LSV smashes membership record

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Life Saving Victoria (LSV), and we now have more than ever, surpassing 43,000 dedicated members across our 57 clubs in season 2021 – 22. 

This figure represents an 11 per cent increase on the 2020-21 membership and is our largest since 2007-08. 

Of LSV’s 57 lifesaving clubs, 37 achieved 100 per cent or more of their previous year’s membership. 

Victoria’s only inland lifesaving club, Mildura, recorded a 51 per cent boost, thanks to its efforts to build youth programs, including nippers.  

Mildura LSC has focussed on developing its youth members, who now make up half of its patrol force.

According to Mildura president Adrian Adams, just five years ago the club didn’t have a nippers program and their committee comprised only three members – a figure that has now grown to 15. 

“Seven years ago, we established our key strategy to invest in the youth, and after two years of hard work we launched our nippers program to build from the bottom up,” Mr Adams said.  

“This year, we have had 12 kids come through the program and go on to complete their surf rescue certificate or bronze medallion, and now they make up 50 per cent of our patrolling membership.” 

Sandringham Life Saving Club increased its membership by 22 per cent in season 2021-22, thanks to its efforts to connect with the local community. 

President Vicky McKay said this included water safety activities with Sandringham College students, a Sunday community swimming session, and implementing Surf Life Saving Australia’s silver salties initiative to engage older community members with the club.

Sandringham LSC’s Silver Salties program has allowed the club to recruit new members from the broader local community.

“To connect with the broader community, particularly seniors, we are offering activities beyond providing patrol services, such as fitness and wellbeing activities at the club five days per week,” Ms McKay said. 

“We’ve had 50 people sign up since October 2021, which is so important post-COVID as these people may have experienced social isolation, so it gives people a sense of belonging, as well as activities beneficial for both physical and mental health.” 

In the state’s east, Woodside Beach Surf Life Saving Club also achieved a 22 per cent membership increase. 

Club president Travis Dillow said a big part of this was using social media for year-round engagement with the club, as well as highlighting membership and leadership development pathways.

Member and leadership development has been a prime focus at Woodside Beach SLSC.

“We have members hailing all the way from Gippsland to the inner-city, so keeping people interacting during off-season encourages them to return to the beach and patrol with their friends each summer,” Mr Dillow said. 

“Many of our members are annual holidaymakers at the caravan park, so this social interaction also encourages parents and other older members to spend their summers at the club contributing to the community. 

“We are also promoting the pathways beyond achieving the bronze medallion once members turn 18, which is typically a drop-out rate, such as employment opportunities like paid lifeguard work, which three of our members did this year.” 

While patrol season for 2021-22 may be over, many of our clubs stay active over the winter or will be recruiting new members for season 2022-23. Visit lsv.com.au to find a club near you!  

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