SIDNEY — The city of Sidney is preparing Sidney Water Park (SWP) for the summer season. A full staff of lifeguards is still needed for the water park’s opening day on June 1.
Since last summer, a significant leak in the intermediate pool was fixed. SWP includes a large pool with diving boards; an intermediate pool, which contains slides and a water feature; and a baby pool. A leak in the large pool is set to be fixed with money Sidney City Council budgeted for SWP rehabilitatations in 2020.
Prior to opening in June, the pools need to be scrubbed and bottoms painted before they are filled with water. Then the chemicals are balanced, and the health department conducts an inspection of the pools and then the concession stand, after it is stocked.
But a huge task that still needs to be checked off is to hire all of the 20 to 25 certified lifeguards typically on the pool schedule, Recreation Specialist Jennie Rogers said.
Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier said, “The city needs smart, reliable, mature, courteous and physically fit candidates to apply for the lifeguard positions at the SWP.”
This year, SWP does not have a single lifeguard returning from last year. Every so many years, Rogers said, all of the lifeguards rotate out, and go off to or do not return from college in many cases.
“We would welcome anyone of any age (over 16 years old), ” Rogers said when asked if applicants have to be teenagers.
Over the last five to six years, Rogers said the Sidney pool, as well as pools in other communities have had a decline in applicants. YMCA Aquatics and Youth Coordinator Sonia Jaziri said the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA also struggles to find people interested in becoming a lifeguard. Rogers thinks young people are very busy with school activities and sports and don’t seem to have much time on their hands.
“It’s a fun job, and they get to be outside all day,” Rogers said when asked about the perks of the job. “I would encourage anyone to try it.”
Being a lifeguard requires attention to detail, guest service and responsibility to ensure the safety of facility patrons by preventing and responding to emergencies, according to information Rogers provided about the job. CPR, first aid and AED training are useful lifelong skills, and each lifeguard must possess training for each.
The salary range for the seasonal position is $8.55 to 9.58 per hour.
The pool is open seven days a week from June 1 through Aug. 11, unless bad weather dictates otherwise. The pool’s hours are Monday through Thursday from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 1 to 7 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 6:30 p.m. Lifeguards are required to from work 15 minutes before to 15 minutes after hours of operation. They also work pool parties, during pool rental sessions and help with swim lessons, Rogers said.
Lifeguard candidates must hold or obtain a current American Red Cross Lifeguard and First-Aid and American Red Cross CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer certification, by the middle of May.
Applicants also must pass all pre-employment testing, including a criminal background check and drug test; all pre-employment testing of lifeguard knowledge and skills; and be at least 16 years of age.
Another perk for potential Sidney lifeguards is that with a two-year commitment, the city will reimburse their certification fee one time, up to $200 at the end of the second year, Rogers said.
According to the American Red Cross, a lifeguard certification is good for two years. Certification, or recertification, may be obtained through the Sidney-Shelby, Miami or Logan County YMCA or Honda of America’s Wellness Center.
Jaziri said students can train through a blended-learning method, which is partly online, and the rest of learning is in person. Students will spend about 22.5 hours in class in person.
“A good lifeguard needs to be responsible because they have someone’s life in their hands,” Jaziri said. “If they are responsible, they will show up and pay attention to the people.”
Jaziri said lifeguard certification classes are held four times a year in March, May, October and December at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA. Students are required to attend every class to obtain the certification; no exceptions. May classes are offered May 10-18. Classes are $195 for members and $245 for nonmembers. The cost for recertification is $75 for members, and $95 for nonmembers.
A recent press release from the Miami County YMCA announced classes will also be offered April 2-18 at the Robinson branch in Troy, and May 7-23 at the Piqua branch. The fee is $150 for members and $200 for nonmembers. Certification renewal, currently offered at the Robinson branch, is $100 for members, and $130 for nonmembers.
SWP’s first lifeguard meeting is scheduled for May 11.
For more information about registering for lifeguard classes at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, call 937-492-9134. Call the Piqua Branch at 937-773-9622, or the Robinson Branch at 937-440-9622.
An application can be found on the city’s website at http://www.sidneyoh.com/Human_Resources/Employment-sidney-ohio.asp, or obtained from the receptionist at the Municipal Building, 201 W. Poplar St., Sidney, OH 45365. Applications may be submitted by fax to 937-498-8160, scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to the Municipal Building.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.