As pools get ready to open, some cutting hours because of lifeguard shortage

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NEWPORT, Pa. (WHTM) — Many pools are getting ready to open this Memorial Day weekend but some have a shortage of lifeguards on staff.

It’s a problem facing a lot of pools in our area, including at Little Buffalo State Park. Right now they’re only going to be open five days a week and if they’re able to find new lifeguards, then they’ll be able to open for seven days.

The water is flowing and ready for kids to make a splash in just a few days.

“It is exciting. The pool’s finally going to open for the season,” said Park Manager Jason Baker.

But the problem is, there aren’t enough lifeguards, typically high school kids.

“They don’t have pools at their school and they don’t have a swimming program, so there’s no real natural place for kids to get the certifications,” Baker said.

That’s why the pools at Little Buffalo and Codorus state parks will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays this season.

The pool at Caledonia State Park in Adams County will be closed until at least June 19.

“We generally hire about 20 lifeguards for the season. We are at 13,” said Andrea Crouse, director of Parks and Recreation with Carlisle Borough.

Crouse has the same problem with staffing.

“At this time we are still running at our normal hours but we will have to look at either reduced hours or reduced sections in our pool,” Crouse said.

The Carlisle Community Pool isn’t open until June 9. Crouse said they decided the date in April because of COVID restrictions in place.

“It also allowed us some extra time to get our pool ready for the summer since it sat for an entire year,” Crouse said.

In the meantime, they’re setting up lifeguarding classes to get kids certified, something not feasible for the state parks to do.

“We really have been encouraging kids to go out and get it locally, at their local Red Cross, YMCA, boy scouts,” Baker said.

It’s not just lifeguards. Many of these pools need other staff too, including people to sell tickets and even maintenance workers.

You can find more information about jobs at DCNR run state parks by clicking here.

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