A veteran Surf Lifesaver of almost 20 years, Monica Wilkie embodies the Australian values through her volunteer work.
She says: “The qualities I’m most proud of about being an Australian is our sense of community, our sense of having a go, looking after your mate… and all of that is embodied in being a Surf Lifesaver.
“We have this iconic red and yellow but behind that red and yellow, there is an army; it doesn’t matter where you come from, there’s always something for everyone.” Find out more about Surf Life Saving Australia here: https://sls.com.au
Transcript:[Monica Wilkie]: The best part of being a volunteer Surf Lifesaver, would have to be the fact it’s extremely rewarding. You are giving back to something bigger than yourself, a purpose greater than yourself.
My name’s Monica Wilkie, I’m 29 years old. I’m a volunteer Surf Lifesaver. I’ve been doing Surf Life Saving for almost 20 years. Currently a long service member of Mermaid Beach Surf Life Saving Club on the Gold Coast, and Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club just up the road.
Putting on that red and yellow is an extremely proud moment. That iconic red and yellow finalised and finished off with that red and yellow cap. You come down, assess the beach, look at the conditions, see where it’s best placed and safest place for us to put the flags up.
8 A.M., the beach is open, welcome to our beach. The ocean doesn’t discriminate, and neither do we.
And essentially the crux of that is: whether you’re male, female, what ethnicity, what background you come from…
If you’re swimming between those red and yellow flags, all of that strips away and we’re there for you.
In 2017 I was fortunate enough to be involved with a Surf Life Saving Australia campaign about diversity, and increasing diversity within our movement.
It’s so important to encourage cultural diversity in Surf Life Saving, because as a country, and as a community,
we are culturally diverse. If we can encourage that within our movement, then it’s a reflection of who we are.
That iconic red and yellow and Surf Life Saving is such a strong part of who we are and our identity. You end up becoming friends, and close friends with people that you might not ordinarily come into contact with.
When I went through as the Surf Girl here, now I’m the Surf Woman, as it’s termed, I was very fortunate to have a strong female mentor in Mel, and I’ve come through and made some great contributions and then for me to be able to go on and mentor Sophie; has been a great progression through our Surf Life Saving life and journey, if I can put it that way.
I think it’s extremely important to have women role models particularly in Surf Life Saving, because it instils that inspiration and that confidence that, hey, we can do it.
Surf com, surf com. This is Mermaid Beach Patrol.
We’ve just sent out a board rescue about fifteen meters offshore. So we’re trained to be prepared for all kinds of emergency situations as and when they arise. Whether it’s a missing child, whether it’s a suspected spinal, or whether it’s someone drowning. We are prepared, we are ready and our training kicks in and it’s all about staying calm, but responding to the situation with our skills and our knowledge; all which have been imparted to us by other volunteer Surf Life Savers, and who have given us those skills to be able to respond.
The qualities I believe that I’m most proud of about being an Australian, is our sense of community. Our sense of having a go and looking after your mate; and I think all of that is embodied in being a volunteer Surf Lifesaver. We have got this iconic red and yellow but behind that red and yellow, there is an army. You can come and be part of the community. Something bigger than yourself, and connect with other people and it doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, there’s always something for everyone and we can enjoy that together.