QUINCY — Mike Bruns, director of program services for the Quincy Park District, believes there is a “50/50 chance” of Indian Mounds Pool not opening this summer because of a lack of available lifeguards.
Bruns reported Wednesday to the Park District’s Board of Commissioners during its monthly meeting that Indian Mounds Pool is scheduled to open for the summer on Memorial Day — Monday, May 31. However, only two lifeguards have agreed to work this summer. Bruns says 10 are needed to maintain the pool’s normal operating hours.
“The people just aren’t out there,” Bruns said. “It’s really bad. If we don’t have lifeguards, we can’t open the pool.”
Bruns said he has contacted all local schools and made social media posts searching for potential lifeguards. Anyone at least 15 years old must pass an American Red Cross certification training class offered at the Kroc Center and the Quincy YMCA. Bruns said the Park District will reimburse its lifeguards for the class fees.
Interested in becoming a lifeguard?
People interested in becoming a lifeguard for the Quincy Park District should contact Mike Bruns, director of program services, at email@example.com or 217-919-0913.
“But I don’t even know if people are signing up for those classes,” Bruns said.
Bruns said the pool could be opened for limited hours and limited days if he has as many as five lifeguards. Indian Mounds is typically open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Lifeguarding was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic when gyms, waterparks, beaches and community pools were forced to close down last year. Bruns believes capacity this year at Indian Mounds will be capped at about 150 people.
“I would need at least three lifeguards for that type of a crowd,” he said. “And I can’t make them work seven days a week. You can’t burn them out.”
Bruns says the lifeguard shortage is a nationwide problem. Most lifeguards working for the Park District start at $12 an hour. Some will make more because of the number of certifications they have earned.
The Kroc Center recently announced that it will close its pool on July 12 for two months for maintenance. Bruns hopes he can get some of those lifeguards to work for the Park District.
Roger Leenerts, elected as the president of the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, said the lack of lifeguards is no different than the lack of employees other businesses face.
“If you’ve gone out to try to get an ice cream cone lately, you may have found out your ice cream shop is not open because they can’t find employees,” he said. “Maybe you went to try to go get pizza and found out your favorite restaurant isn’t open every day. Unfortunately, taking a swim in the summertime may just fall into the same place that those other activities do.
“I think we’ll have the pool open. We may not have it open for all the times and all the days we want.”
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