Mallacoota volunteer lifesaver, Brodie Scott, has just returned from a life-changing experience in Sri Lanka as part of the Life Saving Victoria Building Leaders Scholarship program.
From growing up in a town in which the population is no more than 1000 people to venturing overseas to teach her lifesaving skills in a third world country is quite the achievement.
“Before starting this program there was no way I would have had the confidence to stand in front of a group of people who don’t speak English, and teach them our world-renowned lifesaving skills,” Brodie said.
“But I did it and I am so honoured that I had the opportunity.”
Brodie has been part of the Mallacoota Surf Life Saving Club for more than six years, participating in volunteer patrols, fundraising and training events and as a paid lifeguard over the summer months to keep the Mallacoota beachgoers safe.
Through her passion for helping people and making a difference to many communities she wanted to share her knowledge further while challenging herself. This is why she applied for the Building Leaders Scholarship.
The aim of the Building Leaders Scholarship is to develop individual and team leaders, giving scholars the opportunity to excel both personally and professionally through workshops and specialised training.
Every session the scholars attended they were faced with challenges that had to be overcome. Brodie found these sessions extremely rewarding as she saw the continuous development of her fellow scholars and the amazing group of individuals she was surrounded by.
The team developed a program over the course of six months that they took over to Sri Lanka, spending four days delivering their training content. This ranged from all aspects of patrol operations to inflatable rescue boat (IRB) crew refreshers and IRB driver training.
“The most challenging part of the training was the limited equipment and resources available to us over in Sri Lanka,” Brodie said.
“It’s really amazing to see how well looked after their equipment is and how important it is to them to have functional and usable resources.”
Sri Lankan personnel who attended this training included members of the army, navy, coast guard, Sri Lanka Police and members of the surf life saving clubs.
“From the very start of each session it amazed me how much concentration and the enthusiasm the participants brought to our training,” Brodie said.
“They were like sponges, absorbing every bit of information and then demonstrating it with practical activities. It was so satisfying to see and be a part of.
“With each new group of participants it was great to see how involved and attentive they were. Being able to fly through our training content and delve into more advanced levels of training, at the request of the group, just showed how committed they are to broadening and improving their skill sets.”
As much as it benefits the Sri Lankan communities and is annually reducing the country’s drowning rate, it is also important for Life Saving Victoria and its young leaders to be exposed to these environments and have such experiences.
Having programs like the Building Leaders Scholarship gives lifesavers such a unique and life-changing experience, pushing them outside of their comfort zones when placed in a challenging environment.
Brodie believes it is important that we challenge ourselves and give new experiences a go.
“Applying for the building leaders scholarship has been one of the best and most fulfilling decisions I have made,” she said.
“The personal development and confidence has been phenomenal and to impart my knowledge on the Sri Lankan community has been extremely rewarding.
“I strongly believe that when these opportunities arise we need to jump right in and give it a go.”
IMAGE: Mallacoota volunteer lifesaver, Brodie Scott (front, fifth from left), with fellow leaders and the group they took through training in Sri Lanka. (PS)