For 16-year-old Caitlin Fruth, working this summer as a lifeguard at Taylor Pool fulfilled a longtime dream.
"Right here in Taylor is where I learned to swim and I was on the (Payson Pikes) swim team," she said. "Growing up here, I always wanted to be a lifeguard."
But before she could be hired in April as one of five rookie guards at the pool, she had to enroll in and pass a Red Cross certified lifeguard training class.
During the two weeks of training under former Taylor Pool manager Jim Quinlan, Fruth and the other guards were taught pool safety, water rescues, first aid and CPR.
"We practiced and practiced rescue skills," Fruth said. "That was probably the most difficult -- recognizing and doing each type of rescue."
At the end of the course, the guards had to take a certification test. After passing with flying colors, Fruth was ready to take on her dream job.
Although Taylor Pool was almost like a second home, she admits she was edgy her first day on the job.
"It is a little bit scary until you get used to it," she said. "It's a lot of responsibility.
The rescue skills Fruth learned in the guard training class proved worthwhile when in mid-summer she had to help pull a swimmer out of the pool who had suffered a seizer and was doing into diabetic shock.
"That got my adrenaline flowing," she said.
The real challenge of her new job, however, was not rescuing swimmers in trouble.
"It was ornery kids," she said. "When they don't obey, we have to make them get out of the pool. It's for their own safety."
Most of the young swimmers heed the cautions of the guards but a few sassy ones makes the job even more difficult.
"If you're going to be a guard, you have to be good with kids and know how to work with the problems," she said.
Fruth will return to classes at Payson High when the pool closes July 29 -- the day school starts.
She plans to continue working part-time in the evenings and on weekends until the pool closes for the winter Aug. 22.
Next year, she hopes to earn her Water Safety Instructor certification and begin teaching swim lessons as well as life guarding.
This summer, she volunteered as a WSI aide and found the work rewarding.
"I like teaching them. It was fun," she said.
In addition to working as a lifeguard, Fruth -- who will be a sophomore at PHS -- is an honor student and plays volleyball and basketball.