Young Londoners can splash around for the rest of the summer.
Last week, several London families with young children received news no one wants to hear when they are trying to cool off; six community wading pools had closed due to a lack of lifeguards. However, the closings received so much media attention, that there is now one lifeguard for each wading pool, and two instructors for outdoor pools.
The decrease in lifeguards is happening across the province. Lynn Loubert, the Division Manager of Aquatics, Arenas, and Attractions for the City of London, said there are many reasons for it. “Certainly, there’s a lot less young people, schools are seeing a decline in enrollment and things like that,” she said.
Loubert added that there are many qualifications aspiring lifeguards need to get before they are certified, and that there is a lot of responsibility involved. “You’re monitoring and supervising people in a controlled situation, but you are responsible for people’s lives, and not everyone wants to take on that role.”
Those aspiring to be a National Lifeguard must be at least 16 years of age. Loubert explained most teens will start their training at 13 years old, and spread it out over a couple of years.
“It’s very manageable. If you’re trying to cram it all into one year, it could be quite expensive.”
Besides a love of water, she said that most lifeguards are great with people and like working with children. They are also physically active and enjoy participating in activities. “That kind of personality traits work out really well,” she said.
All wading pools are opening for the rest of the summer season. Meredith, University Heights, and McMahen have opened. Murray will open on July 14, and Byron and Smith are expected to open soon.