AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – As the days get warmer and summer approaches, it’s time for outdoor activities like swimming in the pool. Amarillo Parks and Recreation said all outdoor pools in the city will open on Saturday, but the city is struggling to fill positions at those pools.
Assistant Director for Amarillo Parks and Recreation Kristen Wolbach said the nation is currently facing a lifeguard shortage, adding that this is affecting Amarillo as well.
Wolbach said they hired only 60% of their seasonal staff for the Parks and Recreation department.
Wolbach added that this will not affect the operation of the pools, as all three outdoor pools will be open this summer, but said the shortage will impact the after-hour swim parties coming to the Charles E. Warford this summer Activity Center to be relocated.
Wolbach said they are currently hiring lifeguards in the city, but only those who have ID.
“All of our certification courses have already taken place and we can only offer people on board who are currently certified by the American Red Cross,” Wolbach said.
Wolbach said lifeguards must be certified in CPR, first aid and AED.
“We want to have the safest facility possible. Safety will be the core principle of each of our outdoor pools, and beyond that, we want people to have a good experience there,” said Wolbach.
Wolbach added that the city of Amarillo last year approved the Department of Parks and Recreation to hire 15-year-olds, increasing pay from $10.50 an hour to $11.50 an hour.
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Wolbach said lifeguards work in a central pool and have a set schedule from the day they start until the end of the summer.