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Oklahoma YMCA seeks lifeguards

Oklahoma YMCA officials are hoping to avoid the lifeguard shortage experienced in recent summers.
by Matt Patterson Modified: March 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm •  Published: March 11, 2013

Summer is on its way, and YMCA branches throughout Oklahoma City are facing a familiar problem — a lifeguard shortage.

The YMCA has eight indoor pools across the metro area. It also operates seasonal outdoor pools at its Greenbriar branch as well as Chickasha, Guthrie and several homeowner association pools throughout the area.

Associate Director of Aquatics Terri Alcorn said the branches require about 50 lifeguards to operate during peak months, but it's not necessarily just a summer problem.

“It hits us year-round,” Alcorn said. “The typical group that applies for a lifeguard position has a lot of other options between retail and other jobs. And many young people are focusing on other activities prior to college.”

Most people who apply are between 16 and 25, but Alcorn said the jobs are open to anyone who is physically fit and passes a YMCA certification class. Certification classes are scheduled for March 18-22. The jobs pay about $8 an hour.

“We're happy to have older adults and early retirees,” Alcorn said. “In some cases that works out very well because they have a flexible schedule. Anyone who likes the water and enjoys working with people can apply.”

A good lifeguard needs to be vigilant and understand the responsibility that goes with the job.

“They need to be that entire package,” Alcorn said. “Vigilance is the most important. They are the first line of response in an emergency.”

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by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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