I had worked as a lifeguard before working with Jeff Eliss Management in Oahu, but it had been a few years. I remember enjoying the work, so when the opportunity arose to be a lifeguard in Hawaii I was ecstatic.
I wanted the job because working in Hawaii seemed like an amazing experience. I had never been that far from my home in Florida, so it would be a fun chance to be on my own. My interests already broadly overlapped with a lot of what Hawaii offers as well: hiking, surfing, swimming, etc. It was only after taking the job that I began to learn more about JEM and what it offered as a company as well. JEM takes lifeguarding very seriously, which made me feel really valuable. The training was way more thorough than what I had done before, but they didn’t overwhelm me with content. They took time to make sure I understood the training, so that I felt confident watching the water. Lead guards do a great job addressing your needs on stand, and keeping you hydrated throughout the day. The fact that Disney fed us lunch was also one of my favorite perks of working at Aulani.
Picking a favorite part about Hawaii seems like an impossible task. Being from Florida, where our waves are almost always flat, I’m partial to the surf. It was so much more realistic to go surf on an off day. Most of the time in Florida that’s not an option, and you have to plan for when the waves are good. However, there’s so much to love. I didn’t fly in with many expectations, but Oahu exceeded whichever ones were hiding in my subconscious. It was more beautiful than I could have hoped. The east side of the island had mountains that were completely green, unlike any mountains I had ever seen before. Trails were intricate and fun. Every hike I went on felt different.
It was so easy to spend an entire day off hanging out on North Shore. One of the last things a few of the interns and I did was cage dive with sharks. That was a treat. So many sharks surrounded us, and as usual the water was deep blue and crystal clear. It’s awe inspiring how much color the ocean can pack while you can simultaneously see right through to the bottom.
If you’re even thinking about working for JEM HI, I encourage you to go for it! There’s not a lot of opportunities like this! While you’re away from home, you get the opportunity to live with other seasonal guards, who took the same opportunity. It feels a lot like summer camp. As long as you’re excited by the prospect, and like taking the time to explore, you’ll love it. I think it’s the best way to experience the island, because you get to work with locals and understand Oahu in a slightly more intimate way than traditional tourism. Come with love and respect in your heart and you’ll have an amazing time.