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Homeschool student makes splash with summer job

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Fourth in a series

By Robert Villanueva

Homeschool student Kerry Skiff snagged what many might consider the ideal summer job: working as a lifeguard at a pool.

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Skiff works at White Mills Christian Camp.

“I like the idea of working in a Christian atmosphere,” Skiff said.

But such a job is not just fun in the sun.

“It’s really taught me a lot about responsibility,” Skiff said. “It was really sobering ... to find out how many different things can go wrong.”

Drowning, heart attack, stroke and head injury are among the possible scenarios she could face as a lifeguard. That is the most difficult part of the job, she said.

Skiff, a high school senior, actually first applied for the job at White Mills Christian Camp last summer.

At the time she applied, Skiff was told the positions were already filled for that summer and to call back in January, when they hire for the coming summer.

So she did.

Though she didn’t have any training as a lifeguard, Skiff was called in for an interview. A week or two later, someone called Skiff about the position.

“They hired me first,” Skiff said, explaining she was then told to get lifeguard training at Anderson Aquatics Center at Fort Knox.

Part of what made Skiff interested in applying for the job was that her sister went to summer camp there. That wasn’t the only reason she decided to get a job though.

“My brother had had one, and college is so expensive,” she said.

Skiff plans to save money for her secondary education. She’s considering a major in journalism.

As a lifeguard, Skiff arrives at the pool 30 to 45 minutes before campers are scheduled to swim. She sets up the umbrellas, makes sure the first-aid kits are at the site and sometimes checks the pool chemicals, among other duties.

Like other teens with summer jobs, Skiff balances her job with other activities. A soccer player, she arranges her work hours around her soccer practice.

For teens thinking about getting a summer job next year, Skiff advised they should keep in mind some flexibility on their part might be required.

Skiff’s job involves helping out in other areas when needed, such as the kitchen.

And though a normal work week for Skiff consists of 15 to 20 hours, not all schedules are five days of three to four hours. Any teen considering a job should be aware of that, she said.

“Be prepared to work unexpected hours because I worked a 12-hour day that I never expected to do,” she said.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

Knowing which jobs to avoid
is important for teens

Finding a job is a common goal for high school students, but knowing which are best to avoid can be as important as knowing what to look for.

Each year the National Consumers League compiles a list called Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens.

Twenty-seven workers under 18 -- including 13 younger than 16 -- died in the workplace in 2009.

An estimated 146,000 youth sustain work-related injuries each year, translating to 400 young workers injured on the job every day, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

NCL’s five most dangerous jobs for working youth in 2011 are:

•Agriculture: Harvesting crops and using machinery

•Construction and height work

•Traveling youth sales crews

•Outside Helper: Landscaping, groundskeeping and lawn service

•Driver/Operator: Forklifts, tractors and ATV’s

To view the complete report, visit www.nclnet.org.