Working Wednesday: Part 1 October 18th

Welcome to the first post of the series Working Wednesdays. You can catch this post on Wednesday afternoons. This series is the third a group of 7 daily blog series posts, which will be in addition to the regular unscheduled posts. Check out the Series Schedule page for more info on the daily series posts. If you missed day 1 or 2 of the daily series, check out Case of the Mondays and Transparent Tuesdays.

Working Wednesdays are supposed to incorporate my work life into the blog. I work in sort of an obscure field- Aquatics. It is not super obscure, it is just nestled quietly under the popularized Parks and Recreation field (Thanks NBC’s Parks and Rec). Nonetheless, I’m not sure a lot of people have much idea what I mean when I say I manage an aquatic facility. My friends and colleagues who have been lifeguards or who have worked in an aquatic environment certainly do, but the majority of people reading this, may not. So one of the main goals of Working Wednesdays is to give a little insight into what I do for work.

In addition, anything else that requires work (I.e. projects, school, housework, etc.) may be included in this series, but I’m wanting to focus mainly on Aquatics.

So for today’s Working Wednesdays, I’d like to give some insight into the world of lifeguarding, since it is a major player in the world of Aquatics. Lifeguarding is also how I got my start in aquatics and how I found out that I have a passion for aquatics.

A little background on my lifeguard experience:

2015: I got my start at the City of St. Peter’s Rec-Plex in St. Peter’s, MO under the Ellis and Associates lifeguard license.

2016: From there I went on to complete the Disney College Program as a Lifeguard under the Ellis and Associates Lifeguard license.

2016: Upon my return from Disney, I became a head lifeguard at the Rec-Plex. This was the first of my supervisory positions in aquatics.

2017: Wanting to continue advancement in the aquatics field, I began working at Midwest Pool Management (MPM) in St. Louis, MO as an assistant manager for the Troy Aquatic Center. Through MPM I was able to pick up shifts at many different facilities, as they manage many pools in the St. Louis area. Their certification was through Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI)- StarGuard.

2017: Still wanting to advance in the aquatics field, and as the Troy Aquatic Center had closed for the season, I began my full time job search. After a long process of applications and interviews, I was offered a position as the Aquatics Manager or the City of Lamar, Missouri- which is where I am currently. My current certification is Red Cross.

So that is my history in the field thus far. As stated previously in my first post, I am still a baby in the aquatics field, but I am eager to share what I know, and learn a ton more!

So. Lifeguarding.

Lifeguarding is the first step in most people’s journey into aquatics.

Most everyone in their lifetime encounters lifeguards in one way or another. Yes, I know they have a reputation for being lazy, sit in a chair all day, trying to get a tan, distracted, teenagers who are getting paid to do essentially nothing. Lets debunk that. Yes, a lot of what lifeguards do is sit in chairs/walk in small areas. Their presence is more preventative than active. Some of the trainings put more emphasis on reaction to emergency situations, while others put the emphasis on being proactive and preventing emergency situations.

Here is the good news. Many lifeguards go through hours of In-service training, which is mandated by some certifications/licenses and by some facilities. In-service training is essentially continuing education for lifeguards. The norm seems to be 4 hours of in-service a month. In these trainings guards get to freshen up on their emergency response skills based on their certification/licenses as well as go over practices that may be unique to each facility.

Somewhere along the way, it was taught to me that lifeguards are the first responders before the first responders in an aquatic setting. That being the case, lifeguarding is an important job, no matter how unimportant it may seem to the untrained eye.

I intend on lifeguarding to be a multi-post segment of Working Wednesdays, as there is a TON to say on the subject. So I am going to leave the rest up to the next set of posts. The goal will be to inform of the differences in the various certifications/licenses, some pictures of some of the facilities where I have worked, head lifeguarding as its own post, as well as proper lifeguard ettiquite/how to notice a good lifeguard.

Stay tuned.



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