It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since our first swim school opened in Birmingham, MI! A lot has changed since then. As time has gone by, our Goldfish Family has grown—and so have the swimmers we taught all those years ago! Now those little fish are all grown up and dreaming about the pool of possibilities ahead of them.
It seems like just yesterday we were preparing to welcome them to our pool for the first time, and now we’re excited to welcome them back to the pool again! They still come in with a smile and leave with the same feeling of accomplishment, but this time they’re the ones handing out ribbons and high fives. As swim instructors, lifeguards and WOW! Customer Service Team Members, they’re saving lives and making an impact in our community while building their work experience and learning life lessons they’ll use later on in their careers.
Continue reading to meet some former Goldfish Grads who are making a splash in the lives of the next generation of kids who are Growing Up Goldfish!
As one of Goldfish Birmingham’s charter members, Maggie was one of the first students to take lessons when the school officially opened in 2006. When you walk into the school, you can still see a tiny, yellow fish-shaped handprint with her name hanging on the wall—something she remembers creating to celebrate the school’s opening when she was three!
“I was only three when I started lessons, so I don’t remember much. But, I do remember the day I put my handprint on the wall,” she said. “They asked me what color I wanted my fishy to be, and I said YELLOW because that’s been my favorite color ever since I was little.”
She went on to graduate from Goldfish’s swim lesson program and joined the Swim Force team before going on to swim competitively at a local club, where she had an opportunity to help younger swimmers work on their technique.
Today, Maggie is back at Goldfish, where she helps lifeguard, and teaches kids of all ages how to be safer in and around the water. Her favorite part of the job? Making learning how to swim fun, and helping her students realize their potential!
“I love working with the kids,” she said. It’s great to see them get excited when they accomplish something new and realize how much they’re capable of. They can do so many cool things! My job is to help them find the confidence to try something new.”
Maggie loves that her job at Goldfish allows her to make money, while having fun! As a recent high school graduate preparing to head off to college, Maggie says the income she’s earning at Goldfish is helping her become more independent, and she enjoys the ability to fund her other passion, knitting!
When you work at Goldfish, you're not just an employee. You're a part of something bigger. You're making an impact and moving forward a life-saving mission! That’s what inspired this Goldfish Grad to come aboard and join a team that’s making waves.
Like Maggie, Luna also grew up learning how to swim at Goldfish - Birmingham. It’s where she says her love of swimming started, and a large part of what propelled her to continue swimming competitively.
Today, she teaches kids of all ages how to swim and is training to be a Swim Force coach at the same Goldfish she grew up learning how to swim at. Luna looks forward to continuing the important work Goldfish started by helping kids learn how to swim, respect the water and have lots of fun along the way!
“That’s what my instructors did for me,” she said. “They always made lessons really fun and engaging, and I want to give back and keep the cycle going by making a positive impact on the kids I teach.”
Everything came full circle for Luna after she finished training and started teaching lessons by herself. She was one of the big fish now! And, on the same day she finished her first solo shift, she ran into someone she hadn’t seen in a long time—someone she says had a big impact on her swimming abilities. It was one of her former swim instructors, Miss Clarey, who now works at Goldfish as the Franchise Office’s Curriculum Development Manager.
“It was a really cool feeling to see Miss Clarey standing in the lobby on the same day I finished my first solo shift,” she recalled. “She was always really encouraging and provided me with a lot of feedback that helped me improve my technique—something I hope to pass onto my students.”
Since going through training, Luna says she’s gotten a lot more confident in her teaching abilities. And while this isn’t her first time teaching swim lessons, it is the first time she says she genuinely enjoys the experience of coming to work each day.
“I used to teach kids how to swim at a local high school pool,” she said. “The water was cold, the walls were gray and not many people really looked forward to getting in. The atmosphere at Goldfish is just so different! It’s bright and colorful, the water is always warm and everyone is always so cheerful. As soon as kids step in the door, they’re curious to know what lessons are like and that makes my job as an instructor a lot more fun.”
As she heads into her senior year of high school and gets ready to graduate, Luna says the interpersonal skills she’s learning at Goldfish will help her succeed in college, and her career. She’s always known she has wanted to go into the medical field, and is now considering a career in pediatric medicine because Goldfish opened her eyes to how much she enjoys working with kids.
Ever since she was little, Carley has always wanted to be a teacher when she grows up. As a swim instructor at Goldfish, she’s able to combine her love of swimming with her passion for teaching to make a splash in the lives of children while building up her resume and learning life lessons that will help her make BIG waves later in her career!
“I’ve never loved any job I've had before so much in my life,” she said. “It really is the perfect job for me! I love being with kids. I swim competitively, and I want to teach when I’m older—does it get any better than that?”
Like Luna, she enjoys working with kids and loves watching the sense of pride and accomplishment wash over their faces when they master a new skill.
“When I was learning how to swim and I finally got something right that I’d been working hard on for months, I was so happy and proud of myself,” she shared. “I get the same feeling when I watch my swimmers’ light up with joy and see that same look of satisfaction on their faces.”
Although she was never afraid of the water growing up, she knows not all kids are as comfortable with the water when they first begin lessons. Since coming aboard Goldfish and going through training, Carley says she’s learned how to work with kids who may have different learning styles and personalities—a skill she knows will come in handy later on in her career.
