National Volunteer Week | Ryan Irvine

Monday 20 May 2024

Ryan Irvine is the youngest President of any surf lifesaving club in Tasmania.

As a nine-year-old, Ryan was taken to Nippers at Devonport SLSC in 2007 and the rest, as they say, is history.

With a mother who was a competitive swimmer, Ryan and his sister were taught early on about the importance of water safety which started him on his path through the surf lifesaving ranks.

Despite sharing the board table with some more than twice his age, Ryan has thoroughly enjoyed the privilege which comes with the role at such a historic club which will celebrate its centenary in a few short years.

“I have enjoyed the challenges of the role so far,” said Ryan. “It has made me think out of the box on a lot of occasions and challenged me to better our club and organisation.

I have been fortunate that I had a few years in different committee roles prior including IRB Officer, Radio Officer, Clubhouse Manager and Vice President. This gave me a solid grounding of the workings of our club which has been a massive help to me in the President's role.

“I certainly haven't had any obstacles with the older generation in our organisation. I couldn't be more fortunate that there are experienced members around to guide and assist me in my role.”

Just as remarkable as the fact that Ryan has taken on such a senior role at such a young age is that he continues to volunteer his time to a number of other causes, leaving him little time for much else!

“I help out on patrols during summer and other general aspects of the club, and I hold a couple of other roles within surf lifesaving including State Duty Officer and assisting with the Flood Rescue branch of SLST in Tasmania,” he said. “This keeps me busy as a leader in the emergency management aspects of surf lifesaving with assistance provided to Tasmania Police and other emergency organisations.

“Outside of SLST, I volunteer as the 3rd Officer at my local fire brigade and assist with callouts, training and community events with the Tasmania Fire Service.

“I reckon I contribute over 50-60 hours a month to volunteering. Sometimes this varies depending on the time of year and any emergency events that may arise.

“I think I really enjoy the satisfaction I receive from helping others that may be in need in the community.

“Sometimes I also think that volunteering may become an addiction to some people… I certainly get a sort of "buzz" from helping my club or organisation achieve a goal or milestone that at the end of the day, benefits our community. “

It is little surprise that Ryan is so entrenched in the volunteering world has his family has always shown him the example of giving back to the community. His grandparents helped out at their bowls and cricket clubs as well as assisting with community transport.

His father’s contribution to his cricket club was so integral he was granted life membership.

However Ryan is conscious that people are time-poor these days and that any time which people are able to give back through volunteering should be cherished, and encouraged.

“I think the work-life balance has certainly changed over the past 10 years for a majority of people,” said Ryan. “COVID has seen a large increase in people working flexibly from home and maybe not ‘switching off’ at the end of the day like traditional work hours have seen people do in the past.

“I think having a passion to volunteer in an organisation gives people that excuse to switch off from their day jobs and find something that they enjoy committing time too.

“I believe that this certainly helps keep your mind away from the work grind and gives people a chance to refresh and focus spare time on something that benefits themselves and their community.”

National Volunteer Week | Ryan Irvine