She's a lifesaver - Michelle

Greetings Team Tama!

Happy Thursday. This profile was a really lovely one for me to edit, it was hard to put into words how much this next wonderful Tama woman gives to our club, not just her time but all her heart and soul goes into Tama. I feel lucky to call our award-winning CTO one of my closest friends. It is thanks to Michelle that over the last 2 years, Tama keeps bringing in cohort after cohort of new Bronzies. Her energy and passion inspires others to work with her, such as the lovely Arnaud, her deputy, and Taga who ran the recent Sunday Bronzies cohort and also everyone else who stepped in. She also inspired me to want to do more for Tama, and I know my Bronzie Cohort from 2020 all love her as do the rest of our club.

Enough from me, let’s hear from Michelle...

Tell us a bit about yourself: 3 words that best describe you Coffee addict, bronzie mum, and my new $50 word, thalassophile (one who is drawn to the sea and has an inescapable need to be near it)

How did you get in Surf Life Saving? How did you join Tama? I’m surprised that it took me so long given my love of the ocean, but it is something that didn’t really enter my radar until I was approached by Surf Life Saving in my capacity as curriculum coordinator for the Adult Migrant English Program in Bondi. They wanted students to come along to this little club called Tamarama SLSC for its first-ever migrant beach safety day. From organising that day and being in contact with some amazing people at the club, I knew I wanted to be part of that.

Michelle probably at her happiest…

What are the best things about being part of the Surf Life Saving community? My friends outside of surf think I’m in a cult. And I guess in a way I am, but it’s a cult I’m happy to be part of. It’s a wonderful, welcoming, inclusive society of extraordinarily different people from all walks of life and spectrums who all come together for the same purpose - to give of their time to keep our beaches safe and work towards zero drownings. 

How would you describe our community at Tama? Eclectic, talented, welcoming, supportive, fun, kooky, beautiful. Isn’t Tama just so special? I remember when I did my Silver Medallion in Beach Management, which I did with about 6 or 7 other Tamas. The trainer asked the whole group how we would manage patrollers who went out of their way to cause conflict. We all stared at each other dumbfounded, and from then on, whenever the trainer asked a similar question he would say “well, except Tama, you guys all love each other.” And while of course it’s not a lovefest, we certainly all demonstrate respect and a level of care for each other, and community spirit that goes above and beyond.

Michelle and the love fest ;) 

What has been your biggest achievement from being part of Surf Lifesaving? From a rescue perspective, which is what we are all about, it is without doubt being part of the Patrol 5 (and subs) resus at Mackenzies. From a personal perspective, it would absolutely be training 5 cohorts of Bronzies in my role as CTO, and forming some pretty special friendships along the way.  

Tell us about what you do when not on the beach at Tama looking after people? I work in adult education and I swim lots and take underwater photos of friends who swim. 

Favourite place to go for food in Sydney? Betty’s Burgers. Just jokes. It’s Yullis in Surry Hills. 

Ideal holiday destination right now? I love hiking and New Zealand is my favourite place to do this. So more than anything, I’d like to switch my phone off and disappear for 5 or 6 days in the stunning wilderness that is NZ. 

What would be your advice to any woman thinking to give surf lifesaving a go? Just do it. The support you’ll get, the friendships you’ll make, and the skills you’ll learn, will all be worthwhile. If you can swim you can do it, you don’t need to look like Pamela Anderson.  

What have you learned from your time at Tama? What has been something you learned that has surprised you? Tamarama may be Sydney’s most dangerous beach, but it’s watched over by the most incredible community of people and I’m proud every day to be part of that. What surprises me is we don’t have hoards of people clamouring to sign up. Maybe the new clubhouse will change that.

21 March 2020, lockdown is looming, the summer 2020 Bronzies assesment is indefinitely postponed but we still manage to have a swim and a special photo of our lovely group brought together by Mychelle and Team Tama

Thanks so much Michelle for being part of She’s a Lifesaver and our campaign, I think your words speak for themselves, we are incredibly proud of you and thankful for everything you do for our club, lucky Tama! 

Have a great week everyone, see you on the beach soon.

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