For this month’s volunteer profile, we catch up with Jaci Chin-Jewson about her long-standing involvement in lifesaving and her tips for younger members just starting out:
Jan Juc SLSC and Anglesea SLSC
Current volunteer roles:
Publications and Communications Manager at Jan Juc SLSC
Previous volunteer roles:
Age Group Manager
How long have you been involved in life saving?
I obtained my Bronze Medallion in 1989. I have completed 15 years of patrol, taking time off from patrolling to have children.
Why did you become involved in life saving?
We had moved to Jan Juc from Geelong and thought the best way to get to know people was to join the Surf Life Saving Club. We had always loved the beach and all things aquatic.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club/s?
I have been a volunteer membership manager in the good old days at Jan Juc before Surfguard and have been a Publications & Communications Manager since my involvement with the Club. I became a paid Administration Coordinator when Surfguard came onto the scene, but have continued with my volunteer Publications & Communications role. I have been heavily involved in all the Club’s fundraising events – developing flyers, entry forms and T-shirt designs.
I have been an active lifesaver for 15 years, an Age Group Manager for the Nipper Program and Team Manager for Masters.
I am a paid Administration Coordinator at Anglesea SLSC but still undertake my volunteer roles at Jan Juc SLSC.
What do you enjoy most about life saving?
I love the camaraderie and family atmosphere of being involved in a surf life saving club. I like that there is something for everyone in surf lifesaving. Your involvement level can be small or large and all is appreciated. I like all the opportunities lifesaving offers.
How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?
Being in an administration role now, I often answer enquiries about joining the Club, mainly for Nippers. I am very passionate in ‘selling’ surf lifesaving as an all-round development of young people, not only in their surf awareness and surf skills, but also for community service and personal development in life skills such as self-awareness, developing teamwork, building relationships and leadership skills and giving young people an extra skill that can enhance employability and help with uni selection.
What is your greatest achievement in life saving so far?
At Jan Juc I have been lucky enough to have been awarded the most outstanding female member award twice and also the President’s Trophy for most outstanding member. I have also been a member of the patrol team awarded the most efficient patrol three times. My greatest achievements would have to be having my three sons heavily involved in surf lifesaving. Two were successful in competition and became professional lifeguards whilst they were at uni. The best was when we all patrolled together in the same patrol.
What keeps you busy?
Although I no longer patrol I am still very involved in beach activities – ski paddling and stand up paddle boarding. I also play beach volleyball and have recently taken up hiking.
How has your life and routine changed since coronavirus?
I am working from home and so not seeing so many of our lifesaving community. I am grateful that it is winter. I have been able to continue ski paddling and stand up paddle boarding and took up hiking as a means of getting out of the house and staying active.
What tips would you like to give younger members/those just starting out in life saving?
Take every opportunity your Club and Life Saving Victoria have to offer and get as involved with you club as you can. There are so many opportunities to further your skills in so many different areas in surf lifesaving. You don’t have to be a great competitor (I wasn’t).
Gain all the awards you can. They are often free or very little cost and can be used outside lifesaving.
If you’re not that great on a board or swimming, patrol as a first aid officer. It’s a great way to participate in community service without getting wet!
Make lots of friends.