Summer employment opportunities for high school students


Laura Heckenlaible

One of the many employment signs around Sioux Falls, that informs the public of the numerous and diverse job openings available.

Laura Heckenlaible, Perspectives Editor

For most teens, the unknown of the future is what causes much of the anxiety they face. It is hard to imagine a life where you will have to fully grow up and support yourself. In our world today, everything is centered around money, so the future of many young adults relies upon the job they have when they are younger.

Almost one year ago, I started to look for a job. After many stupid mistakes such as not checking my voicemail, I finally landed my first job. Now today, after one year of working and making my own money, I can safely say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have found an amazing boss and some of the best coworkers. With the money I make, not only do I have the ability to do various activities and buy the items I have always dreamed of, but I am also able to have a sense of security for the future. Each time I get paid and put a portion into my college fund, not only do I have reassurance, but I also have a sense of pride for all the work I have put in.

I understand that finding a job that you actually enjoy is not an easy task. That is why I am here to help. If you are currently on the search for some summer employment that will excite you, here are four unique job opportunities open for teens in Sioux Falls.


Daycare/Childcare assistant

At first glance, many completely close off when the option to work with children is suggested. Now, if you do not like kids, definitely feel free to skip and look at the other ideas. If you are one who does like kids but feels the whole idea of working at a daycare is too daunting, please keep reading.

I, myself, work at a daycare, and I am not going to lie and say that it is a walk in the park. No job is easy and working with children has its struggles. Sometimes it is gross, and it can be really difficult trying to navigate the best way to help out the children. But even after I get home with drool stains on my shirt, looking completely disheveled, I still am excited to go back to work the next day. The reward of seeing a child progress in their education is worth all the hard work and sometimes gross encounters.

As a daycare assistant, you would be put in a room specific to a certain age, ranging from infants to even middle schoolers, depending on the center. You are essentially another one of the child’s teachers. It is expected that you help with crafts, nap time, meals and overall just to be there to watch over and interact with the children. Cleaning is also part of the job; between activities, clean-up is needed as well at the end of the day. You may be asked to help clean up and set up for the following day as well. Payment can range anywhere from minimum wage all the way to 16 dollars.

Post pandemic, many daycares and childcare centers are in need of extra help. If this job interests you, check out centers in Sioux Falls such as Trucks and Trykes, Precious Angels, Apple Tree etc. Bring a positive attitude and willingness to help out and learn for yourself as you help out the younger generation.


Lifeguard/Parks and Rec. assistant

Lately working within the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Association has become increasingly popular among teens. The jobs are not only interesting but the starting pay of between $14 all the way to $16.50 an hour is an incentive for many. 

Through the Parks and Rec. Association, the many different jobs include: a lifeguard, water safety instructor, recreation assistant as well as opportunities to work at the ice rink (only in the winter) community center or the various park programs.

Within this large range of jobs, it is crucial that an employee is ready to take on some big responsibilities. Lifeguarding will require specific training before being assigned to a specific pool. Along with that comes the needed bravery and awareness. For all the jobs listed, especially the park program, patience is needed as you will be working with children. Be ready for tons of good memories and definitely don’t forget your fun-loving attitude.

Many of my friends have worked at the pools and ice rinks, and the reviews have been positive. Though at times the work can be very hard and stressful, the environments each job is located in are perfect; at work, you are surrounded by many other teens around your age, and many times you get to pursue an interesting hobby as a job. There is never a dull moment.

If you are someone who likes communicating with people and is willing to deal with all different types of customers, working within the Parks and Rec. Association is definitely for you. By the end of the summer, you are guaranteed to have a killer tan after soaking up some sun while putting in some work.


Washington Pavilion customer service-museum interactors

Many of those who grew up in Sioux Falls are familiar with the Washington Pavilion; I even grew up going to summer camps and school field trips through the Pavilion. Who would not want to be a part of that same experience as a young adult? 

As a Washington Pavilion customer service-museum interactor, you will help welcome, explain and give tours to those new and returning. You would be able to work in both the Kirby Science Discovery Center which includes the CineDome movie theater and the Visual Arts Center. Your goal is to provide a worthwhile experience as you help with duties like exhibit engagement and program presentations. You will be in charge of the cleanliness and overall operation of certain areas and the building as a whole. Starting pay begins at $12 an hour.

The ability to talk to people with enthusiasm and assistance is greatly needed as you would be interacting with people of all ages. Each day will be filled with something different, and you never know, you too might learn something new along the way.


Lewis Garden Sales Associate

In the summertime, Lewis sets up a large outside setup filled with multiple different flowers, plants, pots and anything anyone would need for a garden, no matter the size. As a sales associate, you would be working outside helping customers with questions as well as nurturing the plants for sale.

Whether you are at the front as a cashier, stocking shelves or providing assistance to those looking to purchase, you are part of the effort to maintain a smooth and operating outside center. The job includes a willingness to learn about all different types of organisms.

 Even outside, clean-up is needed. This includes everything from unpacking items and arranging a display to clearing shelves and dusting away any remnants. You can find their various locations’ emails and numbers online at Lewis Drug if you have any questions about payment.

Bring a good attitude. You will be working with and around people both young and old. The ability and calm outlook to get through difficult and perhaps upsetting situations are needed. It is critical that you are able to have some organizing skills and the ability to take direction and work with it. Most of all, be willing to learn new things and be open to new ideas about the living things surrounding us each day.

This job is perfect for those with a green thumb and a love for the outdoors. You never know, you may finally be able to learn the trick to keeping that succulent in your room alive for longer than a week.


Hopefully with my help and the multiple opportunities I have provided, you can find an interesting place to work. Even as a teen it is easy to get wrapped up in the money-driven world. As important as it is to learn a good work ethic and be able to support yourself, it is even more important to spend each day loving what you do. So, even if none of these options are for you, do not give up, there is a job out there for you and you will find it. As you explore these unique employment opportunities this summer, have tons of fun and do not forget the sunscreen.