Laura Buckley of Fairhaven SLSC has been involved with lifesaving since she was a child and is now the coordinator for Life Saving Victoria’s Female Leadership Network.
In July 2019, Laura won LSV’s Awards of Excellence award for Volunteer Assessor of the Year.
Current Club: Fairhaven SLSC
How long have you been involved in lifesaving?
I started out doing Nippers at age seven at Anglesea SLSC. I then moved on to do my Bronze Medallion and other advanced awards (and moved across to Fairhaven SLSC) and here I am still involved 20 years later! This year was my 14th season patrolling.
Why did you become involved in lifesaving?
I was lucky enough to holiday with my parents every summer down at the Surf Coast at either Anglesea back in the day or Fairhaven for the last 20 years. As a kid I didn’t mind Nippers but I think my passion really kicked off when I did my Bronze Medallion and was able to wear the red and yellow and then even more so when I began training others.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club?
I currently don’t have a committee role at Fairhaven after stepping down as Vice President of Training and Assessment in 2018. Now I am focusing more on our member leadership and development. I am the patrol mentor of my patrol which I used to captain and I help to run our annual women’s events Pink Patrol and Ladies Luncheon. I have also introduced a new event for our younger members in the 2020 season to encourage them to stick around and will look to introduce more leadership programs and opportunities for them. Apart from that I still do all of my patrols each year and help to assess courses and skills maintenance whenever I can.
What do you enjoy most about lifesaving?
Without a doubt the best part of lifesaving is the friendships and connections that you make. I now have lifelong friends all around the country that I have met through lifesaving and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
I have always liked the feeling of being on patrol giving back to the community and it has also been incredibly rewarding over the years to train and develop the younger members at the club.
In recent years I have enjoyed pushing myself further and meeting new people outside my club. In 2019 I participated in the National Leadership College which was an amazing experience and being part of the Female Leadership Network (FLN) Panel at LSV since 2018 has been really rewarding so far. I am also currently enjoying being a mentor in LSV’s mentor program.
How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?
I try to explain to people the amazing benefits lifesaving gives you and that each person will get something different out of it. Not only is it rewarding giving back to your community but the other great selling points are the friendships you create and also the personal development that comes from being involved. There are so many opportunities in lifesaving at a club, state and national level that I don’t think people realise how lucky we are to have. My advice is to say yes and stay involved for as long as possible – you never know where it will take you.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
In 2019 I won Assessor of the Year for Victoria which was a great honour and reward for hard work over the years. Whilst I didn’t win nationally I still went to the Gold Coast for the awards night and had a ball. I was just grateful to be nominated and representing Victoria.
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
Outside of lifesaving I’m a chartered accountant who enjoys a bit of running and Pilates during the week. I also like to travel and spend my weekends with friends or relaxing (preferably on the beach!). I spend my summer break at Fairhaven but I am there whenever I can during the year just to get my fix and see the surf club crew.
What’s your involvement been like with LSV’s FLN?
I joined the FLN panel in 2018 and have enjoyed every minute of it and already made some great friends. I have met some amazing women in lifesaving and have heard from some really inspiring speakers along the way. It has been really interesting and encouraging to learn what women are doing in their clubs all around the state. I have also been lucky to be involved in assisting clubs to roll out a Pink Patrol this season. I look forward to seeing what else we can do with FLN for 2020 and beyond and I encourage everyone to come to one of the sessions throughout the year. If you’d like to be more involved in FLN please reach out to me.
Current volunteer roles:
Patrol Mentor Fairhaven SLSC, Female Leadership Network Coordinator at Life Saving Victoria.
Previous volunteer roles:
Patrol captain, chief assessor, Vice President Training and Assessment, Female Leadership Network Member Pathway Coordinator.