Amanda has been employed with the City of Greeley as a lifeguard for nearly two years. She started out working as a guard at the Family FunPlex, Greeley Recreation Center and Discovery Bay Waterpark while attending Early College Academy. As she continued her education, she was able to teach swim lessons. She recently graduated in May with her high school diploma and an Associate Degree with Aims Community College. Her plan is to continue lifeguarding this summer, then complete her Bachelor Degree at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
Discovery Bay Waterpark is her favorite pool to work at is because there are more kids that attend the outdoor pool, especially when ABC Child Care Center or the Rodarte Fun in the Sun (FITS) programs come to visit. She enjoys the connection with people and conversations with customers the best. Amanda shared her favorite aspect of the job is “working with city staff in this amazing atmosphere; it’s like a family.”
Amanda likes the fact that this job offers different levels of responsibility, increases in pay scale, and advancement opportunities. She began by taking the Lifeguard Training course with the City when she was 15 years old. That three-day course and American Red Cross certification taught her everything she needed to know about how to be a lifeguard. From there, Amanda was encouraged by city staff to take the next step – Water Safety Instructor (WSI) Training so she could become a certified swim lesson instructor. And now, with just a little more training, she can go to the next level and become a manager or teach Lifeguard Training classes herself.
As a certified lifeguard, she is required to obtain recertification every two years. In addition, the Culture, Parks and Recreation Aquatics staff provide monthly in-services to enhance her training. They practice CPR, back-boarding, and review any changes to the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training that may have occurred. Amanda said “this has helped me keep my knowledge about swim safety up-to-date.” She’s confident in her skills and knows the answers to all the questions on the tests, since they practice the curriculum regularly.
The most valuable thing she has learned is how to sink in an instant. “You have to be able to do that swiftly as a lifeguard to rescue a swimmer,” says Amanda.
She said her “biggest challenge is paying attention 24/7 while you’re on the stand. Real lives and people are in the water and making sure everyone is safe at all times can be a little stressful. I enjoy working with kids and offering them helpful tips and improving their swimming skills. You have to be attentive to succeed at this job.”
One thing Amanda wants to share is that the knowledge you learn provides all the necessary tools for this position. She encourages teenagers to give this job a try. “If you are looking for a fun job with flexible hours, being a lifeguard is definitely the job for you!”