Many would like to take a break from the hot summer weather with a day at Oceans of Fun and Worlds of Fun. Bridgette Bywater is the woman in charge of safety and security at both parks.
Her career with the parks began at a fairly early age - she was 16 when she started out. The once-shy teen said her experience gave her the courage to open up.
"I know that I gained a lot of self-confidence working out here. And I really have a lot of confidence in my ability as a manager," she said.
That same confidence convinced Bywater she had what it takes to work in the industry. She knew as soon as she hit college that this is what she wanted to do full time.
Bywater studied marketing and management. Those skills helped her rise in the ranks to where she is now.
It's a job where people might not expect to find a woman.
"I feel like a security situation, even safety, when you're dealing with people having an emergency, I feel like I get a more positive reaction when they realize that I'm the one going to oversee and handle the situation. I think it's just calming for them," Bywater said.
After riding a wave to the top, Bywater now gets to mentor those just starting out.
"It's really an amazing job because I literally work with hundreds of young people each year and the most rewarding part of that is when they come back five, even 10 years later and share their life successes with me," she said.
Bywater averages a six-day work week during the summer and has a 4-year-old daughter, Trinity. She said it's not the amount of time they're together, but the quality of that time.
"When I'm at home, I make every moment count with my child. It's really easy if you've got laundry, house chores. I keep reminding myself that my daughter is my No. 1 priority and, if she can't help me with the chores, then I can find another time to do that," she said.
But home life doesn't give her much of a break from work. Her husband is the director of operations at the parks. Even her parents have a special history with them.
"My parents both worked out here when the park first opened. And they just happened to sit down next to each other, engaged in conversation, started dating and they were engaged within six months, married with a year," Bywater said.
She hopes her daughter will carry on the family legacy and work there when she grows up. She'll be old enough to start in just 10 years.
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Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:01 PM EDT2014-09-16 19:01:19 GMT
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