Sophomore Alicia Demaree walked across the warm concrete to the edge of the shallow pool at Arroyo Pool Complex. She looked back as three children clad in goggles and swimsuits came bounding towards her.
Across town, sophomore Leah Voorhees played peek-a-boo with a small boy. Simultaneously, she watched two girls play with blocks from out of the corner of her eye.
For the rest of the afternoon, both Demaree and Voorhees take on the responsibility of working women.
“You have to be more [mature] than other people [who don’t have jobs] because there’s lots of responsibility involved with working,” Voorhees said.
Twice a week the petite sophomore spends her afternoons at Kids on Cowell Daycare Center, taking care of up to 14 children with ages ranging from a few months to 6 years.
Like many other teens, almost-16-year-old Voorhees takes her part-time job seriously. While she has fun working with “her kids”, she also realizes the responsibility bestowed upon her.
Voorhees also believes that her work experience at Kids on Cowell has made her a more responsible, independent person.
Lexi White is currently looking for a job. She believes that working teens can often times be more successful than teens who don’t search for jobs until later in life.
“Overall it depends on the person, but in order to hold a job and be successful, you have to be mature and it therefore prepares you for the future,” White said,
White considers herself mature, but thinks teenagers’ reputations can cause employers to be wary of hiring young adults. “[The fact that] some teens aren’t mature takes opportunities away from the [teens] who are serious about their futures,” White said.
White stresses that jobs can be beneficial to teens, but also argues that someone must be adequately mature in order to be hired in the first place.
“[If you want a job, you have to] present yourself in a sophisticated way and be ready to make changes in your schedule and be able to manage time,” White said.
White brings up the fact that many working teens must be able to juggle work, school, and extracurricular activities.
“I want a job so bad and I want to be successful,” White said. She is currently in the process of applying to be a basketball coach for the City of Davis Basketball Rec League.
Sandra Montgomery, the Community Services Coordinator of the City of Davis, views working for the city as a great learning experience for teens.
Along with getting paid, learning life skills and having an enjoyable time, part-time jobs can benefit teens tremendously in the long run, according to Montgomery.
“Having a job shows future employers that you are a responsible, mature, organized, and dedicated individual. The workforce can be very competitive, and having prior work experience, such as a summer job, can give you an edge over other applicants,” Montgomery said.
One of Montgomery’s many duties is to interview and hire City of Davis aquatics staff, like Demaree, a swim instructor aide.
Demaree has worked at Davis pools for the past two summers, teaching children how to swim.
Every weekday afternoon during the summer, Demaree takes on the duty of bringing one to three children under her wing and instructing them on pool and water safety.
“Getting paid is awesome, but it’s also cool knowing I’m teaching these kids real things. The whole experience makes me feel more grown-up,” Demaree said.