“As a teacher, I’m going to have a lot of different types of kids in my class and will need to be able to understand them on a deeper level,” she said. “At Goldfish, I teach a variety of levels that have kids of all ages and abilities. I love making learning fun for the little ones just as much as I love being able to dive in deeper and help my older kids with their technique. Whenever any of my students do something great, I make sure to throw a whole celebration like they just conquered the biggest thing in the world so they feel really good about themselves.”
Above all, Carley enjoys knowing that the work she’s doing is making a real impact!
“Some kids don’t know how to swim, and it can really impact their lives when they're older,” she said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to help kids learn how to swim so they can be safe.”
Like many of his fellow team members, Christos also enjoys the sport of swimming—but it wasn’t always that way.
“Growing up, I wasn’t always a big swim guy,” he said. “Swimming was a little frustrating and pretty difficult. But Goldfish was always a really welcoming, friendly and supportive environment. It made me excited to get in the pool and learn how to swim. It became more enjoyable and began my love of swimming.”
Today, Christos feels good knowing the work he’s doing is having a positive impact that allows kids to learn how to swim so they won’t have a fear of swimming.
“I loved going to Goldfish when I was a kid,” he said. “My instructors were always so friendly and fun to be around. I looked up to them! Now, I want to do my part to be a good role model and create the same experience for the kids taking lessons there today.”
As a lifeguard at Goldfish - Birmingham, Christos is focused on water safety and creating a friendly environment for kids. He loves putting smiles on swimmers’ faces and hopes to continue training to become an instructor one day.
It's often said that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life—and that’s exactly how Zoë feels about working at Goldfish.
“When I was looking for a job, I knew I wanted something that I’d genuinely enjoy doing every day and I can confidently say that I made a really good decision when I decided to work at Goldfish,” she told us. “Every day is different, and there’s never a dull moment. It’s always so much fun—the team is awesome, everyone gets along really well, the kids are always super excited and I absolutely love it!”
When she’s not busy working, Zoë has a passion for singing and will be heading off to college in Nashville later this summer to pursue a degree in commercial music—a skill she says comes in handy when singing all the songs we use to teach babies in our Mini Classes.
As someone who loves to perform, Zoë has previously worked at musical theater camps and knows what it takes to put on a good show and make learning fun for kids. Her secret to success? Being a kid at heart, herself!
“Every kid learns differently,” she said. “In order to know how to teach them, you have to be able to get on their level sometimes. They want to come in and have fun. That’s their goal! Obviously they want to learn too, but they really want to have fun. It’s your job to figure out how to encourage them in a way that makes their experience fun.”
It helps that she had some great swim teachers as role models when she was growing up.
“All of my instructors at Goldfish were great! I remember there was this one instructor I had for awhile that always made the extra effort to make me feel welcome,” she shared. “They knew I liked to sing, and so whenever they saw me they would always start singing the theme song to the show Zoey 101, since that’s my name. Little things like that always made going to class more exciting for me.”
Having taken swim lessons at Goldfish, she says it feels like she started training for the job well before she was hired.
“Having an understanding of what swim lessons at Goldfish are like helped prepare me for the work I’m doing now, and how I want my students to feel about class since I was one of them at one point.”
Even if you didn’t take lessons at Goldfish, or you don’t have much swim experience, Zoë says anyone who enjoys working with kids has the opportunity to make a difference at Goldfish.
“If you don’t have experience, it’s not something you have to worry about because they really work with you to make sure you’re prepared,” she said. “Everyone is really welcoming and wants you to succeed. You’ll have the opportunity to shadow other instructors, which is a great way to meet new people and gain experience, before you gradually start teaching classes yourself.”
If you’re like Zoë and love having fun, making kids smile, feeling like part of a team and helping make our community safer, all while making money AND building up your resume, we have no doubt you’ll LOVE working at Goldfish, too!
As the oldest of four kids, Grace grew up watching her brothers and sisters and babysitting other kids—something she says sparked her interest in working with young children and prepared her for the work she’s doing at Goldfish.
“I’ve always liked watching kids,” she said. “They’re super cute and do the most adorable things. I love interacting with the babies I teach in my Mini classes at Goldfish.”
As a certified lifeguard, and a member of the swim and dive team at her high school, Grace thought getting a job at Goldfish would allow her to utilize her experience while doing something she loves. And after hearing about how much her friends enjoyed working there, she decided to apply for the job.
Since coming aboard, Grace says the things she enjoys most about working there is the ability to help kids learn important water safety skills, while having fun and making new friends.
“It’s like one big Goldfish Family,” she said. “It’s a fun environment and everyone is always uplifting. The training Goldfish does is great, too! I felt well prepared on my first day, and it feels good to help kids develop skills that will help them be safe when they’re in or around water.”
NOW HIRING! GOLDFISH GRADS WANTED FOR A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
Over 15 years, swimmers have grown up to become instructors and lifeguards, and instructors and lifeguards have turned part-time jobs into full-on careers—going on to become managers, members of the Franchise Support Team and even franchisees!
If your little fish is all grown up and ready to jump into their next Golden opportunity, there’s a pool of possibilities waiting for them at Goldfish! We’re looking for instructors, lifeguards and WOW! Customer Service Team Members who are high-energy, motivated and passionate about making a difference in the lives of children - and in their careers.
Get ready to love what you do, and change lives at the pool! Swim back up to your local Goldfish Swim School to learn about their available positions today.