Smile Politely

Urbana Park District needs more lifeguards

It’s almost time for Crystal Lake Family Aquatic Center to open for the season, which is very exciting after a summer of no swimming last year. In the current phase of reopening, they are able to offer more open swim hours. However, Aquatics Manager Leslie Radice is in need of more lifeguards to be able to operate safely with expanded hours. 

Smile Politely: What is the current situation with your lifeguard staff? How could the shortage impact service this year? 

Leslie Radice: We are currently have about 60% of the guards we normally do in a season. We are also offering more open swim hours, which will have to be reevaluated if we cannot find staff. We cannot open and operate a facility safely with no staff. There are requirements to keep a facility open and the amount of lifeguards watching the water is one of them. Also, depending on the amount of lifeguards and staff we have, we may have to close the facility early or majorly adjust our schedule at the end of the summer season since the majority of staff are high school and college students and go back to school and begin school sports.

SP: What sort of skills and training does someone need to become a lifeguard for Urbana Park District?

Radice: People applying to become lifeguards need to be comfortable in the water. We train the lifeguards to do all the skills necessary for this position. During this training you will learn how to effectively save multiple types of distressed swimmers, do CPR and first aid, work as a team, and so much more. We work with you hand in hand to make sure you succeed. We also continuously work with staff after the training classes to make sure their skills are continuously at the highest level possible.

SP: What are some of the benefits of becoming a lifeguard for UPD?

Radice: One of the biggest benefit is meeting lifelong friends. Working side by side with our aquatics family, you develop relationships that are different than anywhere else. We have to focus on saving lives and working together hand in hand. Another huge benefit is that you get to work outside in a beautiful setting. You also will be Professional CPR certified, this is different than community CPR. This certification can be taken with you anywhere. Another benefit is that we have a year round facility as well. So, if you want to work during the school year, you can! We are flexible with people’s hours and try to work with them as best as possible. We have many people who play sports or that are involved in extracurricular activities who already work for us year round. Being a lifeguard for UPD is hard work, but the people you work with and the environment you are in makes it FUN!

SP: How can someone apply for a lifeguard position?

Radice: If there are any questions about lifeguarding, email Jennifer Nierenhausen at [email protected]. To apply, go to Look under the “aquatics” section.

Top photo from Crystal Lake Aquatic Center Facebook page.

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