As Surf Life Saving New Zealand this week celebrates the launch of its inaugural Winter Appeal, the organisation is also taking the opportunity to thank its thousands of volunteer lifeguards during National Volunteer Week- New Zealand's largest celebration of volunteering and civic participation.
While most Kiwis were out enjoying their summer, volunteer lifeguards gave theirs up to help keep the community safe in the water. But their commitment doesn't stop there. The Winter Appeal aims to raise awareness that while most people are pining for the next summer, lifeguards are already training for it.
Last season around 3000 lifeguards spent over 200,000 hours patrolling 80 beaches, saving over 1,600 lives.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand chairman Michael Bassett-Foss says on behalf of Surf Life Saving New Zealand- this National Volunteer Week and all year- he would like to thank every one of the volunteers who have made a significant contribution not only to Surf Life Saving in New Zealand but to the New Zealand community who they continue to keep safe in the water year after year.
"Being a volunteer lifeguard involves much more than giving up your summer to patrol New Zealand's beaches. There are countless hours of training, continued up-skilling and keeping their surf clubs running. Being a volunteer lifeguard is a huge commitment, and for many of our members it's a lifetime commitment. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our national rescue service and we are grateful and proud of every one of them," he says.
National Volunteer Week (NVW) is being celebrated throughout New Zealand from June 16-22 and the theme is "He tÄngata, He tÄngata, He tÄngata!" which emphasises that volunteering is all about people. And it's thanks to our people, our lifeguards, that Surf Life Saving can continue to operate.
But many people don't know that Surf Life Saving is a charity organisation which relies on donations to keep its volunteer lifeguards trained and equipped with the resources to carry out their role.
The Winter Appeal aims to raise much needed funds along with awareness of lifesaving services at a time when the beach isn't front of mind.
There won't be any street collectors out, so to support the Winter Appeal text WINTER or SURF to 4483 to automatically donate $3 or visit www.surflifesaving.org.nz/winterappeal to make a donation online.
To find out more about Surf Life Saving New Zealand or becoming a volunteer lifeguard, please visit www.surflifesaving.org.nz/becomealifeguard.