Jim Lott – Volunteer Master
How long have you been volunteering for the Trust?
Since the very beginning! So, a total of 50 years, just like the Trust. I have always been in the sailing industry and remember watching with curiosity, this big new ship being built in Auckland. For the ships of the time, it was huge! It turned out to be our first ship, Spirit of Adventure.
Then one of my old friends who was the first operations manager with the newly established Trust phoned me and asked me to help at the launching of this ship. Following on from that a few months later he asked me to help on a 10 day voyage. Following that I then helped run fundraising voyages (with a team of other volunteers) which used to take place in between the 10 day voyages. Doing that and the odd 10 day voyage kept me busy. In the mid 90s I started volunteering as a Master instead of a mate. Then in early 2005 I was asked to come onto the Trust board, which I did for 6 years.
I have continued sailing as a relief master on a volunteer basis and have also volunteered my marine / sailing knowledge to assist the Trust with updating procedures and policies.
What prompted you to want to volunteer for us?
As mentioned, it started with being asked to get involved and I very quickly realised how lucky I was to have such a fantastic opportunity to help. I love sailing and was passionate about helping people grow and develop so this was the perfect way to give back.
What do you love most about volunteering for Spirit?
Different people can give different things and I love that I can volunteer both knowledge and time. I have found it interesting that humanity has never really got on top of the best way to enable people to reach their full potential (for many different reasons). Whilst things have progressed from 50 years ago, I love that we can use the ship and the youth development programme we have created to help young people reach their potential. What I love most is that this opportunity is there for young people from all over New Zealand, from different backgrounds.
Seeing young people from such diverse homes working together in a team and each realising they are equal in every way on board, even becoming good buddies, underlines just what SoAT does for developing teenagers and I love seeing that come to fruition on a voyage.
What would you say to someone considering volunteering for us?
If you have the time and passion to help people, particularly using any sailing skills you have, then it’s a wonderful place to make a difference.