SplashDown is Northern Virginia’s largest water park, featuring an Interactive Children’s play area, a Lily Pad Walk, Activity pool, 70-foot tall waterslides, a Lazy River, Cannonball and Tropical Twister slides, and a leisure pool. The students are working in various positions such as aquatic attendant, food attendant, cook and concessionaire. The Pre-ETS participants started work in June and continue through Labor Day.
“I learned to talk to people and have learned a lot about how to help people and it has made me a great person! I enjoyed giving people food. I found it exciting,” said Hunter, Food Attendant.
Pre-ETS offers students with disabilities an early start at career exploration and preparation for adult life. DARS works with students as young as 14, their families, their schools and community partners, like Didlake, to enrich transition planning and support students with gaining knowledge and experiences necessary so they may make informed decisions about their future. Topics include: career exploration; work-based learning experiences; exploration of education and training programs for after high school; workplace readiness training to develop social and independent living skills; and self-advocacy.
“For the most part, by the third week, they were all working independently with some natural support from their peers and supervisors, who were very open to working with the students and Didlake. This was a great time of growth for the interns as they learned new skills, learned how to be good employees and learned to take responsibility for their actions,” said Theresa Polk, Didlake’s skills trainer supporting students on-site at Splashdown.