WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Using a new approach, The City of Winston-Salem is beginning its push for summer lifeguards during winter.
The city is recruiting earlier to avoid experiencing a lifeguard shortage the way it did last year.
The lack of adequate staffing meant some facilities were unable to fully operate consistently.
“They had to close some facilities one day a week. It had to throw the schedules off. We were shifting guards from one facility to another,” Special Facilities/Aquatics Supervisor Heather Candelora said.
The city needs 90 lifeguards to adequately staff all nine pools.
Last year, it had approximately 60 lifeguards.
The city says it’s a national problem that it wants to get ahead of by using a different marketing approach.
“This year we're really challenging ourselves to be more creative. Is there a group of people out there that maybe aren't working a whole lot during the summer that might be interested,” Marketing and Communications Director Ed McNeal said.
A key part of the messaging is to reach a wider audience and let people know that being a lifeguard isn’t just a teenager’s job.
There have been discussions to reach out to teachers and firefighters.
In the meantime, the city is discussing ways to offer more incentives for lifeguards.
It also hopes to work with the American Red Cross for people to become certified.