Andrea slides into the Aussie lifestyle
BALLINA schoolgirl Andrea Dziwenko spends her summer days keeping kids safe at the Ballina Waterslide, a job that comes with responsibility as well as good times.
“You just want the children to be safe,” she said.
When Andrea isn't pulling struggling youngsters from the water with a pool noodle, she spends her time chatting to mobs of happy holiday folk and keeping an ever-watchful eye on the 300 customers who come through the gates every day.
“They all love my accent,” admits the 17-year-old, who last July migrated to Australia from Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada.
“My mum wanted to move to Australia for a long time,” Andrea said. “And when she got a job in Lismore as an occupational therapist we all moved too, choosing Ballina as our place to live.
“It has been exciting, but kind of scary.”
Andrea submitted her resume to apply for the job at Ballina Waterslide, and after gaining employment undertook a lifeguard course through her employers, Lee and Vicki Fitzgerald.
On bright sunny days you will find Andrea beside the slide, UHF radio in her hand, clad in distinctive red and yellow safety clothing.
However, Andrea sometimes has the day off if it is cool and cloudy and crowd numbers are down.
Last summer was relatively quiet, thanks to so many wet and rainy days, but these holidays have proved very busy indeed. And it is fortunate that Andrea tans so well, leaving her Canadian winter skin behind, thanks to regular application of SPF 30 sunscreen.
When Andrea's summer job ends, she will go back to Ballina High School to finish her HSC.
But for others at the Ballina Waterslide, there will be plenty of maintenance to be carried out over the winter break.