Lifeguard on duty: Students enjoy responsibility, friendships from lifeguarding

Wearing a red and white swimsuit to work every day and blowing a whistle at misbehaving toddlers is a part of the job description for most summer lifeguards.
Many Blue Valley students have taken on this responsibility for their summer job.
“My job consists of watching everyone in the pool and keeping them safe, opening [and] closing the pool, keeping the pool clean and making sure people are happy,” lifeguard senior Will Munholland said.
Munholland said he became a lifeguard because he enjoyed being at the pool and spending his summer outside.
“My favorite part was when no one was at the pool — the other guards and I would do tricks off the diving boards,” Munholland said.
Munholland lifeguards at three pools including Hampton Place, Lionsgate and Nottingham Forest South.
“It’s important because I protect and save the lives of people,” Munholland said.
Making $8.25 an hour and work- ing almost every day, Munholland said lifeguarding has not only become a very profitable job, but also a fun one.
“I did make a lot of friends on the lifeguard team and also got a lot of my friends jobs there too,” he said. “It was a great time meeting and bonding with new people.”
Munholland said even though the job came with many perks, it was difficult at times, too.
“The hardest part is watching everyone when the pool is busy,” he said. “It’s very hard to see what everyone is doing in all the chaos.”
Munholland has saved three people this summer.
“All [the kids] were young and weak swimmers whose parents weren’t watching them very well,” he said. “Fortunately, all I had to do was jump in and pull them out before they went under.”
Junior Braydon Huschka lifeguards at Young’s Pool.
“I decided to become a lifeguard because a friend told me about it, and I’ve always wanted to be one,” Huschka said.
Huschka works 30-40 hours a week, making $9 an hour.
“The hardest part of my job is probably working eight-hour days over and over again, especially when the temperature can get to be 90-100 degrees,” he said.
Huschka said one of the many reasons he enjoys being a lifeguard is the friendships he’s made.
“I am very good friends with the guards I work with, and it was very easy to form relationships with them,” he said. “They are all people your age, and chances are you have things in common with most of them.”
Huschka said his favorite memory from lifeguarding was getting a five-star rating.
“Being a lifeguard entails long training sessions before the summer starts and long days of work, but it was worth it,” he said.
Huschka has never personally saved anyone, but has witnessed a few savings.
“One [saving] was a little girl who couldn’t swim who went off the diving board, and the other was a person having a seizure in the water,” he said.
Junior Haley Koenig also became a lifeguard this year. She works at Stonegate Pool making $8.25 an hour and working at least 40 hours a week.
“I decided to become a lifeguard because I always went to the pool as a kid, and I like the responsibility,” she said.
Koening said becoming a lifeguard is a huge task.
“It means you have people’s lives in your hands, and it is our responsibility to keep everyone safe,” she said.
Koenig said the friendships formed with her co-workers are one of the things she will miss most during the school year.
“This summer I’ve met so many new people from all over, and we’ve all become extremely close,” she said. “I’ve had so much fun hanging out with everyone at work and outside of work.”
Koenig said lifeguarding this summer would not have been nearly as enjoyable without the friends she made.
“Without them, the days would be so much longer,” she said. “They’re the ones who keep the job fun and entertaining.”
Koenig said she had one save this summer when a little boy jumped off the diving board and couldn’t swim.
“All I had to do was jump in and help him out — nothing too scary,” she said. “At the time I was so nervous, but looking back, I’m glad I got it out of the way.”
All three lifeguards said they are eager to continue their jobs next summer because of all the great memories from this year.
“I love my job and the responsibility that it comes with,” Koenig said. “Everyday I wake up and am excited to go to work.”