Wild Island is a hot spot in this record heat. On any given summer day, thousands congregate at the Sparks water park to cool off. Some people come to wade once in a while and others splash around all season-long. One man, however, has spent more than half his life at the park! "It feels like just yesterday!" Scott Carothers says with a laugh.
Nearly 25 years ago, Scott applied for a lifeguard job at what would become a premier water park in the region. "I heard they were building a water park and I thought that'd be kind of fun." That was back in 1989. Scott was just 19 years old.
Since then, Scott has worn many hats, climbed the ranks and now walks the park as the General Manager of the locally owned company. He says one of the reasons this park is so successful is because parents are at the helm. As he fondly looks at a picture in his office of his then nine-month-old daughter, he explains, "This was her first time at the water park." Scott's daughter, Tyler, is now nine and some of their favorite memories are at Wild Island. "Watching her come out and ride down a ride for the first time, that's when you know you're doing something right, because that's what you're giving other people."
Scott relies on his team of managers, supervisors and a staff of 400 to keep the park safe, clean and family-friendly. He leads by example. "It's management by walking around." When he is not crunching numbers or doing administrative work, you will often find Scott checking on guests and staff all over the park. He is on a first-name basis with most of his staff, but what is even more impressive is that after all these years he still loves coming to work. "We're in the business of fun. If you're not having fun at your job, you can't provide fun. Yeah, so smiling is good."
Written by Kristen Remington