Summer jobs still available for students

Carrie Circosta

If only all students could lie on the beach all summer without a care in the world.

However, in reality most students need a summer job. But some students are finding that working during the summer is not only fun, it may have life-long benefits.

“The summer is the only time I really work,” said Melinda Shilling, junior integrated language arts major. During the summer, Shilling is a certified outdoor lifeguard and a camp counselor. She said it comes natural to her because of her major and the activities she did in high school.

“I love the water and I was on the swim team in high school, so it makes sense,” Shilling said. She said working with kids between the ages of six and 18 also reassured her that she could be a teacher. Last summer was the first time she worked with kids at a church camp called Camp Wakonda in Sherrodsville, Ohio.

“Not only did I love it, I was also good at it,” Shilling said. She said she got paid $1,500 for seven weeks, including training.

At Camp Wakonda, Shilling was in charge of a cabin that held about 10 girls. She said a new set of kids would come each week, and each day started at 8 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m. Shilling said kids would break off into explore groups after breakfast and do things such as hiking, canoeing and community service. The kids played games such as kickball, mud volleyball and tug of war. The camp held big events in the evening so everyone could be together.

“It was a long summer, but it was a lot of fun,” Shilling said. This summer Shilling was hired to be a counselor for the Summer Institute for the Gifted at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia. It starts June 24 and lasts six weeks. She said she gets paid a little extra because she is lifeguard certified.

Shilling is also a lifeguard at Woodlawn Village in Canton this summer, and will earn $5.75 an hour, working five to six-hour days. Shilling said to become a lifeguard, a person has to pass a test just to get into a class.

“You have to constantly swim 500 yards and be able to lift and take a rock, that weighs no more than 20 pounds, off to the side of the pool,” Shilling said. After passing the test, she said she had to pay $200 to take the lifeguard class every Sunday at the Community Youth Center for six to seven weeks, where she learned about first aide, CPR and water rescue.

“Then you take a test when the class is done,” Shilling said. “If you pass, you get your certification in the mail.”

Other Kent State students are also working hard this summer. Sophomore geology major Larry Duffy is working at Olmsted Falls High School near Cleveland doing maintenance and custodial work for $8 an hour, 35 hours a week. Duffy said he’s also working at Michaud’s catering service in Strongsville. He said he’s working Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. for $8.50 an hour.

“The catering is for parties like weddings, class reunions, birthdays and anniversaries,” Duffy said. A party of 1,500 was the biggest Duffy ever had to help cater.

There are still some jobs available, but they are going fast.

Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom is hiring people for all of their departments, such as admissions, aquatics, games, food service and ride operations.

“You can apply online at and pick your top three choices,” said Lexi Robinson, the spokeswoman for Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom. “Pay does vary, but it starts at $6.25 per hour. When you get to work, you sign an employment contract that says I will work beginning at this date and end at this date. If you fulfill that, you earn a bonus check, earning $1 for every hour worked.”

Robinson is a 2003 graduate of Kent State and started working at Geauga Lake her junior year.

“It’s a nice environment because you’re around people your own age,” Robinson said. “It’s like summer camp. You watch everyone grow up together.”

Robinson said there’s also employee benefits such as free admission to the park on days off, movie nights and free employee ride nights, where the park keeps a couple of rides open just for the employees.

“There’s a big event at the end of the summer called the Big Bash,” Robinson said. “We open up at 10 a.m. for the employees and they get as much free food as they can handle.”

But if students are looking for employment close to campus, PARTA is hiring bus drivers for the fall, and students can get paid for their training during the summer.

“You start at $6 an hour during training and as soon as you get your license you start at $7 an hour,” PARTA trainer John Enlow said.

Enlow said students have to qualify for training by not having more than two points on their license, which can include a speeding ticket for driving faster than 75 mph and having had their license for at least two years. A student can apply online or go to the PARTA office.

Amber Prekler, the Kent State campus tour coordinator, is also continuing to take applications.

Contact features correspondent Carrie Circosta at [email protected].