For this month’s volunteer profile, we catch up with Lucas Karlson from Lorne SLSC.
How long have you been involved in life saving?
I have been involved in lifesaving since 2015, when I completed my Bronze Medallion. I was the first of my family to become involved in lifesaving, and since then three more family members have completed their bronze medallion or surf rescue certificate (SRC) in lifesaving.
Why did you become involved in life saving?
I first found out about lifesaving and the age you could begin through a family friend who had completed their bronze medallion. I became involved in lifesaving because I loved the idea of emergency services and thought lifesaving was the perfect opportunity to pursue this passion. I have wanted to join Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) since I was very young, and lifesaving has given me many great skills and knowledge that will help with joining FRV.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club?
At Lorne SLSC, my responsibilities include being the upcoming patrol captain for the 2020/21 season, the Co-IRB Captain, the Skills Development Camp Coordinator, Silver IRB Camp Coordinator, Bronze Instructor, SRC Instructor, and Skills Development Mentor. All roles have their different challenges, yet provide amazing opportunities not only within Lorne SLSC, yet also all-around Victoria and at LSV.
What do you enjoy most about lifesaving?
The things I enjoy most about lifesaving is firstly all the friends and amazing contacts I have been able to make during my time in lifesaving. Lifesaving has provided me with life-long friends and people who I can rely on to help me whenever need be. Secondly, being involved in lifesaving is extremely rewarding. No matter how small or how big the gesture is, whether it be cleaning the beach, or rescue someone from a rip, the rewarding feeling is unmatchable by anything else. Thirdly, all the life skills and important knowledge I have gained through the training that lifesaving offers has been greatly beneficial, not only on the beach, but also for my general daily life.
How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?
Encouraging other to get involved in lifesaving and volunteering has mostly been about giving people responsibility and ensuring that there is an aspect of fun involved. I found that these are the two most effective ways of retaining and gaining members at the Lorne SLSC, which was demonstrated when we conducted the first ever Skills Development Program at Lorne. Providing new members with responsibility ensured that they felt recognised and gave them an important role on the beach. Providing a fun aspect is also important, as it allows new members to make friends, explore lifesaving pathways and connect with different people in and out of the club.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
My greatest achievement in lifesaving so far was being recognised as LSV’s Westpac Youth Lifesaver of the Year. This award was never really something I set out to achieve, yet it was truly amazing to be recognised at such a high level.
How to you feel about winning the Westpac Victorian Youth Lifesaver of the Year award for 2020?
When I first stepped into the Lorne Surf Club when I was 15, I never expected to be a finalist in the Westpac Victorian Youth Lifesaver of the Year award five years on. I was very honoured and cheerful to be able to receive this award. Receiving this award was also a great opportunity to indicate to younger members at Lorne SLSC that hard work will not go unrecognised and every hour on the beach or working behind the scenes counts. I could not have made it this far in lifesaving without the amazing support of so many people at the Lorne SLSC and at LSV.
How do you feel about you and the club winning LSV’s inaugural Innovation Program award for your skills development program at Lorne SLSC?
When I first started the development of the Skills Development Program, it was never intended for it to win an award. The program was solely intended for younger SRC members in their gap year to have some fun, upskills their knowledge, build a mentor–participant relationship, increase member retention and for SRC’s to be given more responsibility on patrol, which we were successful in doing. Therefore, winning this award was incredible and was an amazing bonus to an already successful and amazing program.
What are your hopes for the program in the coming lifesaving season/how do you want the program to evolve in seasons to come?
Coming into this season, the program is currently being developed as an online course due to COVID-19. The Skills Development team is hoping that the program will be able to run as a COVID – Normal face-to-face program at some point in the season. If it is possible to run face-to-face, the hopes for the program is to incorporate it into other clubs around Victoria who may also be struggling with young member retention. Additionally, the program is taking big steps forward, gaining support from LSV and also being able to incorporate other emergency services such as Ambulance Victoria and Fire Rescue Victoria. The program is also asking young members who participated in the program last season to help produce a schedule of what they would like to see in the program.
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
I currently work one part time job and one casual job while also studying at university. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Business with a major in entrepreneurship. I hope to complete university by 2022 and then apply for Fire Rescue Victoria to start my career there. I also play club basketball, swim, play guitar and enjoy drawing in my spare time.
Current/future volunteer roles:
I currently volunteer for Life Saving Victoria and the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club and am planning to start volunteering for the SES or CFA once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
Previous volunteer roles:
Previously, I have volunteered for the Red Cross in community gardens, E.motion, Camberwell Grammar School fundraisers, Surf Teaching and an Indigenous education program. All volunteer roles have been extremely rewarding and have provided me with great connections and friends.