Lifeguards and swim instructors needed this summer to staff aquatic centers

SPOKANE, Wash. — Pools will be open this summer but there’s one challenge the City of Spokane and Spokane County are facing.

“People love these places. People make summertime memories,” said Josh Oakes, Recreation Supervisor with the City of Spokane.

Memories put on pause last summer as COVID-19 forced Aquatic Centers to stay closed.

“If you don’t go on a summer vacation this is some people’s summer vacation spot,” said Oakes.

A vacation spot you’ll soon be able to visit once again and it happens to be right here in Spokane.

“Last year was really hard to see these facilities empty. Just getting back to having the community in these spaces means more than ever,” Oakes said.

This summer, the city is planning to open all six aquatic centers but there’s just one problem.

“We need more people to offer what we’re planning on offering,” said Oakes.

Oakes said they need at least 80 lifeguards and 30 swim instructors to fully open. Right now, they only have applications for about half of the number of lifeguards needed and about one-third of swim instructors.

“We’re really trying to get the word out that we are opening. We do need staff. We are hiring. It’s a great summer job. You get to be outside,” Oaks said.

Spokane County is facing a similar problem.

“It’s always a struggle to find enough certified lifeguards every summer to open our facilities,” said Sarah Fitzgerald, Recreation Program Manager for Spokane County Parks & Recreation.

This year is no different. They have about 20 staff members ready at both of their Aquatic Centers, but they’ll need 30-35 in order to have open public swim every day.

“We’ve had an entire summer with no kiddos going through learning to swim, which is really a safety concern for our region,” said Fitzgerald.

A concern they hope can be put to rest as they continue searching for help, not just for themselves, but also for your family.

“I’m just very excited to be able to do what we do best which is create programing and spaces for the public to enjoy,” said Fitzgerald.

“We want to make sure that we are creating a fun and safe swimming location for people so that if somebody did need assistance, we’re there,” said Oakes.

If you’re interested in getting certified, there is good news. The Spokane Parks Foundation donated more than $10,000 that will be used for scholarships for anyone who wants to get their certification. You’ll get a $100 discount thanks to the grant. A guard who is recertifying can get $50 off.

RELATED: City of Spokane looking for lifeguards, swim instructors to staff aquatic centers this summer