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Thomasville YMCA facing lifeguard shortage as summer approaches

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 10:08 PM EDT
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) - After last summer left many out of the water, this year, families are looking to have some fun.

That’s leaving many facilities like the YMCA’s in Thomasville, searching for help, specifically for lifeguards. And, with summer approaching, the lack of lifeguards could be detrimental to working hours.

“That is a concern for a Thomasville community is not being able to be open for the extended hours that we normally would so we obviously are having to cut back on our hours,” explained Butler-Mason YMCA Associate Branch Director Greer Cox.

The Butler-Mason branch of the YMC A in Thomasville only has 14 of 30 lifeguards needed to safely run the facility, raising a concern for the well-being of customers and employees.

“it’s not ideal because the guards that are going to be working, they’re going to be working every single day without a break really and if someone gets sick or someone calls out it’s going to be harder for us to find somebody because we don’t have people who are available because they are all working already,” said Assistant Aquatic Director Jake Parmer.

“We want every person that walks out on our pool deck, whether it’s at this location or one of the other two locations that we have, we want them to feel safe,” explained Parmer. “When you see a lifeguard prepared and ready, they feel comfortable.”

To be a lifeguard, Cox says you need to learn know how to swim, love people and the outdoors and welcomes anyone 16-years-old or older to apply and receive 28 hours of proper training.

“We encourage any of those hook up the water, who want a paycheck to sign up and be a part of our lifeguard class which will be in June,” said Parmer.

Parmer said he hopes his team can get more help to ensure everyone can have a fun and safe summer.

“Yeah, it’s really important because you never need a lifeguard until you actually do,” Parmer said. “And you don’t want to be the one time that you actually need one and we’re not ready or we don’t have enough people to be able to watch your kids or yourself really.”

the search for help, a splash warning to save lives

For those interested in becoming a lifeguard, Cox says they can contact any of the YMCA branches in Thomasville and register for their next class on June 7.

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