Finding lifeguards a challenge for village

Larry Limpf

News Editor

Trying to attract youths to work as lifeguards this summer at the Woodville municipal pool is proving to be difficult.
After starting in March with advertising in newspapers, placing information about the openings on village utility bills, and posting notices at Woodmore High School, the village still has yet to find enough applicants for staffing the pool this season, Barb Runion, village fiscal officer, said.
She said the village will try using Facebook a few weeks to reach candidates but it’s possible village officials may decide to not open the pool due to a lack of lifeguards.
Typically, the pool opens the first week of June after the last day of the school year. The village would like to have a roster of at least 10 lifeguards.
“More would be great. That allows scheduling to be very flexible,” Runion said.
The pool manager from last year has expressed interest in returning but on a part-time basis and two lifeguards who worked last year also said they were interested in returning but have yet to fill out applications.
Other than that, no one has applied, Runion said, adding the village would like to have applicants processed by mid-May at the latest.
Last year, lifeguards were paid about $9.50 an hour and the head guard received $10 an hour. The pool manager was paid $12 an hour, according to figures provided by the village. As an incentive, the village has also been reimbursing lifeguards each year for half of the cost of the required two-year certification.
Short of closing the pool, the village may open it on a limited schedule if the life guard situation warrants it, Runion said.
Many of the regular users of the pool are groups such as church summer camp classes, day care classes, and the Wood County STARS program
Mike Thomas, park director for the Village of Genoa, said his village last year had major problems finding lifeguards for Genoa Quarry, forcing the facility to implement a four-day schedule instead of the usual seven days.
This season is different, he said.
“This year we are opening seven days and have 11 guards. We have had no issues finding guards this year. We start out at $12 per hour and we pick up the entire cost of their (certification) class. They must work all season to get that reimbursement,” Thomas said.
Walbridge mayor Ed Kolanko said his village has made a concerted effort to increase pay and retain staff at the municipal pool.
“We are fortunate to retain many of our employees from last year. The increased pay coupled with declining usage poses a definite challenge going forward though. Our pay rates range from $12 to $15 per hour based on experience. The village has offered reimbursement for certification classes in the past and continue to offer such programs currently,” he said.
In Pemberville, the village will be hiring life guards this summer at a pay rate of $10.30 per hour.
The cost of certification classes will be reimbursed at the end of the season.
Life guards must be at least 16 years old and have a current certification.
Sarah Dyer, village fiscal officer, said the Red Cross will offer certification classes at the pool in late May. The cost is $200 for a full class and $75 for a recertification class.
For registration information call 419-351-6572.
The pool is located at 154 E. College Ave., Pemberville.


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