Empathy Intervention- Jake Huff

I have been lifeguarding at the same community pool since I was a freshman in high school. This means that I have a lot of experience and know almost entirely how the system is supposed to work and all the details. Due to that, I have to help teach and monitor all the new guards when they start working at the pool. At the beginning of this most recent summer, we got a whole new batch of guards, a few of which I was already friends with because I knew them from my years on the swim team. A few weeks in we had a situation where we had multiple guards watching the pool because there were so many people in the pool and a person started to drown in one of the new guard’s zone. However, they were not paying any attention and the person was struggling heavily for a long time. Another guard then noticed this and jumped in to save this person and we had to go through the whole process. Afterwards, I was super mad and started yelling at the new guard for not being attentive and not knowing what they were doing. I then noticed how scared she looked and the way that she was about to break into tears and I realized that when I was a brand new guard I would have been absolutely terrified in that situation. I then calmed down a bit and we spent an hour after our shift talking about the stress and fear that she was feeling. I then explained to her the importance of watching the pool at all times and gave her advice on what she needed to be doing. Since then I’ve tried to take a much more empathetic leadership role with the new guards and I’ve tried to learn as much from these intense experiences as the new guards do.

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