SIDNEY — The city of Sidney is looking for more several more lifeguards to add to Sidney Water Park (SWP) this summer. The public pool is greatly understaffed so far for this season.
Typically the city of Sidney has 20-25 lifeguards on staff at SWP. Thus far, the pool only has 10 lifeguards ready for opening day on June 1.
Recreation Specialist Jennie Rogers said adjustments will have to be made if they do not get more guards.
“The city needs smart, reliable, mature, courteous and physically fit candidates to apply for the lifeguard positions at the SWP,” Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier said last month when they realized the number of applicants were low.
During Monday’s Sidney City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Cundiff said if SWP does not get more applicants, the city will be forced to close certain sections of the pool on alternating days.
“We have an issue with lifeguards. We have 10 ready to work this summer. We really need 23 to 24 to cover the pool. Those 10 include the assistant pool manager and pool manager spending time at the chairs. If we don’t get more lifeguards, we need to start looking at options which may include closing off perhaps one section of the pool on even numbered days. It might be the big pool and the baby pool are open and the slide pool closed on even days and on odd days the slide pool and the baby pool are open and the big pool is closed,” Cundiff said.
Rogers said they would welcome anyone at least 16 years of age to apply. She noted that they do not need to already be certified to apply, just need to show proof they are signed up for classes.
Every so many years, she said all of their lifeguards rotate out, and go off to or do not return from college, in many cases. In addition, this year she said the city lost a couple of guards to Indian Lake’s public pool, and the amount of applicants in general has been very low.
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 admitted, in March, that the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA has also been struggling to find people interested in becoming a lifeguard. The YMCA cancelled their March lifeguard classes due to low registration. 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.
Rogers pointed out that with a two-year commitment, the city of Sidney will reimburse lifeguards their certification fee one time, up to $200 at the end of the second year.
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 in March. “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.
Rogers encourages anyone interested to give it a try even, if they have never been a life guard before. She said the YMCA’s classes are designed to help strengthen people’s weak areas.
SWP’s first lifeguard meeting is scheduled for May 11. Those interested are encouraged to apply up until May 20.
For more information about registering for lifeguard classes at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, call 937-492-9134. For classes at the Miami County YMCA, 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 email@example.com, or mailed to the Municipal Building.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.