Rookie and Survive & Save Instructor, Mia Green talks to Lifesavers about her impressive five-year association with lifesaving and what the future might have in store.

At nearly 18-years-old, the world is Mia Green’s oyster and like most people her age, she is excited about what lies ahead. Perhaps what is more unusual for this 17-year-old, is her involvement with the lifesaving community, a relationship that is already five years old and is still going strong…

Looking back, by the time I was 12 years-old and starting secondary school, I already knew I’d had my fill of swimming and had the feeling that those lengths up and down, up and down, were never-ending. There was a lifesaving club being advertised locally and it looked like great fun, I’d had one lesson before and really enjoyed it so I went along and I have never looked back!

The last few years have been a bit of a whirlwind as I’ve thrown myself into lifesaving hook, line and sinker. I have now qualified as a Rookie instructor and as a Survive & Save one and I did my NPLQ with the open water bolt-on too. Whilst I have been involved in lifesaving since the age of 12, I have only been volunteering with the Wessex Branch, since 2012 when I started my DofE.

I am hoping that with my qualifications and the classes I teach, I can encourage more people to give lifesaving a try. I teach a bronze medallion class every Friday night and a mixed ability group on a Wednesday. The classes are a really good laugh as some of the youngsters can be really cheeky, we’re all there to have fun though as well as learning.

I teach and assess work both in the pool and the theory side and as part of my role for the branch, I assist on beach days and still-water training evenings. It’s not every job that gets you down on the beach on a regular basis and I’m lucky to live where I do – the beach awards are all done on the local beaches but we go to a lake for the still-water ones.

From the outside looking in, some people might think that I give up all my spare time to splash about in the water and help other people but I don’t…I like to socialise with my friends and family as much as anyone else. For me, it’s the combination of the lifesaving skills I’m learning, as well as the new friends I make, that makes volunteering one of my favourite things to do. It only ‘costs’ me a few hours a week and I am confident that the work I do makes a difference in keeping people safe and happy around water. Both the skills and the friends are something I plan on hanging onto for life!

As a member of the RLSS UK Wessex Branch, I am really spoiled for choice with the activities I can get involved with, but the last year has thrown up some big highlights for me:

I loved helping out at the branch’s Rookie lifesaving competition last year, everyone had a great time there. I was on Sandbanks as well, teaching at the branch’s open water day and I travelled to Kent in August, to teach at an RLSS UK event on Margate beach with ‘Lifeguard Maxi’ from the Australian TV show ‘Bondi Rescue’. I spent three weeks teaching the still-water sessions for the Rookies over the school summer holidays too.

Being a branch member and having my NPLQ meant I was able to work as a lifeguard this summer, at the New Forest Water Park. It was a paid job and I made some new friends as well as some new connections – I had a fabulous time but one of the new connections led to me being able to help out providing beach safety cover, at a local surf lifesaving club event.

This might not sound particularly special or unusual but the event was an activity day for some of the children who’d been directly affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. I can’t imagine how a something awful like that can affect a person, let alone a child, so it was a huge privilege to be involved and help in some small way.

Just by reading back what I’ve said here makes me realise how many things I’ve been able to join in and help out with, over the last year or so. There are some wonderful opportunities out there waiting for people to engage with, without it costing much in terms of time or money.

If any of the readers are thinking about volunteering, or getting more involved in their local branch, all I’d say is… what are you waiting for?