March 2022

Always Amused

Santa Cruz Natives Find Success at Boardwalk

Seaside Park Promotes Two Long-Time Employees

By Erik Chalhoub

Jessica Alfaro: Assistant General Manager/Director of Operations.
Karley Pope: Director of Marketing and Sales

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk recently shared two success stories within its organization, highlighting the opportunities available for those who grow up in Santa Cruz.

Two Santa Cruz natives and longtime Boardwalk leaders, Jessica Alfaro and Karley Pope, were promoted to new positions at the end of January. Alfaro was named Assistant General Manager/Director of Operations, while Pope was promoted to Director of Marketing and Sales.

Alfaro, a graduate of Santa Cruz High School and Cabrillo College, began her career at the Boardwalk in 1996 as a game operator. Her work ethic was recognized by her managers, and she later became a supervisor in the Operations Office and eventually manager of Guest Services in 2011.

She continued to rise through the ranks, and in 2016 was promoted to Director of Operations, where, according to the Boardwalk, she was tasked with day-to-day operations, employee training and improving the guest and employee experience.
Alfaro and her husband Bernardo have two children, whom have both either currently or previously worked at the Boardwalk.

Pope attended Aptos High School and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She began at the Boardwalk in 2003 as the Youth Sales Manager, and has filled a variety of roles, such as Promotions Director, where she helped expand the number of special events throughout the season. Prior to her promotion, Pope worked as Director of Sales.
Both Alfaro and Pope have also served as leaders in the community, the Boardwalk noted in a press release, with Alfaro having served on the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz County Board of Directors, and Pope previously on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and currently serves on the board of Visit Santa Cruz County.

“Jessica and Karley are amazing members of our team,” said Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk President Karl Rice. “They are both great leaders who always find new and creative ways to improve the Boardwalk experience for guests and employees. I’m proud to call them colleagues and thankful for their dedication to our company.”

Alfaro’s and Pope’s stories are a great inspiration for youngsters looking to get a jump-start on a career. The Boardwalk is always hiring for various positions, and is currently in a major hiring push as it gears up for the busy spring and summer seasons.

Positions open include game operator, ride operator, food service operator, park host, ticket sales representative, parking attendant and more. Depending on the position, candidates as young as 15 can apply, with wages ranging from $15-$18 an hour and full-time opportunities available from June to September.
All Boardwalk employees receive free parking and discounts on season passes, food and merchandise. Benefits for full-time employees include medical, 401k, paid time off and more.

Interested in applying? Check out

Fun Run returns
The whole family is invited to a foot race through the Boardwalk when the Fun Run returns March 26.

Open to all ages and abilities, the run features a 1k course for kids ages 12 and under, with a 5k option for everyone 4 and up.
The 1k route begins at the Boardwalk Colonnade and out the Main Entrance, running adjacent to the park before wrapping around and finishing near the Pirate Ship.

The 5k route is similar, but extends along the San Lorenzo River levee up to the Riverwalk Park before returning.

Participants will receive a commemorative finisher medal, Boardwalk treats, up to three hours of post-race free play in the Boardwalk’s Casino Arcade and $15 off a Boardwalk Ride Wristband valid on race day.
A portion of the proceeds from registration fees will benefit Haven of Hope, which operates two Short- Term Residential Therapeutic Programs in Santa Cruz County for foster youth.

Online registration runs through March 25 at Onsite registration is also available on the day of the race from 6:30–8am at the Boardwalk’s Season Pass/Group Services Office.

Save the Dates
California’s Great America opens for the 2022 season on March 12, with a special season passholder event on March 11. Gilroy Gardens has not yet announced its opening date as of press time.

Raging Waters in San Jose won’t be falling for the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having as of late, and is sticking to a May 21 opening date.

One Comment

  • Sandy Hadveck

    I love the article about Jessica and Karley. I was “new” to Santa Cruz in 2001. My first 2 dates with my now husband ended at the Boardwalk and The Giant Dipper. Never did I imagine I would be raising a daughter with this wonderful place in her “backyard.” I now know it to be a great place for teens’ summer jobs (not my daughter) and am happy it became a career for these two lovely local women!

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