Farmers Branch Aquatic Center
Farmers Branch, Texas - USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," June 2018
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I graduated with my bachelor of science degree in kinesiology from Tarleton State University. I am also certified to teach Kindergarten through twelfth grade in physical education and health. I have been in Aquatics for 14 years in every facet from lifeguarding, teaching, coordinating, operations and management.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I am an American Red Cross Lifeguard, Waterpark, Waterfront, Lifeguard Instructor, Water Safety Instructor and Water Safety Instructor Trainer, as well as a Certified Pool Operator.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
I was one of sixteen graduates from the 2016 TRAPS Leadership Academy for young professionals. Our facility received an American Red Cross Lifesaving award, as well as an Award of Exemplary Service from our fire department for a successful save. Our center won a WWA Wave Review Award for our website design.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
Growing up, I was never afraid of the water. My parents had to watch me closely or I would jump in without knowing how to swim. So, they put me on a community swim team. I swam competitively in high school, which made it an easy transition into lifeguarding. I knew how important it was to watch over these families, and to teach them skills that could potentially save their own or someone else’s life someday.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
Aquatics may seem like a large industry, but it’s actually a small community of likeminded people who have common goals and are not afraid or intimidated by sharing best practices.
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
Kelly Henderson, Supervisor at my first city as a lifeguard. After one summer, I was quickly moved into a leadership role. It was a love-hate relationship. He had high expectations, and gave me so much responsibility as a teenager. I remember thinking he was crazy, but I always took on the tasks and he always assured me I was fine. He believed in me more than he should have, but those long, hot summers of sweat, blood and tears, made me the aquatics professional I am today.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
Opening two facilities—a natatorium and waterpark—at the same time. Managing designs, construction, programming, schedules, policies, procedures and staffing was incredibly challenging. However, both have been successful.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
You will learn something new every day, especially from your staff. Trust your staff, give them the opportunity to grow and always be training for your replacement—even if you don’t plan on going anywhere.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
I read major industry publications that are aquatics, parks and recreation and health related. There is always something to learn from someone new.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
Watching and helping my staff develop and grow as individuals and as a team. We operate as a “Frog Squad” family, and I enjoy every day I am there knowing that we make a difference in our community.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
I have always wanted to start my own business venture; however, I am still working on what that would be exactly.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
Our city highly encourages professional development, whether that involves attending conferences or researching new trends.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I was a part of the oldest spirit organization in the state of Texas, The Purple Poo, at Tarleton. There are only 10 women and 10 men in, at any given time. The student’s identities are kept secret until they graduate. The purpose is to promote school spirit acting as a mascot, with a voice for the students.