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Lifeguard duty

This is one in an occasional series of stories about teens on the job. Find details about becoming a lifeguard and what the job entails at the end of the Q&A.

Nate Geary, 17, is a lifeguard and diving coach at Brookfield Country Club in Clarence. He graduated from Lancaster High School and will be on the University of Notre Dame Diving team this fall.

NeXt: Why did you decide to become a lifeguard?

I've been swimming and diving for most of my life, so it was a natural fit. Being in the sun all day and interacting with people really makes it a great job.

NeXt: What is your favorite duty on the job?

Coaching diving is fun; I really enjoy it. Although the season just started, it's great to see the kids' progress and watch them become better divers. Being able to actively do what I love is amazing.

NeXt: Least favorite part of the job?

Tidying up when people leave towels and food behind.

NeXt: How do you get to work?

I rock a '93 Dodge Intrepid, it's the perfect example of getting someone from point A to point B.

NeXt: Besides actually lifeguarding, do you have any other tasks while working?

It's actually a lot more than just watching over people. Being in the sun can be dangerous if you're not careful with sunscreen and cooling off once in a while. Cleaning up the deck area, checking and adjusting the pool chemicals, vacuuming the pool and emptying garbage cans are all part of the job.

NeXt: What have you learned that will help you in your future life?

I have gained maturity and a sense of responsibility being trusted with the well-being of others.


* Job Overview: A certified lifeguard has training in first-responder health care, water safety and accident prevention. Lifeguarding combines the fun of being outdoors and under the sun with the serious responsibility of helping others avoid injuries and acting as a first responder for all emergencies.

* Requirements: Most employers require the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course as well as the American Red Cross CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer. Class schedules and information can be found by calling the Buffalo Chapter of the Red Cross at 878-2387.

* Pay and Hours: Pay can range from minimum wage to $14 an hour. Typically the pay will be higher at busy pools and apartment complexes where there is only one lifeguard on duty. Pool patrons will often pay extra for lessons. Hours per week can vary greatly depending on the pool. Talk to the manager about expectations.

Ryan Brown will be a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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