Walla Walla Y is looking for seasonal lifeguards

Next lifeguard class begins April 25 at the YMCA


March 21, 2024


The YMCA provides swimming, lifeguard, and safety instruction nationwide.

WALLA WALLA - The YMCA is known as "America's swim instructor." It is dedicated to teaching children of all ages and backgrounds how to have fun safely in and around water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE), as one of the nation's largest providers of outdoor recreation, shares the Y's commitment to water safety. Locally, the USACE provides the Y with life jackets for its water safety training.

The Y is also an American Red Cross-designated training partner, serving pools and communities with training and staff. All Y Aquatics staff are certified by the American Red Cross.

Ensuring safety includes the ability to respond to emergencies. The Y offers first aid and CPR training for parents, schools, businesses, and community groups.

The YMCA offers guidance to local communities who are planning, building, or re-establishing community pools, bringing experience and resources regarding pool design, staffing, and operation.

Last year, the Walla Walla YMCA provided water safety training for over 1500 youth, including children with disabilities. Swimming and water safety courses are offered throughout the year, including training for parents with children as young as six months.  

Each school year, the Y partners with school districts to provide free learn-to-swim and drowning prevention training for school children aged 3-12. Participating school districts bring students to the Y's pool during the school day. Community service organizations can also arrange swim lessons at the Y.

A key challenge for school districts and community-service organizations is providing transportation to the Walla Walla Y's pool, the closest year-round public pool.

In past summers, the Y has managed the Prescott pool and offered free swim lessons for up to 100 children during the 2023 season. The Y covered the costs for the lessons through grants. The Walla Walla Y is looking forward to working with the Prescott Joint Parks and Recreation to provide a safe and fun swim season in 2024.

The key to a successful community pool is a trained aquatics staff. Being a lifeguard is a tremendous responsibility that builds leadership, confidence, and problem-solving skills. Lifeguards are responsible for the safety of everyone at the pool, in the water, and on the pool deck.

Lifeguards help assess children's swimming skills at the start of the season for their and other swimmers' safety. Trained lifeguards are skilled in administering First Aid and CPR as needed. Few other jobs offer high school and college students this level of responsibility and provide essential community service. 

 What does it take to become a lifeguard? The American Red Cross requires completion of the following:

• Pre-test that involves the ability to: 

• Jump in the pool and resurface.

• Swim three continuous laps in front crawl or breaststroke.

• Tread water for two minutes using legs only.

• Swim another lap.

• Complete a timed event: swim across the pool from shallow to deep end, dive to the bottom to retrieve a 10-pound brick from the deep end of the pool; and then exit the water without ladder or steps.

• Four days of water and land training, including First Aid and CPR

• Online learning

In Washington state and nationally, the shortage of trained lifeguards has meant many seasonal pools were unable to open or offer full service and hours of operation. This summer, seasonal pool schedules, including Prescott's, will be dependent on the availability of a skilled team to operate the pool.

For many years, the Prescott Pool has been fortunate to have the service of Carol Anderson as a volunteer morning aerobics instructor. Dedicated volunteers like Anderson are always welcome.

The Walla Walla YMCA is actively recruiting summer lifeguards and swim instructors for its summer programs, including at the Prescott Pool. The Y invites youth, ages 15 and older who want to work in Prescott, to enroll its upcoming lifeguard certification courses. For information about classes, please contact Brittany Elsom at belsom@wwymca.org.

The next class begins April 25-28 at the Y pool.


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