To stave off summer crisis, Austin seeks help from former lifeguards
Austin officials want to hear from former lifeguards whose summer stints were career stepping stones.
The big picture: A new lifeguard survey is part of a strategy to stave off another potential summer lifeguard crisis.
Flashback: Some Austin public pools opened later than normal last summer — or were shuttered altogether — because of a lifeguard shortage.
By the numbers: Austin's Parks and Recreation Department aims to open all operational public pools this summer but cannot reach that goal unless the city can train and hire over 700 lifeguards.
- Lifeguard training and hiring starts at age 15 and there is no age limit.
- The city oversees 34 pools, including Barton Springs.
What they're asking: The new recruitment strategy aims to fold in stories from those who have sat in the elevated thrones.
- The survey asks "Did the training, skills and experience that you got as a lifeguard help you with your career path?"
- "What did you like about being a lifeguard?"
Last year, we asked readers about their own memories lifeguarding.
- Catie H. wrote us to say lifeguarding taught her "how to manage in a crisis situation."
Between the lines: Austin recently raised its minimum wage to $20 per hour to keep up with the cost of living.
- Lifeguards now get free training and a free uniform.
- There is also a $400 lifeguard training stipend for staff who complete a certain number of work hours during the swim season.
- Lifeguards also get a free CapMetro pass.
The bottom line: Yes, it's January, but it's never too early to get ahead of a potential summer calamity.
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