Escalon’s community pool is set to open on June 3 for public swim, with the first session of swim lessons on June 10. But both could be in jeopardy.
“At this point we do not have enough lifeguards to staff the pool with the current scheduled lessons and public swim,” said recreation department assistant Bridget Gaines. “It’s possible that we may have to cut back on public swim and/or lessons if we do not get enough lifeguards.”
To be a lifeguard, the following certifications are needed: American Red Cross Lifeguard Training, CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Title 22, First Aid for Public Safety Personnel.
Gaines said having a staffed pool is crucial, with hot summer months just around the corner.
“With all of the lakes, rivers and canals around us, it is important that lessons are available for everyone so that they can learn to swim,” she said, “as well as providing a place for families to cool off on those hot summer days.”
Many of the requirements can be met through classes offered at the Red Cross, with Aquatic Dreams in Modesto and Bear Creek Aquatics in Stockton also offering courses. Escalon has hosted lifeguard training in the past but is not able to offer it this year. Gaines said last year, there were 11 lifeguards to staff the pool, which was down from 14 the prior year but still manageable.
Right now, however, she only has five to seven qualified lifeguards locked in to summer jobs.
“Once programs get cut back it is hard to bring them back,” she added. “I would hate to see something that benefits the community by providing lessons and swimming in a fun, safe environment be cut.”
She said lifeguards typically work a varied shift, as there are swim lessons in the morning and evening, along with public swim.
“We also try to work around the guards’ other commitments and vacations so they average between 15 and 20 hours per week,” she explained.
Summer hours for the pool are Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for public swim and lessons are Monday through Thursday in two-week sessions.
Gaines said the city was also awarded a $500 grant from the USTA Northern California Tennis Association for equipment and is expected to receive another $500 for Tennis Outreach Program Support. This will make it possible to host a Free Play Day to introduce the sport of tennis. That ‘free play’ day is set for Saturday, May 11.
For more information on becoming a lifeguard, the tennis program or other summer offerings through the city’s Recreation Department, call 691-7372.