The Way We Work: Summer Under the Sun

Work is a huge part of who we are. It forms part of our identity, it keeps us busy and it provides for our families. In preparation for the upcoming Smithsonian exhibit “The Way We Worked”at the High Plains Museum, we would like to share a series of local work stories.

Work takes different shapes, and for youth in Goodland it typically comes in the form of school work. However, during the summer youth can get a different work experience. One such place of employment is Steever Water Park. Built in 2001 to offer an upgraded water experience, Steever Water Park employs local youth as concession stand workers and lifeguards from late May through August.

Cooper Slough stands guard at the slides. Photo by Ashley Archer.

The manager of the pool, Barb Bedore assisted by Halli Stone, supervises a staff of 30 (seven concession workers and 23 lifeguards), over the summer. A popular summer job, Barb and Halle interviewed 44 applicants, selecting teenagers that were dependable, responsible, and safety conscious individuals.

This is Barb’s second year managing the pool, but she has experience working with teenagers due to her coaching responsibilities with Goodland USD 352. Barb’s advice for managing teenagers is to get them to realize that there is room for fun at work but that work is the chief motive and that safety is paramount.

Paige Phillips keeps close watch over the pool. Photo by Ashley Archer.

Wrangling teenagers is practiced work for Barb and it is eased by the presence of veteran lifeguards. Ashley Archer has been a lifeguard for three seasons and she says, “It’s not a stand there job; you have to pay attention”. Lifeguard responsibilities include keeping the water park clean, keeping watch over the frolicking swimmers, and help teach swimming lessons. Of course, the most memorable part of summer swimming is the whistle.  A well-recognized signal for the fun to begin and shenanigans to end, the whistle is at the same time a feared and loved sound. “Blow the whistle; don’t be afraid,” said Ashley.

A lot of work goes into keeping the pool a fun place to play and relax in the Summer. It is the site of memorable fun, and for many kids, their first job. Reflect on your first job: was it as sunny as lifeguard work?  Tell us about your first job.

Look for more articles in this series about the way Goodland folks work. Tell us your own work story and mark December 15th on your calendar to see how Americans have worked over the decades at the High Plains Museum.

If you’re in the mood for a swim, check out Steever Water Park. The pool is open Monday through Saturday 1:00 to 7:00pm and Sundays 1:00 to 5:00pm. From August 13th through August 18th, the hours of operation are 1:00 to 5:00pm. August 18th is the last day for swimming. On August 19th is the annual Pooch Plunge from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. Fee will be $1.00 per person/dog, with all dogs having current City registration or if live out in County need to have current rabies certificate to participate. Dog Owners join in the fun and attend the Pooch Plunge at the Steever Water Park! Find out more at the City of Goodland site.

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