Monroe Parks and Recreation has job openings for lifeguards at Masuk High School’s indoor pool.
Director Missy Orosz and her recreation program supervisor, Ian Gatavaski, both worked as lifeguards as teenagers and still keep their certifications up to date.
“I always recertify, because it’s a good skill to have,” Orosz said. “You learn great people skills, because you deal with so many people that come through the door.”
“There’s not a lot of 16-year-olds with the sense of responsibility that lifeguards have,” Gatavaski said of a life skill teenagers can benefit from.
Orosz said anyone who is age 16 and older, who earns their certification, is welcome to work for the town.
Suzanne Schibi teaches a lifeguard course at Masuk High School and Orosz said students as young as 15 can take the course to be eligible to work at a pool next year.
Orosz said the American Red Cross website advertises lifeguard courses and Monroe and parks and recreation departments from neighboring towns keep each other informed about their own certification courses.
Lifeguard certifications are valid for two years and include blood-borne pathogens training, lifeguarding, first aid, CPR and AED certifications.
Orosz said those who obtain their lifeguard certification to work at the Masuk pool will have a leg up on getting a lifeguard job at the Wolfe Park pool next summer.
Lifeguards are needed to work weeknights and Saturday afternoons. Orosz said the the part-time job offers a flexible schedule.
Monroe Parks and Recreation uses Masuk High School’s indoor pool to host open swims, lap swimming and youth and adult swim lessons in a season that goes from Sept. 16 to July.
Job applications can be downloaded on the Monroe Parks and Recreation Department website and submitted with valid certifications in an email to [email protected]. Applicants may also call Orosz or Gatavaski at 203-452-2806.
Salaries are based upon experience and range from $11.85 to $15.85 an hour.
A lifeguard shortage
Monroe has four lifeguards now and Gatavaski said they could use five more. When the town has been short this summer, Orosz said she and Gatavaski have both sat in the chair at Wolfe Park.
Orosz said the town sometimes loses lifeguards at the end of summer, when students go to college. The town can fall short during the season when lifeguards, who are also student athletes, have games scheduled at the same time as their shifts.
Last year, Orosz said Monroe Parks and Recreation organized its own lifeguard course and secured an instructor, but no one registered for it.
She called her peers at parks and recreation departments in Shelton, Newtown and Oxford to see if they had extra lifeguards.
Orosz said filling all of the shifts is a common problem for directors in Connecticut, adding she has attended regional meetings where they’ve shared ideas to attract and retain lifeguards.
“We pay a little more than minimum wage,” Gatavaski said of the hourly wage for new lifeguards without experience. “A lot of other towns pay minimum wage, so a teenager may think, ‘I could work at Target and not have the responsibility of knowing CPR.'”