Saturday, September 25, 2010

A long time ago...

Today, I am feeling reflective.  Looking back, life has always been interesting for me.  One of my first jobs was working at a wading pool/ park. Each summer, I used to play games with the local kids, run camp programs as well as coaching various sports.  It was a nice way to spend the summer.  One of the parks that I worked at frequently was Kew Gardens on Toronto's Beaches Community.

One of the primary jobs was to watch the wading pool (really low tech life guard).  It was a great way to get an exceptional farmers tan!  Then again, some of my favorite memories is playing with the kids in the pool, talking to the parents (especially the single moms and nannies) and generally enjoying summer.  The thing I won't miss however, is filling the pool every morning.  You have never felt cold like putting your feet into that water first thing.  I shiver thinking about it (and I still don not think about what was in that water by the end of a day with all those small children in the poll as well).

Every park had a 'hut'.  It was where the sports equipment, chemicals for the pool and first aid materials were kept.  There was so many good memories that happened in those huts.

One of the best traditions in these huts was signing the wall, ceiling or where ever else a signature could fit.  It is amazing to go back today and see all of the signatures.  In some of the huts you will find signatures of politicians, leaders of business and maybe even that of a PhD or two (and yes is says 1991 - 1998).

They have since cut back on these summer positions as a result of budget cuts.  It is sad to think how many kids I was able to keep out of trouble because they were at the park playing with me.  We had kids out actually being active and engaging one another.  We worked as mentors and role models. We provided a safe place for kids to be kids while giving parents an hour or two of peace.   This job taught me leadership skills, how to communicate effectively and the importance of empathy (sounds kid of like skills that would contribute to the development of a good educator).  All of this for a grand total of $5.85 an hour.  


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