Pools hurt by budget, lifeguard shortage - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Pools hurt by budget, lifeguard shortage

April 23, 2004

Albany- Darton College students spend hours practicing life saving techniques that will hopefully earn them their lifeguard certification.

They must be able to swim 500 yards without stopping, retrieve a 10 pound weight from the bottom of a 13 feet deep diving well, and they'll even learn to operate an automatic external defibrillator.

Albany State has teamed up with the city and is offering the same class, but once they're certified, many of the students don't stick around to take jobs in the area.

"It's national certification and this is one of the problems because so many of our young people that we certify do go home. Some of them do go to camps elsewhere," explains Dr. Wilburn Campbell of Albany State.

That's making it hard for the Albany Parks and Recreation Department to find qualified lifeguards to work at city pools.

"Now there are so many opportunities that a young person has and there are other jobs that are a lot cushier than being a life guard," says Parks and Recreation Supervisor Virginia Skalla.

There has to be one lifeguard for every 25 swimmers and the city wants to have 5 per day, plus several non-certified deck hands and support staff just for Carver Pool. Its set to re-open on May 15th, but across town Turner Pool will remain closed for the second year in a row.

"It would take almost $25,000 to do the things that needed to be done at Turner, so even if we had the lifeguards I don't know if we would open Turner," Skalla adds.

Carver will open for sure, but the number of children who are able to enjoy it all depends on the number of certified lifeguards who are able and willing to take the job.

The city is still looking for certified lifeguards, and if you're interested contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 229-430-5222.

Posted at 5:15 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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