ANKENY, Iowa– Aquatic centers, pools, and splash pads in the metro will open up for the season this weekend. However, many cities are still having trouble finding lifeguards.
Ankeny will be opening both of its aquatic centers, which will be fully staffed this weekend. However, Ankeny is still looking for about 15-20 lifeguards for the summer. The Ankeny Parks and Recreation Director, Nick Lenox, said he believes the reason for this lifeguard shortage, is not being able to offer more summer positions last year.
“We missed that year of training and kind of catching the kids when they get their first job,” Lenox said. “When you turn 15 or 16, you’re looking for your big first job, it’s exciting. And we weren’t able to offer that. So I think they’re probably still working with where they started last year.”
Des Moines Parks and Recreation had plans to be fully staffed by Memorial Day, but are in need of more lifeguards and wading pool supervisors and attendants.
This weekend they’ll be opening Teachout Aquatic Center with the proper staff present. The three other Des Moines pools will open on June 5th.
Des Moines has been incentivizing more people to apply by offering free lifeguard training and more competitive wages than in years past. Lifeguards In Des Moines can make up to $12 per hour and wading supervisors can make up to $15 per hour.
Marketing Supervisor for Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Jen Fletcher, said if these positions aren’t filled, residents will definitely notice a change in services.
“If we can’t fill these positions, there’s a good chance we’ll have to alter our schedules for operation, our programs, and events just because we don’t have the people to staff them,” Fletcher said. “So we just ask for the public’s cooperation should that happen. Or visit the website at dsmparks.org and apply.”
Clive, Ames, and West Des Moines will also be opening their aquatic centers this Saturday.