TMF Staff Spotlight: Amanda West, HAWC Coordinator

What town do you live in?

I live in Mount Vernon, Maine with my amazing husband James and our two beautiful children Elsie and Emmett. I’m actually about 5 minutes from the Retreat – it was meant to be!

What do you do at the Foundation?

I enjoyed helping to keep everything in its place while in housekeeping at TMF from January of 2023 to May 2023. We cleaned the Retreat, cottage, Health & Wellness Center, and offices from top to bottom. It was my honor to create a clean and welcoming space for our participants to enjoy their time here and to help to create a clean space for our staff and volunteers to use.

In May, I was overjoyed to fill the role of  the Health and Wellness Center Coordinator. I get to use my whole heart, with everything I’ve ever trained in, to help people enjoy their time in fitness and fun at the Retreat. Whether it be going out on a kayaking trip, swimming in the pool, or a fun fitness class in the gym or yoga room, I’m ready to help make that happen during a stay at the Retreat.

During the summer, you can find me overseeing the waterfront. I work closely with our volunteers and amazing staff to maintain our kayaks and paddleboards and ensure they have all the parts needed for each adventure. I make sure we have clean, functioning life jackets for tubing, fishing, or kayaking adventures on the water. I keep our open water safety equipment up to date and ready if needed, and work with facilities to ensure the boats have everything they need from fire extinguishers, first aid gear, rescue equipment, lifejackets, bumpers, tow ropes, gas. I also ensure tubes are filled before each summer session for families and all adaptive equipment is in great condition. This takes much communication with many departments here at TMF. We also have equipment for our beautiful service animals when they get to take breaks.  It’s a magical place for our participants to enjoy.

I am honored, along with other staff and volunteers, to be able to safely take participants on kayaking adventures on Long Pond. We are able to adapt this adventure if needed using different seating, paddles, different styles of kayaks, a wheelchair accessible ramp and dock, with the ability to transfer in and out of kayaks safely so everyone can enjoy their time with their families. As an American Red Cross certified lifeguard for open water, I also help watch the dock waters when people want to swim, float, or fish during Family Programming weeks.

Another very cool part of my job as a certified pool operator allows me the honor to coordinate and maintain the gorgeous pool at the Health & Wellness Center. This involves everything from cleaning the decks and pool, to adding chemicals necessary for disinfecting and sanitizing. I have many games available for participants in our Family and Caregivers Programs to use in the pool. I also guide volunteers and pool assistants while we lifeguard for swim times during programming weeks  I can also be seen teaching deep water aerobics or one-on-one water sessions for our participants. The water is so healing and therapeutic for our guests at 87 degrees!

Lastly, I am a certified fitness trainer through the International Sports and Sciences Association.  I am also an Adaptive Inclusive Trainer through the Adaptive Training Academy and I have begun to adapt fitness programs for our families, caretakers, and staff. In 2023 we introduced fun and barrier-free classes, such as  glow-in-the-dark cardio drumming and resistance band training, which is done both in house and on Virtual Weekends.

When it comes to the Health & Wellness Center, no one said it better than the late and great Kelly Roseberry, Vice President of Programming, “We are just getting started.” I’m honored to be a small part of keeping that legacy going here at TMF.

Have you done similar work in the past?

Yes, I have. I consider myself a “Jackie of many trades.” My job at TMF is a combination of ALL my favorite jobs that I’ve ever had in my lifetime. All through high school and college I worked for my hometown recreation department and the Maine State Parks system as a lifeguard and a coach. Additionally, I worked as a student athletic trainer in college at the University of Maine. During this time, I had the privilege of working and traveling with the women’s basketball team, women’s soccer team, and football team. I learned so much about rehabilitating the body. I was a Physical Education and Health teacher for 10 years for grades K-12 in Maine and Massachusetts. I was also the recreation director in my hometown for a few years and developed and ran programs for all ages. In addition, I have also worked as a personal trainer and one-on-one with people in their homes.

How long have you worked at the Foundation?

I began my journey at the Foundation in January 2023.

What's your favorite part of working at TMF?

My favorite part of working at TMF is getting to work with an amazing team that helps others have fun, relax, and enjoy their time with us to the fullest. I absolutely love being able to provide a safe and functional space for people to connect, exercise, swim, and enjoy with their families.  I love when our participants find something that they loved so much that they will want to continue with their families at home.

Do you have a favorite story you'd like to share from your time here?

Oh, my word, it’s so hard to pick just one. I have had many magical moments at TMF…

  • I absolutely loved watching our seated athletes get in and out of the pool all summer long. I loved that they were able to play joyfully with their families. We had weeks when every single person at the Retreat spent time together in the pool. It was so special.
  • Kayaking on the water with our recalibrated veteran Caregivers is very special. It allows them to have a moment, especially when those emotions in life feel too big, and just allow them to able to take a deep breath. The lake has many healing elements to it.
  • I cherished Cardio drumming in the gym with the most excited crew for our holiday weekend, as we drummed and sang “Feliz Navidad” loudly for all to hear!
  • Get all the teens geared up with masks and fins so that they can use live bait to catch fish near the dock until the sun sets.
  • Watching the entire crowd at the Fourth of July parade stand up and salute our post-911 recalibrated veterans as they made their journey through town.

I could go on and on. This is such a special place, you guys!

What is your favorite feature of the Retreat/Foundation?

My most favorite feature of the Retreat/Foundation is the Family Program. I love getting to know new families, watching the dynamics each week among people trying new things together, and seeing firsthand how connections are made here at TMF between parents and children.  It’s incredible to be a small part of this bonding experience for them. Helping each individual to have a memorable time during their stay and to give them opportunity for a supportive community is an absolute honor. Our staff is here all year long for this important mission. It’s been so fun to work together with such quality people to create a memorable experience each and every week.  

What is a fun fact about yourself?

In high school, my best friend and I made a bet to do something fun together before graduation, so we chose something we hadn’t ever done before … we entered a scholarship pageant. Much to my surprise, I was crowned Miss Limestone 1999 and was honored to represent my town for the year appearing and speaking at many functions and events throughout Aroostook County. It was such a cool experience that I will forever be grateful for. I hope everyone takes a leap and tries new things without letting fear hold you back.