New Pool Manager for Warmun remote pool

10 September 2020

Our Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools are opening for the new season over the next few weeks, with Pool Managers currently arriving in the eight communities across WA’s north to get the pools ready for action! This year we have a new pool manager at the Warmun, with Stephen Waterman joining our team.

Stephen has a very varied background! Before joining Royal Life Saving WA he worked in security for 11 years as a Site Supervisor, Concierge Officer, Chief Fire Warden and Emergency Medical Responder. He’s also been a swimming teacher, sport and recreation coordinator and volunteer First Aid Officer for the Game Changer Awards - an opportunity for children in Year 3 to Year 10, to showcase their innovative solutions to the world’s challenges! With 10 years in the Australian Army Reserve as a Rifleman and Combat Medic, and even a gig as Santa in a past life, Stephen brings a range of interesting skills and experience to Warmun which we’re sure the local kids will be keen to hear about!

Stephen says the opportunity to take on the Warmun Pool Manager role was one that seemed too good to be true! “When I was growing up both my parents were teachers and I was brought up in the country living in Hyden, Tammin and a remote Aboriginal Community Mantamaru (Jameson). Hyden had a pool and I loved it so much I was there after school all the time! It's been my dream to hopefully manage a pool so when I was offered the opportunity to take on a remote pool manager role I was blown away and couldn't believe my dream was coming true. If feel this is a great way for me to give back to the community.”

Warmun is a community in the Kimberley region, 3,000 kilometres northeast of Perth, with its closest populated town Halls Creek, 161 kilometres away. Stephen says his previous experience living in Mantamaru when he was young means its not the first time he’s lived in such a remote location. He’s looking forward to meeting the community, learning more about their culture and how he can assist them with swimming and water safety.

“Children in remote communities sometimes don't get the swimming teaching and water safety skills that kids in the city get, this shows in the statistics with Aboriginal children two and a half times more likely to drown than non-Aboriginal children. That's why I believe the Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools are such an amazing project. To be a part of this and change the lives of children in Warmun by teaching them not only swimming but water safety and rescue skills is going to be the highlight of my career.”

A major goal of the Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools project is to see local community members learn the skills need to gain employment in the aquatic industry and engage with swimming and water safety education in their own communities. Stephen says he’s looking forward to seeing this become a reality in Warmun. “One of the things I would like to achieve in my first season is the hiring of local help and the opportunity to speak to the high school students to offer work experience in pool operations, lifeguarding and swimming teaching.”

The Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool program is supported by the Department of Housing and Principal Community Partner BHP. You can find out more about the program at the link below.

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