Faces of FOSS: Sarah Waataja

Sarah Waataja
Director of Retail


What is your favorite part of working for FOSS?

Being a part of a program that teaches one of the most important lifesaving skills for kids fills my heart with happiness and makes me proud to work for FOSS. To this day, I love walking into any of our swim schools and seeing all the happy kids, families, and employees. The people that work at FOSS are top notch and are a huge part of why I love my job—not only have I made lifelong friends, but I also met my husband at FOSS!

What is your favorite FOSS story?

I was in the office at our Highland Park location in IL when it first opened, and we could hear a child crying in the locker room.  It went on quite some time and I wondered to myself if I should check in with the family or just let them be… I decided I would equip myself with FOSS stickers, a stuffed animal and a coloring sheet and go in to see if I could be of any help!  What I didn’t expect to hear from the mom of the crying child was that the kiddo was sad because they didn’t want to leave the swim school – they wanted to have MORE SWIM LESSONS!

What is your personal favorite water activity? 

Stand-up paddleboarding for sure!  How can you beat being out in the lake, in the sunshine, getting in a workout and being able to enjoy the beauty surrounding you?!  I also love to play with water balloons with my kiddos.

As a child, how did you feel about the water? Did you have any challenges or lack of confidence you needed to overcome to learn to swim well?

I have always loved the water – my parents started us in swimming lessons at a young age; neither of them can swim and they felt it was important for my sisters and I to have this skill. The only thing I remember not liking about the water and lessons was when they made us jump off the diving board into the deep end – EEK!  A bouncy board with a teacher floating and waiting to ‘catch’ you…no thanks!

Please share anything else you’d really wish you could tell parents about you as they bring their children to Foss.

My goal as the Director of Retail for Foss Swim School is to make the swim lesson experience the best it can be by providing our customers the best fitting goggles, quality swimsuits and swim diapers and access to any items they either forgot for their lesson or want as a reward for their kiddo to celebrate, encourage or reward them! I welcome and encourage all suggestions on items customers would like to see sold or not sold in the Swim Shop.  Happy Swimming!

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