Surf Life Saving WA’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year Blair Walkington first joined surf life saving in 2011, after moving to Geraldton – a coastal country town 424km north of Perth – for his work as a career firefighter.
The move inspired Blair to join Geraldton SLSC as a way of volunteering, meeting people in a new town, staying fit in summer and developing a greater understanding of the beach.
Throughout his seven years with Surf Life Saving, Blair said he had learned three important values: self assurance, trust and humour.
“Surf Life Saving has taught me to back myself and my ideas, sometimes it takes that person with a differing opinion, who’s willing to stand their ground, to create positive change,” Blair said.
“The value of trust has been impressed upon me, whether it is trusting others ideas, opinions and abilities. Every person brings something different and valuable to a team.”
“Through Surf Life Saving, I have also learned, most importantly, not take things too seriously,” he said.
Before joining Geraldton SLSC, Blair admits he only visited the beach once a month. Now, you’ll more than likely to find him doing something surf lifesaving related and failing to complete his DIY at-home projects.
Seven years on, Blair said his fellow clubbies would describe him as pedantic, passionate, driven and always willing to lend a hand.
Blair has undertaken a variety of roles at his club, from Patrol Captain to Trainer, while also taking on State-level roles such as Program Director of Surf Life Saving WA’s TOAD and Rise-Up Camps.
When it comes to being involved at a Club level, Blair says he gets a lot of inspiration from the older Club members.
“Some of the elder Club members are in their 70’s and still charge around like young bucks. It’s great to see what the healthy lifestyle that SLS revolves around has meant to them,” Blair said.
“On the other end of the scale, every year I get motivated by the TOAD and Rise Up camp attendees. It’s hard not to get swept up in their enthusiasm and be reminded about how cool some of the things that we take for granted are.”
Blair wants to encourage younger members to have a go at everything there is to offer in Surf Life Saving.
“If there’s a course, qualification, camp, college or whatever that you can go on then apply or have a go. Surf Life Saving presents us with some amazing opportunities you’ve just got put yourself out there,” he said.
With Blair’s priceless involvement in Surf Life Saving, we think the career Firefighter can be forgiven for not completing his DIY home projects!