Taylor Thompson knows what it takes to be at top performance to work at a water park or any pool. He’s been a lifeguard since he was 16.
He’s the new aquatics director and program coordinator for the Farmington Parks and Recreation Department.
Thompson was hired for the position in January and officially took over the reins the following month after Jake LaHay accepted the position as director of the Desloge Parks and Recreation Department.
As aquatics director and program coordinator, Thompson manages operations of the year-round indoor pool area and seasonal water park; supervise and guide staff and assist them with maintaining up-to-date training and certifications; plan, organize and promote activities; along with other duties.
Regardless of the scope of the job, Thompson is ready to take on leadership of aquatics. He has previous experience working at the Emporia, Kansas recreation center’s aquatics department. While working in Kansas, he was the assistant aquatics supervisor and planned programs, events and activities for their indoor pool along with outdoor water park. He also assisted with hiring lifeguards and planning and running in-service operations held twice a month to maintain lifeguards’ skills.
In addition to Thompson’s experience of working eight years as a lifeguard, he has AFO, CPR and AED certifications. He is also a lifeguard instructor certified through American Red Cross.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” said Thompson, “but it is a good kind of nervous.”
He said he is feeling great regarding his new position and what their team has planned for the civic center and water park.
“I think I’m most excited about just being a part of this team and becoming a family with everyone,” said Thompson. “I know that we have a great staff right now and have great ideas ready or in the progress of being ready for this community to participate in.”
Thompson is most excited about seeing their team succeed – not only the people he works with but also seeing the lifeguards perform at their best and becoming one team together. He also wants to see their creative ideas mesh together to bring the most fun for the community.
“We have a great group of staff who are hard-working and dedicated to bring the best to the civic center and water park,” he said.
The team is working to plan upcoming events and activities. In fact, Thompson said he “always has many plans brewing up” in his mind to be put into action.
Once the water park’s opening date is closer and staffing has been fulfilled, the team will work together to plan activities to maintain a “great environment and fun at the civic center and water park for everyone of all ages in our community.”
“I really want to bring this community together when we plan our events and work as a community to grow all together and bring that community element to the planning table at our meetings,” he said.
Thompson said lifeguards are needed for the water park and civic center. Certification classes are scheduled for April 23-25. More information can be obtained by calling the civic center at 573-756-0900.
“If you are looking for a great and fun environment to work in this summer, come join our team,” he said. “We like to bring the fun and enjoyment to our work.”
He said he and his staff will work with lifeguards’ schedules and assist them with improving skills.
“We have lifeguard training days coming up in March and April so if you are looking for a place to work this summer, we would love to add you to our spectacular team,” he said.
For lifeguards who already have certification, they should apply online or call the civic center.
Thompson lives in Farmington but is from the Columbia area. He graduated from Cuba High School.
When he isn’t working, Thompson enjoys spending time with his parents, brother, sister-in-law and niece in Poplar Bluff.
He credits his family as a huge part of his success and the reason where he is today.
“They have never let me back down or settle for the minimum,” he said, “and I’ve taken that into my everyday life.”
He said his family has taught him to push through everything and to never give up. That is the mentality he is bringing with him to his position, not only for himself but also for his team.
“I won’t ever be able to thank my family enough for everything they have taught me and done for me,” he said.
In addition, Thompson enjoys supporting his brother, who coaches baseball for Neelyville High School.
He also hangs out with friends, plays and watches sports, hunts, fishes, and likes to go on adventures around town.
“I’m a very simple, easy-going person,” Thompson said, “so I am always looking for new adventures or things to do.”