PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia public pools are slated to open in a matter of weeks. But the city is still in need of dozens of lifeguards. Officials say if they don’t meet their goal by Friday, some pools won’t be able to open.
For the second summer in a row, there’s a national lifeguard shortage. It threatens to keep pools closed, including many of Philadelphia’s 65 free public pools, leaving countless children with nothing to do. But that crisis can still be averted.READ MORE: Montgomery County Officer Grazed By Bullet During Philly’s 4th Of July Fireworks Feels ‘Lucky’ To Walk Away From Incident
“This Friday, June 3, is the last day for Philadelphians, for anyone who wants to be a lifeguard this summer, summer ’22, to register interest,” said Maita Soukup, director of communications for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.
To qualify to be a lifeguard, you have to be at least 16 years old but there is no maximum age.
“Anyone who’s interested in being a lifeguard at a public pool this summer is so welcomed to apply,” Soukup said. “It’s a job for all ages. We have retirees, teachers, teenagers, college kids taking up this opportunity to really get involved and give back to the community.”
The city will pay for the lifeguard certification for anyone between the ages of 16 and 24, which covers you for next summer as well.
Eyewitness News drove up to Samuels Rec Center in Port Richmond, where a lifeguard training class was taking place and we spoke to a seasoned lifeguard to find out why she does it.
“It makes me happy to be around kids, to teach them, bring families together, bring the community together,” Elizabeth Carrasco said. “A place for them that’s safe.”READ MORE: PHL Airport Receiving $24 Million In Federal Funding For Terminal Improvements
Also, the pay isn’t too shabby.
“The money is good but you see it wasn’t the first thing that came out my mouth,” Carrasco said.
New lifeguards make $16 an hour and those with experience can make $18 an hour.
“Park and Recreation Centers, whether it’s a sprayground, a summer camp, a playstreet, or a pool, these are safe spots with lots of fun activities for kids to enjoy this summer,” Soukup said. “So what we would say is, we need to make sure adults are here to fully staff our pools, our camps, our parks, our playstreets to give Philly kids the summer they deserve.”
The Parks and Rec department hopes to announce pool opening dates in the third week of June.
In the event you aren’t 16 yet, 15-year-olds can be trained throughout this summer so that when next summer rolls around, you’ll already have your summer job lined up.MORE NEWS: Derek Chauvin To Be Sentenced Thursday On Federal Charges
CBS3’s Wakisha Bailey contributed to this report.