Anne-Marie Widermanski, with her bubbly and bright personality, passion for surf lifesaving, and willingness to lend a helping hand, has been an asset to the movement for more than 30 years.
The Mullaloo member was not only our Assessor of the Year in 2017, she also took out both the state and national title in 2016! We spoke to Anne-Marie to find out a little bit more about her and what she’s been up to lately:
Q. Describe the moment when you were awarded Assessor of the Year at the 2016 national Awards of Excellence.
A. Initially stunned – as I had sat there with the other WA candidates, – all very worthy people – who had not received national recognition – then very proud and humbled at the same time, as I believe I am just a representative for the awesome trainers and assessors we have in WA. Also a little sad as my husband wasn’t with me to share the moment.
Q. What is your highlight from your past year of surf lifesaving?
A. Obviously receiving the SLSA accolade. Also seeing my club heading in a new and exciting direction under new leadership. Finally, being able to visit clubs around WA and renewing friendships with some wonderful people; the past year’s highlights have included visits to Esperance, Albany, Port Walcott and Broome – all very special places to me.
Q. You’re up in Darwin again for the Winter with your husband, how does it compare to WA?
A. Darwin is warm! SLSNT has a small team up here, yet all the services available to us in WA still have to be provided – so I help out mostly on a voluntary basis and a bit of casual hours as well during WA’s off-season. We used to live in Darwin in the 80’s so still have friends from those days.
Education of members and the professional lifeguards keeps everyone, including myself, very busy. The lifesaving operations area is expanding which is also very exciting as SLSNT has won a number of lifeguard service contracts which provide great employment opportunities. SLSNT have recently taken delivery of a new offshore rescue boat which is an amazing vessel, and I have been fortunate to have been on board as part of the water safety team for an open water event.
One certainly has to be both versatile and flexible to meet the demands for training and services. The risk focus is on crocodiles rather than sharks, and I have learned a new word, “logodile”, which is a collective term for any inanimate object floating in the water, often reported as a crocodile!
Q. Who has inspired you in your life and why?
A. My parents, who led by example in volunteering – both were active in sporting and emergency services agencies in the rural area where I grew up. Especially my Dad – who always encouraged me to give anything a go. Also a special friend who encouraged me on my lifesaving journey right from the beginning – it’s his fault I am still involved!
Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
A. I think my response will be the same as last year – the power to bring peace to our world.
Q. What does receiving back-to-back Assessor of the Year titles mean to you?
A. It is very special and I would like to thank all who were involved in the process of review and selection – I know what a challenge that can be! I hope I can be an effective facilitator for others. It also opened a new opportunity as I was privileged to work with a national team charged with the review and development of advanced first aid awards. I look forward to representing WA at this year’s SLSA awards.
Q. What are your plans for the upcoming year?
A. More of the same, with some more travel. Maybe continuing my transition to retirement – which will allow more time for lots of things, the sky will be the limit. I’d like to investigate how we can better prepare members to take on leading roles in incident/emergency management – including pathways that may be available. I’m also hoping to continue contributing to my club’s development initiatives.
Q. What is one piece of advice you have for members of surf lifesaving who are interested in a getting involved in assessing?
A. Know what you are assessing, enjoy the process, keep your eye on the ultimate goal – determining outcomes based on evidence, and be prepared to think laterally. There is usually more than one way to do something – we just have to make sure we follow protocols and assure safety.
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