Faces of FOSS: Emi Parker

Emi Parker
Fargo, ND


What is your favorite part of working for FOSS?

Seeing students become more confident in the water!

What is your favorite FOSS story?

This session I helped several students become more adjusted to the water, specifically with hiding their eyes. I have one student in particular who refused to hide her eyes at all costs. This session was her fourth time in a Little 1 and we all wanted her to move to a L2 by the end of the session. The other student in the class was also focused on hiding his eyes, as this was his second time in a L1, so we spent a lot of time working specifically on this skill. I had tried everything from zooms to bribes with special treats at the front desk (i.e. stamps), and she still would not do it independently.

So about half way through the session, I decided to do something different. I held her in my arms and had her go underneath the noodle, as if she was flying under it. For some reason this was a really great incentive to get her to hide her eyes. We did this a few times and she was finally doing it by herself. We were so excited when she put her eyes under the water for several bananas. We all hooray’d her efforts and after the lesson, dad gave me a fist bump and thanked me. By making the class a bit more fun, we worked our way up to her hiding her eyes independently and now next quarter she will be in a L2!

What is your personal favorite water activity? 

I love to dive into the water and retrieve things from the bottom of a pool or lake. My grandparents have a lake lot in Montana and from a young age I would throw things from the dock into the water and let them sink. After they reached the bottom I would do a dive and see if I could grab it. I liked pushing myself to grab bigger things and see how long I could hold my breath for.

Can you recount a student of yours who experienced a major “lightbulb” moment when you were with them? 

One of my favorite things is getting scared students into the pool. Swimming lessons can be really difficult for some young students if they’ve had previous traumatic experiences. My favorite thing is to turn the lightbulb up to 100 and get them comfortable enough to come in. It feels so amazing when they stop crying and step into the pool. It is such a visual relief for the parents and it is often the beginning of a great relationship with the swimmer.

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