Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guarding the World: Why lifeguarding is NOT a horrible role

FACT. Lifeguards are as cool, if not cooler than pirates...photo credit

Regular Schedule

When compared to pretty much any other role you might get on the CP; lifeguards come out with the best hours. Winter hours (September-late March) are 9-10 hour shifts, which are really exhausting, but once you get used to them they aren't horrible. The best part is that you can easily get days off if you want to go on a trip during your program. And if you don't want that many days off, you can usually pick up shifts from other people pretty easily. When you're not on winter hours, you're on split shifts. I've only worked split shifts for one week, so I can't really tell you anything definitive. I worked PM shifts from 1500-2230. The AM shift is like 900-1630. I think different resorts have different hours so it will depend. The good thing about split shifts, besides not working 10 hours a day, is that you can work double shifts, which is great if you're looking for more hours. Or more days off. Depends on what you want out of your program.


Exercise

"Any stand can be a roving stand, if you just believe!" This quote is like this running gag I have with myself. It's probably only funny to me....Anyways.

I tend to rove a lot, even on stands with a chair. Sometimes I challenge myself to see how long I can go without sitting. Personally I think it makes the time go faster. And plus when I'm walking, it's like I'm getting paid to exercise at work. Who else can say that about their job? I've worked an office job before, and I had to make a conscious effort to walk during my shift. But lifeguarding I'm guaranteed to get a good level of exercise during every shift. Plus guarding in the Florida heat? That'll help you shed a bit of weight if you're interested in that.

Costume

You have a pretty simple, not horrendous costume as a lifeguard. Also since you wear a swimsuit as part of your costume (at least for a girl), I had very little laundry to do on my program, since I could return all my work clothes for clean clothes at Costuming. Also since I wore a hat and sunglasses every shift, I never had to do my hair or makeup for work. I did wear makeup once in a while, just for fun.


Training

Although your lifeguard training is only good for use with the Disney company, it is very comprehensive training. And with regular inservice trainings, you will really know your stuff by the end. I have gone through YMCA and Red Cross lifeguard training before Ellis, which helped me, but I felt a lot more confident and capable after the Disney Ellis training. And I can tell that even lifeguards just starting out with Disney are very well prepared.

On top of the training (at least for Pop/Art), our coordinators did regular VATs and audits. As stressful as the idea of getting audited at any moment is, I loved live audits. First of all they made a normal, kind of slow day go faster. But more importantly they validated my skills as a lifeguard, which really helped my confidence. Or they showed me exactly what I knew and what I could focus on in my next inservice.

Camaraderie

I've read somewhere before that Lifeguard CPs have the best social lives... While I can neither confirm nor deny this statement, I can say that I made some amazing friends as a lifeguard. Also you bond with your coworkers differently than any other role.  You practice lifeguard skills together, you watch each other's backs, you stress out about VATs/Ellis audits together, you share the same weird tanlines, etc. Plus you get away with a little more as a cast member. Even though you're "onstage" even at the pool and on stand, you still have more chances to joke around with your coworkers.

Closing Spiels

Okay, so this category would probably not be on a lot of people's lists, but I loved doing closing spiels in the evening. For me this was the one part of the evening where I could be creative. Since I worked at Art of Animation I always did a "themed" closing spiel depending on the pool. About a month into my time at Art, management came out with specific "themed spiels" for us to say. I never used them. I said a different spiel every night, and personally I loved that.

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