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Indy Parks seeks to hire more lifeguards amid shortage



Indianapolis, Indiana — More than half of Indy Parks pools are closed following the lifeguard shortage. They’re hoping to hire more than one hundred lifeguards.

“We’re getting her done barely. Like we really need staff right now. It’d be really great if we had more people,” a lifeguard, Devin Brann, said.

According to Indy Parks, there are 224 lifeguard positions, but so far, they’ve only hired less than 100 people.

Indy Parks has a total of 17 pools, but with fewer lifeguards, only 6 pools are open at Bethel Park, Frederick Douglass Park, Garfield Park, Perry Park, Thatcher Park, and Willard Park. Ellenberger Park and Indy Island Aquatic Center are undergoing repairs and will reopen in a few weeks. “We want to be able to provide as much as we can for the community, but we have to be able to do it safely, and if we can’t do it safely, unfortunately, we aren’t going to be able to provide it,” the senior manager of aquatics at Indy Parks, Jordan Elder, said.

Currently, Indy Parks is paying lifeguards more than ever before to reopen the pools. Lifeguards are now earning $15 per hour, a $2 increase from 2021, and a $5 dollar increase from 2016. “Along with pay, I mean lifeguarding is very rewarding. You get the skills of how to save somebody’s life, so CPR skills and back boarding skills in the water. You learn how to use an AED, all the first aid skills that you can dream of,” Elder said.

“Ever since I was a lifeguard ten years ago starting out 12 years ago, honestly, but starting out you can kind of slow start to see lifeguards dwindling off and our kind of struggling to get staff, especially within these last five years or so,” Elder said.

According to Elder, the COVID-19 pandemic also created staffing issues, but he remains hopeful. “We urge you. Come out. If you want a job, if you want to make some money, if you just want to hang out with the community, come out and get a job as a lifeguard,” Elder said.

Park visitors will enjoy free pool admission this summer. To receive a pool pass, Marion County residents must show proof of residency such as a utility bill, rent or mortgage statement, school enrollment materials, driver’s license, or other items.

Passes will be valid throughout the summer. The out-of-county resident fee will vary per pool, but the cost will range from $2-$5 for children and adults.

Indy Parks is still hiring lifeguards, pool managers, head lifeguards, food program coordinators, and more summer positions.


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