Plenty of jobs for lifeguards in beachless town



    Although there’s no beach in Provo, students who are certified as lifeguards may not be out of work.

    In fact, they may find their lifeguarding skills may lead to job promotions.

    One such student, Chris Jensen, a senior with a double major in archeology and geography, worked as a lifeguard for a year and a half at the Provo Recreation Center and is now the center’s head supervisor.

    “This is just a great job for school. That’s why I’m doing it,” he said.

    Jensen said flexible hours, a convenient location and enjoyable work are reasons why lifeguarding is a good job for students.

    “It’s enjoyable because I get to work with kids,” he said.

    Primarily BYU and UVSC students work as lifeguards at the Recreation Center because of an 18-year-old minimum age requirement, Jensen said.

    He said between 15 to 20 lifeguards work in the fall and winter, and he hires about 17 more for the summer. They work about 20 hours a week, he said.

    The Provo Recreation Center is just one of many employers of lifeguards in the community.

    Lissy Sanders, aquatics director for the Orem Recreation Center, said there are 23 lifeguards currently working there. In the summer, that number usually goes up to about 40, she said.

    Sanders, a 1996 BYU alumna, said lifeguarding is a great job for students.

    “I put myself through school working here,” she said.

    According to Sanders, Orem Recreation is a fun place for students to work because most of the staff members are in the same age group. Like Provo Recreation, Orem requires that lifeguards be at least 18 years old.

    Sanders said they often have after-hours parties, and the recreation center has a cabin in Sundance where some parties are held.

    This social environment has even led to a few marriages, she said.

    Sanders said lifeguards at Orem Recreation work 15 to 30 hours a week. She said lifeguards who are employed year-round are only allowed to work a total of 1,500 hours per calendar year due to a city ordinance. That averages out to about 30 hours a week.

    Connie Todd, a facility manager for BYU, is in charge of hiring lifeguards for BYU’s swimming facilities in the Stephen L. Richards Building.

    He said BYU doesn’t see the high turnover in the summertime that other institutions do. They periodically hire a few new lifeguards throughout the year, he said.

    The Seven Peaks Water Park, which is open from May 27 to Sept. 4, will hire more than 100 lifeguards for the summer, according to Wendy Leatham, the park’s guest services and human resources manager.

    Leatham said Seven Peaks offers an incentive pay program, in which employees are paid progressively more as they work through the summer.

    Still, the park hires about 20 more lifeguards through the course of the summer, because some employees quit, Leatham said.

    She said the occasional lifeguard dropout is due to the stress involved in working as a lifeguard at a water park.

    Seven Peaks’ 16-year-old minimum age requirement makes it available to high school students as a workplace. Consequently, Leatham said they hire many high school-aged lifeguards.

    Those who wish to work as lifeguards for any institution must first be certified. Todd said the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training is the standard certification that he looks for when hiring applicants, although there are cases where he will accept other forms of certification.

    The Provo and Orem Recreation Centers both require additional certification in water safety instruction, as almost all of their lifeguards are also swimming instructors.

    Certification classes are taught at both the Provo and Orem centers, and at Seven Peaks. Students may also enroll in certification classes at BYU.

    Todd said the BYU certification courses are a great way for students to certify without having to go outside of BYU.

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