SALT LAKE CITY — Summer is right around the corner and that gets many people thinking about swimming or relaxing by the pool.
There are 19 indoor and outdoor pools managed by Salt Lake County parks and recreation, but some may not be able to open this summer due to having a very tough time hiring lifeguards.
Without lifeguards to protect swimmers, the pools can’t open. County officials are doing everything they can to fill more than 200 lifeguards positions for this summer.
Twenty-year-old Aliyah McClelland took the plunge last summer, literally, when she decided to be a Salt Lake County lifeguard.
“It was something I’ve always wanted to do," said McClelland.
At first, McClelland said she was a little intimidated by the training needed in order to be certified. She learned it was less difficult and a lot more rewarding than she ever imagined.
“Yes, it is a serious responsibility and you have to be certified just so that you know what you’re doing and that you were capable of doing it, so you don’t hesitate," said McClelland.
Parks officials hope lifeguards like her will inspire other folks to apply.
“We are in desperate need right now," said Josh Reusser with Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation. "We probably need a couple of hundred lifeguards.”
Reusser said county leaders are making moves to inspire people to apply this year.
Those who make the cut will be paid $11 per hour just for the training.
After being hired, hourly wage for a lifeguard can increase to as much as $16 per hour.
“Being a lifeguard is a really cool job," said Reusser. "You get to be around people all the time, you meet some incredible people.”
“This is a good position and it’s really worth it, but you should always try it," said McClelland. "It’s worth a try."
On Saturday, county officials will be at two pools holding a "try it" event for people who are interested. The events will take place at the Northwest Recreation Center by the fair park and the Dimple Dell pool in Sandy.
People can get up close and personal with some of the aquatics professionals and see if this might be a job they are interested in.
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