Family bonding through community service
My mum and I joined the State Emergency Service (SES) as volunteers nearly 20 years ago. Actually, I wanted to join – not mum - but I was only 16 and mum didn’t want to leave me alone with all those strange men!
So mum joined too.
Mum and I are very much alike – we’re both ‘academically’ minded, so the practical hands-on activities of the SES were very different. Within months we were both abseiling, using chainsaws and other heavy equipment and learnt many many practical skills that we would never have learnt anywhere else.
We also learnt about teamwork, leadership and how to train others – all very useful skills in ‘real’ life too.
But the best thing was that it strengthened our relationship – I had a new found respect for what my old mum could do – and I think she feels the same way.
Now that I have grown up and moved to a new town (and joined a new SES Unit) I’m glad to say that mum is just as active as ever in our original Unit, and she probably will be for years to come.
So, I guess we’ve helped our community by being SES members – we’ve helped out at community events, cleaned up after storms and helped search for lost children – all very rewarding experiences.
But being in the SES is more than that. You get back what you put in – I have developed some real skills as a result of being a volunteer, and best of all have made some great friendships. And mum has too.
By helping others you really do help yourself.