Working for Lenexa: lifeguarding as a teenager leads to career in aquatics

McKenzie White started working for the City of Lenexa Parks & Recreation Department in 2019 as an outdoor lifeguard.

She has life-saving skills to rescue a drowning person from a pool. But the motivation behind her work and skillset are what make her more than a lifeguard.

McKenzie White, a part-time indoor pool manager at the Lenexa Rec Center, has been sharing her passion for the water and instructing people in the Lenexa community since 2019.

As a former competitive swimmer in high school, McKenzie has been comfortable in the water for many years.

“I was naturally intrigued by lifeguarding,” she said. “Since I started lifeguarding at an outdoor pool and the off season came, I was interested in the indoor pool that was just eight minutes away.”

McKenzie was a lifeguard in Lenexa before being promoted to head lifeguard in 2021. Since then, she has been a swim lessons instructor and was promoted to be one of seven indoor pool managers at the Rec Center, where she assists the recreation aquatics supervisor with overseeing the daily operations of the pool.

“I worked my way up to being a pool manager after I realized that I was passionate about my job and wanted to be good at it, so I worked hard to get here,” she said.  

McKenzie cheering on her favorite sports team, the Kansas City Chiefs.

From completing daily paperwork, training employees, handling patron concerns, troubleshooting issues in the pump room and keeping the pool schedule afloat, McKenzie is part of a larger aquatics team that takes pride in their work.

“It’s always about being a team,” she said. “Whether you’re on a track team or football team, there’s always that connection that you have with your teammates. The number of compliments we have received about our aquatics team/staff and how clean and organized our facility is, is outrageous. I just love knowing we make our patrons feel excited about what our facility holds as well as what the City offers them.”