Student Summer Jobs In Ottawa: What Are You “Wading” For?


When I was a kid, summer meant one thing: swimming.

I must admit this sentiment hasn’t really changed for me. When the thermometer climbs above 25 degrees I’ve still got beaches and pools on the brain.

Because I am not the only person with this mentality, most places that house a body of water get pretty busy and need to up their staffing quota for the summertime. For students, that means summer jobs. If you never had the chance to go through for your lifeguard certifications, you are still in luck!

Most medium and large cities are full of – you guessed it – wading pools! For example, the City of Ottawa hires over 200 students every summer to work as Park Programmers at various wading pools throughout the city. In addition to being fun, these student summer jobs give you a lot of responsibility and allow you to gain some essential skills.

Jasmine Rasuli, a fourth year Communications and Business Administration student at the University of Ottawa, worked as a Parks Programmer for four years and gave me some insight regarding this student summer job that no one seems to know about.

How did you hear about this student summer job in Ottawa?

Jasmine: It was completely by chance. I applied at a complex for a summer lifeguarding job and they told me they had a park programmer position open.

What designations do you need to hold a summer job like this?

Jasmine: You need to have your Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid certification. Also, you need to be able to swim!

What are the biggest rewards and challenges of this summer job?

Jasmine: With every job, there are some pros and cons. Overall, I’d say I spent the best summers of my life at the wading pool. Working with friends, being outside, having a flexible schedule and not having to work early mornings or late nights are only some of the biggest rewards that we often take for granted (I now work in a professional environment and I definitely miss the wading pool’s atmosphere!).

As for the challenges, there are a few. The biggest one is the unpredictable salary. Every morning, the wading pool supervisor calls in to the weather hotline to determine whether or not the pool will be opening that day. Factors affecting operation include rain, cold weather (below 20 degrees Celsius) and thunderstorms. It can be extremely frustrating when the parks and recs managers decide to close the pool, but it ends up being a gorgeous day. As a result, everyone working loses hours and wages. I wish I could say these are rare occurrences, but it happens often.

What transferable skills did you gain from this summer job?

Jasmine: Since I’m studying Communication and Business Administration I am hoping to either do public relations or human resources. Working at the wading pool has allowed me to gain significant public relations skills. Also, as a supervisor, I was able to apply the knowledge I’ve gained from courses to my staff (for example, how to motivate workers).

I think this sort of job looks good on any resume; having First Aid and CPR qualifications, dealing with the public, supervising and ensuring a safe environment, developing creative thinking and being assertive are all great (and employable) characteristics that you can develop by working at the wading pool.

What else do we need to know about this student summer job?

Jasmine: Working at a wading pool is like joining a small, tight-knit community. There are plenty of socials (for example, boat cruises and volleyball games), so it’s guaranteed to be an awesome summer (even if it rains!). I recommend this student summer job in Ottawa to everyone who loves kids and being outdoors.

Photo credit: ttcopley on Flickr