Rising to the challenge

Tanya Semmler with John Barilaro.

Tanya Semmler with John Barilaro.

QUEANBEYAN teacher Tanya Semmler was still a young teaching graduate fresh from Gilgandra in the Central West when she decided to take on a new challenge at Campbell St Childcare Centre. And with the centre heading into voluntary administration, it would prove the challenge of her professional life.

Ms Semmler is now director at the centre and is responsible for the 110 children from 88 families who use the service every week. Staff have worked hard over recent years to trade out of voluntary administration, and Ms Semmler said, financially, things were now better than they'd ever been. But she still clearly remembers the challenge of the early days.

"It was really hard. I was only 23 at the time. I was finding it hard to handle my own budget let alone that of a childcare centre," she said.

"But a lot of our parents and board members are [senior] public servants or have a lot of different skill sets, so they were a great help with that. The board really banded together and all the parents and teachers supported each other. Every one pulled together and we got through it," she said.

Ms Semmler was awarded a Monaro Service Award this week from local State MP John Barilaro for her work during that tough time.

"It was very humbling [to be recognised]," she said.

"There's so many other people involved in me getting this award. We're a community-based not-for-profit service. It's basically run by parents and staff who volunteer their time to keep the centre running, and basically I'm just a front for that."

And she thanked the board of the Campbell St Childcare Centre for backing her ability during tough financial times.

"It was a really steep learning curve, but I'm glad that I had the opportunity and that the board trusted me at such a young age.

"We're very stable and consistent now. We're probably in the best position we've ever been in," she said.

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