I was asked to serve in my church in the presidency of the Young Women organization (overseeing girls 12-18) in our stake (which is a group of local congregations). Not at all what I expected but it will be a great chance for me to get to know more people in a larger area here and I'm happy to have a chance to work and do what I can even though it will be quite a short term of service for a position like this.
But in order to be able to accept and act in this capacity, I had to jump through some government hoops. I have had to get a "Working with Children Card." I thought maybe this was a training process to qualify me for properly caring and protecting children. Nope. It's basically a criminal background check to make sure I haven't done anything offensive to children in the past.
So basically, it's a "I'm Not A Criminal Card."
Apparently this is a very important thing. Not having one would cost my church lots of violation fines. So they don't mess around. There was someone recently who had to renew their WWC and in the meantime they have to be officially released from their position while they waited for the card to come. Then they were called to the same position again.
The process to get this card seemed easy enough. I filled out a long list of details online but had to print it out and take it to the Post Office to submit. I needed to take a passport photo and 100 points of I.D., which I'm used to. 100 points usually means a driver's license and passport. Got it.
So I had to load the application on my USB drive and walk to the print shop to print it because we don't have a printer. Then I walked across the street to the Post Office to submit it. Nice long line. When I got to the front they took one look at my photo and rejected it right away. They said my head was too small.
[My brothers will have all kinds of funny jokes to insert here. Ha ha.]
Apparently the requirements for Australian passports are different than U.S. passports. So I left.
New passport photos would cost $17. I looked up the size requirements online. I decided to scan my photo and resize it, print it out according to their specs and save a ton of money.
Again, I don't have a printer or photo paper, so I have to send the image of my bigger head to a photo shop to print it out. While I'm at it I do the same for Allen and Maddie so we can all get this done at once. I'm feeling so smart for saving the money.
This photo is ALSO rejected because my bangs are touching my eyebrow.
Okay, so dang it, I am sick of this and very reluctantly go pay $17 for a new passport photo. And I don't even need a passport. AND I haven't washed my hair that day. And they tell me I'm not supposed to smile. No problem I'm not in a smiling mood. Got it.
I take the new photo, my application, and my 100 points of I.D. to the post office. Again.
They rejected my driver's license because it's not Australian! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING. So instead they felt like I would be a better applicant if I take a copy of my rental agreement and verify my existence with a credit card than my government issued license. Of course, I don't have my rental agreement on me so I have to leave AGAIN.
I finally got everything together and went a final time to try to lodge my application. They accepted it! After 36 hours I received an email notice that I had passed. So I'm still not a criminal. I ALREADY KNEW THAT! Innocent until proven guilty. Oh wait. Different country.
Then less than a week later I got an actual card that looks like a driver's license in the mail. Whoopee.
In the U.S. we make the criminals register their whereabouts, not make all the rest of the population go through this. AND, if I wasn't serving in a volunteer capacity I'd have to PAY $108 to go through this process. $108 for someone to say, yep, indeed, you have never been convicted of a child related offense. Like seriously, you need a card to prove that you're not in prison.
The elderly are also highly protected here. There is an "Aged Care Facility" just down the street from us. I asked about the possibility of going to visit there on occasion, maybe sing some songs or takes some treats or some form of service to them. Not a chance. We are only allowed in if we have a family member there. So sad!
So I'll be limiting our service to the Young Women of our stake. It will be fun!