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Community Vista

Waterpark readies for new season, recognized for safety

The Wave Waterpark Manager Angela Palasik, Therron Dieckmann, director of recreation community services with the city of Vista, prepare for the upcoming season kicking off in May. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
The Wave Waterpark Manager Angela Palasik, Therron Dieckmann, director of recreation community services with the city of Vista, prepare for the upcoming season kicking off in May. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

VISTA — The Wave Waterpark is gearing up for its 24th season starting in May. While things are quiet at the park right now, all that will change when their doors open in the months ahead.

According to The Wave Waterpark Manager Angela Palasik, the hiring process is underway. The majority of the applicants are returning seasonal employees.

Most applicants are between the ages of 16 and 20, she said.

Palasik said they are currently reviewing past hires while new applicants can start submitting applications beginning on Feb. 20.

“This is a great job, especially for first-time job experience,” she said. “There’s a lot of accountability that we hold them (employees) to,” she said. “It (The Wave Waterpark) gives them good experience for going into fields of nursing, firefighters or emergency medical technicians. So, a lot of our lifeguards will transition into those fields.”

In addition to hiring 100 lifeguards, other job opportunities include guest services and concessions.

Palasik shared that the job atmosphere is teamwork oriented. They have a leadership team in place that they will pair up with new staff members.

“We have a mentorship program which is returning staff members that like to share with the new staff members tricks that they’ve learned along the way,” Palasik said. “We’ll put them in teams throughout the summer and do team activities.”

Another part of the job is to have fun — there are employee family-oriented events after hours such as barbeques.

Palasik attributes the return of their staff members to the family-type of atmosphere that is built during the summertime. For three months, fellow employees can make lifelong friends.

The Wave Waterpark is opened from Memorial Day to when Vista Unified schools reopen right around mid-August, she said. The waterpark also stays open on the weekends up to the end of September.

Palasik said The Wave Waterpark was awarded last month with a StarGuard Elite 5-Star Rating. It has received this honor for 11 consecutive years. Palasik said this recognition conveys a message that employees are working at a place that takes training and safety seriously.

StarGuard auditors come to the park unannounced and do an anonymous investigation to ensure all rules and safety measures are enforced.

Therron Dieckmann, director of recreation community services with the city of Vista, explained how he regularly works with Parasik and her staff at the waterpark. Dieckmann oversees the entire aquatics division. 

“I think it says a lot about the city of Vista’s leadership both past and present to have an amenity like this that’s been in service for over 20 years,” he said. “And an aquatics operation, let alone a waterpark, is a very expensive operation especially when it doesn’t operate 12 months of the year. So, making that affordable for our citizens and folks who visit the Wave Waterpark as a destination is always one of our top goals aside from safety and having a great user experience here.”

Dieckmann went on to say that elected officials and the city manager’s office have made it a point to give the waterpark the funding they need to help subsidize the operations and keep the price points affordable. 

“I feel like we do a great job and The Wave Waterpark is definitely a destination for visitors not only from the city of Vista but San Diego County as well as other areas around,” he said.

In addition to San Diego County, people travel from Temecula and as far north as Mission Viejo and Los Angeles.

Aside from families, schools and summer camps also take part in the fun and have even been known to rent the waterpark after hours.   

Dieckmann said corporate events also happen at the waterpark.

“Businesses try to do special outings for their employees and their families, and we’re a great venue for that,” he said. “Where else can you go and just kind of chill out with your family, enjoy the water to cool off and even have food here? We have different amenities like Flow Rider where you can simulate surfing, Lazy River if you’re just looking to float for a while, or just kick back in a chair, soak up the sun and just enjoy some relaxing downtime.”

Dieckmann also noted a new splash pad, a zero-depth water play area, is under construction for tiny tots.

“Angela and her staff are the best around,” Dieckmann said. “If you come to The Wave Waterpark, you will be met with great customer service.”

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