Many adults look back on their first job with fondness. It was a time to gain some independence, make new friends, and maybe earn a little spending money. Maybe it was flipping burgers at the local fast food joint, watching the neighborhood kids, or bagging groceries. But many teens choose to work for their local park district.
Park districts are often the leading employer of youth in their community, and Elmhurst is no different. The summer months bring a wide variety of seasonal jobs, including parks crews, camp counselors, swim instructors, and lifeguards. Each summer, the Elmhurst Park District employs more than 300 seasonal workers. And while there are many options for teens to earn some extra cash and fill their time in the summer, the park district offers something meaningful. It allows teens the opportunity to make a positive impact on the community and to be part of a team.
Brittany Le Gal got her start at the park district in 2000 as a lifeguard and swim instructor when she was just 15 years old. She went on to become an assistant manager, lifeguard instructor and then eventually a manager. Even into adulthood, Le Gal returns each summer to manage the pools and assist with special events.
“I grew up at the pools. Every summer that I can remember, I enjoyed swimming at the pools and participating in swim lessons,” she said, “I loved working there as a teen because I made new friends, got to work outside, and the hours were flexible. Those friendships are so special because we’ve shared some big life accomplishments together such as finding our full-time dream jobs, getting married, and having babies!”
The pool isn’t the only place to spend the summer and make an impact. Teens have an opportunity to be part of something great all across the District. They can serve as a role model and mentor as a camp counselor, make a positive impact on an individual with disabilities as an inclusion aid, ensure a fun and safe experience as a guest service staff at The Hub, provide fun for the entire community as a special event staff, or keep parks safe and beautiful as a grounds worker.
Despite the fact that Le Gal has a full-time job teaching first grade, she chooses to return to the park district each summer for a number of reasons.
“Working for the park district, I’ve had the chance to not only work with some wonderful people, but I’ve also had the opportunity to meet people from the community and help them have an enjoyable experience,” she said, “I love to see the little boy or girl from swim lessons come back the following summer fearless of the water. Or the child who was afraid to jump off the diving board overcome their fear and fall in love with it!”
It is the mission of Park District to enrich lives while having fun, and seasonal staff are at the heart of that mission. They’re part of a greater vision to provide memorable experiences for everyone in Elmhurst, and they get to be part of a pretty great team!
“As cliché as it may sound, the park district has been such a big part of my life, and if I didn't come back for a summer, I would miss it,” Le Gal said, “Building relationships with my fellow co-workers makes work so much more enjoyable!”
The Park District is currently in the process of hiring for seasonal workers, and available positions are now posted online at epd.org. If you want to make a difference and have a meaningful work experience, take the plunge and apply today.
“I definitely recommend that teens apply to work for the Park District,” Le Gal said, “You will learn some valuable life lessons, and it’s a great experience!”
And not to mention, fun!
For more information about seasonal jobs at the Elmhurst Park District, please visit www.epd.org or call 630.993.8900.