A Making Waves Journey: From Volunteers to Swim Instructors

Behind every successful swim school is a group of dedicated individuals who work collaboratively with their team, families, and swimmers. Our volunteers are incredible, contributing their time, skills, and passion to supporting our team in teaching young people a life saving skill.

During #NationalVolunteerWeek, we wanted to share the stories of both current and former volunteers (who have transitioned into staff roles) at our swim school. Their first-hand experiences, insights, and advice offer valuable guidance for anyone who is interested in volunteering as a way to explore their passions. From their initial motivations to their most memorable moments, these individuals embody the transformative power of volunteering and exemplify the profound impact it can have on both personal growth and community development. 

In this blog series, we shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of our swim school – the amazing individuals who started as enthusiastic supporters and evolved into skilled swimming instructors. Join us as we dive into the inspiring journeys of these remarkable individuals, exploring their motivations, challenges, and the transformative impact they’ve made on countless lives through their commitment to teaching the invaluable skill of swimming. We are beyond grateful for all of them for the work they do and for participating in this blog!

What advice would you give to someone who is considering volunteering for the first time?
Just do it! It is such a wonderful experience that can open so many future opportunities for you and help you gain so much confidence along the way.

Can you share a memorable volunteer experience you’ve had with us?
I remember the first day I came to volunteer, and I was very nervous. Thankfully as soon as I walked in as a new volunteer the head coach and coaches welcomed me with open arms and had me join them in their shift huddle. One of the coaches, who actually taught me when I was a swimmer, invited me to help in her classes and talked me through everything she was doing so I could learn from her. She created such a comfortable learning environment, and it was inspiring to watch her teach. This day was very memorable as it was then I realized how rewarding it was to work with children and to teach them a life skill. It was also when I realized I wanted to work at Making Waves to teach and mentor others in the same way I had experienced.

If you were a past volunteer, in what way has volunteering lead you to the path you are currently in?
Volunteering at Making Waves launched my passion for working in aquatics. I truly do not believe I would be where I am today training future swim coaches if it weren’t for starting as a volunteer and learning from other coaches.

How do you think volunteering has benefited you personally?
Volunteering benefited me personally by providing me with a safe space to grow my confidence. It also helped me discover my passion for working with youth and teaching swimmers.

Please tell us a little bit about your volunteer story. When did you start and what made you want to volunteer?
I came in for my first volunteer shift on January 29th, 2013. I was interested in volunteering because I loved anything to do with water and I was passionate about working with children and teaching them the life skill of swimming.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering volunteering for the first time?
Never be afraid to start; we all reach our goals at some point.

Can you share a memorable volunteer experience you’ve had with us?
I have met a lot of nice people who work there. Everyone is willing to help me, and I am always willing to return the favour.

If you are a current volunteer, in what way, do you think, is volunteering preparing you towards your goal?
Yes, it is. Volunteering has allowed me to see what the surroundings are like as well as the people I would work with.

If you were a past volunteer, in what way has volunteering lead you to the path you are currently in?
It has helped me in knowing that I want to try and get a job here as a swim instructor.

How do you think volunteering has benefited you personally?
I love working here because it has made me more comfortable in the pool and I’ve met new people.

Please tell us a little bit about your volunteer story. When did you start and what made you want to volunteer?
I started at the beginning of February, and I have learned a lot; it has been such a fun experience.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering volunteering for the first time?
Go for it! Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, learn some new skills, and meet people.

Can you share a memorable volunteer experience you’ve had with us?
I can’t remember a specific example for this. But I started volunteering before the water shirts were a thing, so it was an exciting day when I finally got a yellow shirt.

If you were a past volunteer, in what way has volunteering lead you to the path you are currently in?
Volunteering shaped my path. Once I turned 15, I was able to complete my coach certification and start working as a coach. From there, I was promoted to head coach, got trained as a CSR and then started working as a supervisor. While working as a supervisor, I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees studying the pediatric population. Volunteering was really the start of my path to working with children and families, like the foundation of a house.

How do you think volunteering has benefited you personally?
Volunteering has helped me form lasting relationships with peers, swimmers, and families. I was also able to gain experience working with children, which influenced my career path.

Please tell us a little bit about your volunteer story. When did you start and what made you want to volunteer?
After taking lessons and completing all my levels with Making Waves as a kid, I started volunteering in January 2011. From adolescence, working with kids had always been my goal. I pursued the opportunity to volunteer to help kids learn the life skill of swimming. I volunteered for 4 years until I turned 15 and could start my coach training.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering volunteering for the first time?
Give it your best shot because you can make a difference!

Can you share a memorable volunteer experience you’ve had with us?
While volunteering I worked with a swimmer who was struggling with their skills and would most likely not pass their level. So, for the next few weeks I made it my mission to privately work with the child and individually tackle each one of their skills. When they ended up passing the child had a big smile on their face along with very happy and appreciative parents. Seeing this as a coach or volunteer meant a lot to me!

If you were a past volunteer, in what way has volunteering lead you to the path you are currently in?
Volunteering has definitely given me lots of experience and knowledge, which further prepared me to become a coach.

How do you think volunteering has benefited you personally?
Volunteering has helped show me my interest and passion for teaching kids how to swim! At the time it also opened up doors for my future job at Making Waves which I currently have.

Please tell us a little bit about your volunteer story. When did you start and what made you want to volunteer?
When I was a kid, I also went thought the Making Waves learn to swim program and saw the amazing impacts it had on me. So, I decided a good way to help the community and make water safe was to become a coach myself. I started volunteering in the summer of 2022 and loved it so much that I did it for another year and a half.