My Beach

Four lucky members from Quinns Mindarie, Fremantle and Coogee Beach Surf Life Saving Clubs represented WA and their Clubs at the annual Surf Life Saving Australia National Leadership College.

These individuals were among those nominated to attend the week long college from 4 to 10 February, at YMCA Sydney Olympic Park Lodge, NSW.

This intensive training course is designed to guide participants to finding their own leadership style and aid them in developing skills and capabilities that will enable them to play a key role in the future of the surf life saving movement. It’s a great opportunity for our future leaders to learn new skills in the areas of leadership and development, that will aid them not only for their future with Surf Life Saving but also every day life.

Caelee France (Quinns Mindarie SLSC) was one of our WA members who attended the college. Read more about her experience below:

Q. When and why did you join surf lifesaving?
A. I joined in 2010 (at age 12). I watched my dad and brothers do it as a kid. I had always looked up to lifesavers and think of the beach as my happy place, so what better way to spend my summer than to be doing something to help the community and becoming something I look up to.

Q. Who nominated you for the National Leadership College and why?
A. My club president supported my nomination. I know that in my club if you’re willing to try something they do their best to make it happen.

Q. Tell us about your experience. What was your biggest highlight?
A. Wow. Where do I even start? The whole camp is definitely an experience I’ll remember forever. I got so much out of it personally and as an aspiring leader in surf. We were all challenged, confronted, inspired and more. I gained so much more confidence within myself, made some lasting friendships and gained some awesome role models and mentors. We got to do some pretty amazing and quirky things; get up close and personal just hours after first meeting each other, approach strangers by ourselves in Circular Quay, explore Bondi working in teams to complete an ‘Amazing Race’, take part in a talent quest with only a day for preparation, meet amazing leaders from different organisations as well as from within surf.

Personally, I got a lot out of a session we had about BrandYOU. It was run by Richard Sauerman who spoke a lot about being you; being confident within yourself, remembering your why and doing everything you can do to be a ’10’. He talked about breaking out of our comfort zones so we don’t just survive, but thrive.

Q. What were the biggest takeaways from the National Leadership College? What did you learn?
A. I learnt so much about myself and also a lot about how other surf clubs work which was really interesting. It was such a beneficial experience getting lots of ideas that I’d like to take forward to my club. I think I had a lot of personal development as so many of the sessions hit home for me – I came away with a vision, the ‘why’ I do what I do. My vision: I really want to inspire and help people. To be able to get people excited to learn and get the most out of what they’re doing in their life – whether it’s big or small. From that I can continue to develop myself and be rewarded by the development of others. From inspiration comes passion, excitement and dedication. If I can inspire, I can help people, whether it is me helping them directly or inspiring them to help themselves.

Q. How can you apply the skills you learned to your everyday life?
A. I’d use some of the processes when I come across a situation that would need them and the other skills, I’d like to think that they just come more naturally now. I think my communication skills, particularly my active listening, have really improved so that is something I can take with me in everything I do.

Q. You’re an instructor with Surf Life Saving WA. How can you use the skills you’ve learned through the College, in your work with SLSWA?
A. I think that in the future I would be more willing to put ideas forward for the development of our programs and will consistently provide feedback for any concerns that may arise, as well as the positives. I’d like to think that I may be able to step up into more of a supervisor role when it comes to running programs. I think that I’ll be more confident in my teaching skills and will be able to keep up more of a positive attitude.

Q. What would you say to someone who had an opportunity to attend the College?
A. DO IT. Commit, take the risk and see where it takes you. This was honestly one of the best experiences of my life and I’m so happy I took the opportunity when it came to me. You honestly will never experience anything like it, you just have to go!

Q. What are your future plans within surf lifesaving, what do you want to achieve?
A. There are so many things I was inspired to do. I’d mostly like to focus on member development and youth involvement within my club. I’m going to try get my trainer qualification so I can help in training the bronzies and hopefully start up a Bronze Camp for the youth. I’d really like to get a mentor program happening so we can provide more opportunities/a helping hand to our younglings [sic] to try keep them interested and involved with Surf Life Saving. Personally, I’d really like to get my IRB crew and eventually drivers so I can help out a bit more, and maybe I’ll even give competing a crack!