“One day I’ll grow up and get a real job.” That’s what Kathryn Scott likes to joke when asked about her work. Scott says she’s found such enjoyment as director of physical education at UC Berkeley, it still seems most days she’s just in it for fun.
“I’ve always enjoyed the physical activity and the students,” Scott says.
Growing up in California’s Bay Area, she enjoyed many athletic pursuits, but aquatics was always near the top of her list of favorites.
Since graduating with a degree in physical education from the university and joining the UC Berkeley staff more than 30 years ago, Scott has become one of California’s most active physical education professionals.
Her experience includes past president and former legislative chair for the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; and an original appointee and former member of the American Red Cross Advisory Council on First Aid, Aquatics, Safety and Preparedness.
It was through her many aquatics connections that she became involved in the Model Aquatic Health Code.
“Several people I knew in the aquatics world were talking about it and suggested it might be something that would interest me,” Scott says.
Today she’s relying on her past experience to guide her as chair of the Lifeguarding and Bather Supervision Technical Committee. The scope of work being addressed by this committee includes lifeguard qualifications and training; staffing of lifeguards and attendants; provision of lifeguard equipment and placement requirements; safety training, including CPR and AED; first aid equipment and facilities; and guidance for unguarded facilities.
According to Scott, the strategy formulated within this committee to efficiently conquer the work for the MAHC was to divide into smaller subcommittees and develop the various sections.
One particularly important lesson has been “learning to accept that it’s not always going to go the way you as a leader expect or desire,” Scott says. Additionally, she adds, working with a lobbyist in Sacramento on new physical education legislation and standards guidelines taught her how politics plays into the code-writing process.
“Trying to find a code that will address multiple facilities, something that’s practical without putting people in a box, has been the challenge,” Scott notes.
In the end, her work in California also has given her firsthand knowledge of why the code is needed in the first place. “You have so many different state and local codes,” she says. “If I left California, I would have to start learning the rules all over.”