Do you remember your first summer job? I do. At 16, I wanted a job that was cool. Lifeguarding seemed like the perfect gig. I could get a tan, look confident and, of course, impress the girls. I had no idea that it would literally shape my future.
One day while I was guarding, swinging my whistle and chatting with another guard, I heard someone call for help. In front of me were two children no older than 10. They were clinging to each other and inadvertently pulling each other under water. At that moment I realized my job was more than a way to spend the summer. As I rescued these two kids – they were no older then my own children are now – I realized that my skills, my dedication and my attention were literally affecting – and saving – lives.
Since then, as General Manager of DHAC and director of our swim and aquatics program, I have trained over 1,500 lifeguards. I’ve watched them enter as lighthearted teens and mature into responsible adults. By the end of a lifeguard’s first summer, they have learned responsibility, accountability and follow through. And when they make their first save, their sense of pride and accomplishment are unrivaled.
Of course, we at DHAC get as much as we give. By providing young adults with rigorous training along with a sense of purpose and community, we find and retain the best lifeguards around.
That summer job your son or daughter is eyeing may just open doors that neither he or she – or you – imagined. And that is exactly what summer jobs are for.