on leadership development camps as well as learn first aid and surf skills.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club?
My key responsibilities in the club last season were to organise all of the new SRC’s into patrols as well as tell them what they need when patrolling and give them guidance about how to patrol. I also had the job of training the nipper instructors and teaching them how to teach the nippers. As Pink Zinc Coordinator, I worked with the Ocean Grove Pink Zinc Coordinator to put the day together and ensure we had enough people for a full patrol and that everyone had a good day.
What do you enjoy most about lifesaving?
I enjoy the like-minded people I get to meet. Lifesaving brings together people who are interested in staying active, learning new skills and helping their community, and these are all things I enjoy. I think that you get out what you put in with lifesaving.
For me I have said yes to most opportunities I have been given and that is why I have enjoyed it so much. I have had opportunities to gain experience in leading groups of nippers aged 7-13 as well as help train new SRC and Bronze candidates. Working with people who are a range of ages has given me the opportunity to learn from people with much more experience than me, and I think the ability for younger people to be given leadership roles and be mentored by more experienced people is something that is quite unique about lifesaving.
What advice would you give to others thinking about getting involved in lifesaving?
If you are still of nipper age, I 100 per cent recommend you ask your parents to enrol you in nippers. It is a great way to get involved and familiarise yourself with a lifesaving club. If you haven’t done nippers and are at least 13-15 try and do an SRC/Bronze camp. Out of these you will gain qualifications which will allow you to patrol, this is a great way to meet new people and once again become more involved with your lifesaving club.
I think a key way to get involved is just say “yes”. Check your club website, the LSV website and circulars for different events and opportunities which may be on. This is a great way to network and find out about what is happening in the lifesaving world.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
Prior to being awarded Westpac Youth Lifesaver of the Year, my greatest achievement in lifesaving would be my involvement with the Pink Zinc Patrol. This patrol is an all-female patrol which is a collaborative effort between Ocean Grove SLSC and Point Lonsdale SLSC. Last season I was one of the coordinators of this patrol and I had the opportunity to be a leader for women in lifesaving and inspire other women to continue to be involved.
You were recently awarded youth lifesaver of the year at the 2019 Awards of Excellence. Tell us a little about your past 12 months in lifesaving and what it means to win this award.
This is an award which I never expected to win or even be nominated for by my Club President. The past 12 months has been pretty busy in lifesaving. In September of 2018, I participated in the LSV Advanced Lifesaving Camp and then got my Gold Medallion. I then began working as part of the paid lifeguard service. I instructed the Point Lonsdale Cadet and Bronze camps and also began my role as Junior Club Captain which involved assisting the Patrol Captain with ensuring all the new SRC’s were sorted into patrols. I also was the Training and Development Officer for the Nippers Program, which involved me educating the nipper instructors about how to teach nippers.
I am very honoured to win the Youth Lifesaver of the Year award as recognition for my work in lifesaving so far. It inspires me to continue to look at ways I can contribute to my club, and it also broadens my horizons and encourages me to look at both development and learning opportunities and other ways I can contribute across the broader LSV community.
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
I am currently in Year 12, so that is keeping me very busy and I haven’t had as much time to do too much other than school and lifesaving related activities. However, when I am not at school I like to dance, play netball and bake.
Current volunteer roles:
- Club Vice Captain
- Patrol Captain
- Pink Zinc Coordinator
Previous volunteer roles:
- Junior Club Captain
- Training and Development Officer (Nippers)
- Patrol Vice Captain
- Patrol Junior Vice Captain