TEMPLE, Texas – Temperatures are rising, but the numbers of lifeguards in the pools in this summer are low.
“All of our pools are opened, and we’re trying to open at the maximum capacity each venue will allow. In order to do that, we have to have a full compliment of lifeguards for each site,” says City of Temple Parks and Recreational Director Mike Hemker.
Temple is offering aquatic classes during the spring as they prepare to hire more lifeguards for the summer season.
“But what happened last year with the pandemic? We had a shortage of times to offer people, which meant we hired fewer lifeguards,” says Hemker.
The city depends on those who were lifeguards in the past to come back the next year – but because of COVID-19, fewer lifeguards came back this season.
“Lifeguards with the City of Temple, we start hiring them at age 16. If we get you at 16, we hope to keep you until you’re 18, 19, maybe even 20, if we’re lucky,” says Hemker.
The city hopes to bring back more lifeguards this summer – but if they’re not able to get more people, the city says they may have to start alternative schedules.
“Maybe longer hours at some and shorter hours at others, or maybe some days of the week we’re closed where we weren’t in the past,” says Hemker.
Even if you haven’t been a lifeguard before, the City of Temple offers great learning opportunities.
“If you’re not currently certified, we’re still looking for folks to take training classes,” says Hemker.
The city hopes to be able to open all their facilities to full capacity this summer as they hire more lifeguards.
“When we open a pool, that is our goal. It will be open for open swim or recreational swim for the public, first come-first serve through the gates,” says Hemker.