July has arrived with more heat and fewer lifeguards than in past summer seasons.There are fewer splashes, cannonballs and swimming opportunities this year.The Cincinnati pool outlook for the rest of the summer is not much better than it was at the start of the season. But it’s not for want of trying, according to city and recreation leaders.”It has been rough,” said Daniel Betts in his usual candid fashion today. As head of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, he is in charge of getting as many pools open as possible. “I’ve never seen it like this,” he said.Even with the city’s $2,000 bonuses, not enough lifeguards have been attracted to open more than eight pools so far.A ninth will start up right after the Fourth of July, but the last training class of the season is next week.He wore a bright red shirt today with wording that read: We Still Need Lifeguards.”My message is we need more lifeguards. And if you’re a certified lifeguard we can get you hired today. If you’re not certified, we can get you trained so that you can become certified and get you placed at a pool,” Betts said. “You know, what we’re lookin’ to do is close the gap to open up more pools. We’ll go from eight to nine next week. We’re gonna open up Dickman in Sayler Park. It’s one of the farthest locations in our city in terms of community.” Amy Babicke, her husband, six year-old William and three year-old Hannah would jump in right now if they could.They will move into Sayler Park about a month from now and part of the allure involves proximity to Dickman Pool.”It means the world,” Babicke said. “When we decided we were going to build a house here, I just envisioned my kids, you know, throwing their bathing suits on and gettin’ to run over to the pool for however long and basically live there.” At Ziegler pool today, kids enjoyed a refreshing start to the July 4th holiday weekend. But only eight city pools are currently open.Betts wants to recruit more adult lifeguards.The oldest is in the 60-65 year range. The pool of teenagers just isn’t as deep this year given the competitive marketplace. “We think it’s not just about money,” he told us. “We think it’s about how we’re attracting young people, making this opportunity more attractive to young people and adults.”Lawmakers will be asked to start lifeguards at $15 an hour next season.Asked today if she thinks Council will be receptive to that, Vice Mayor Jan Michele Kearney did not hesitate.”Absolutely,” she said. “Swimming is so important for our kids. All of our twenty-three pools need to be open.”Betts said he would love to get up to fourteen before the season ends. That might be too ambitious. The pools at Evanston and Dempsey will close Aug. 6. Oakley, Dunham, Lincoln and Dickman will end their season a week later, August 13th. Only two pools, Pleasant Ridge and McKie, will remain open until Labor Day.To try to prevent a similar summer in 2023, Betts said recruiting will start earlier.He is also trying to arrange for a year-round academy where lifeguard training would be done on a consistent basis.Betts said he is in contact with the YMCA, CDC and Swim Safe, a private pool management company, about establishing that in an indoor facility sometime next year.In the meantime, he stayed on message.”We still need lifeguards,” he said.

July has arrived with more heat and fewer lifeguards than in past summer seasons.

There are fewer splashes, cannonballs and swimming opportunities this year.

The Cincinnati pool outlook for the rest of the summer is not much better than it was at the start of the season. But it’s not for want of trying, according to city and recreation leaders.

“It has been rough,” said Daniel Betts in his usual candid fashion today. As head of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, he is in charge of getting as many pools open as possible.

“I’ve never seen it like this,” he said.

Even with the city’s $2,000 bonuses, not enough lifeguards have been attracted to open more than eight pools so far.

A ninth will start up right after the Fourth of July, but the last training class of the season is next week.

He wore a bright red shirt today with wording that read: We Still Need Lifeguards.

“My message is we need more lifeguards. And if you’re a certified lifeguard we can get you hired today. If you’re not certified, we can get you trained so that you can become certified and get you placed at a pool,” Betts said. “You know, what we’re lookin’ to do is close the gap to open up more pools. We’ll go from eight to nine next week. We’re gonna open up Dickman in Sayler Park. It’s one of the farthest locations in our city in terms of community.”

Amy Babicke, her husband, six year-old William and three year-old Hannah would jump in right now if they could.

They will move into Sayler Park about a month from now and part of the allure involves proximity to Dickman Pool.

“It means the world,” Babicke said. “When we decided we were going to build a house here, I just envisioned my kids, you know, throwing their bathing suits on and gettin’ to run over to the pool for however long and basically live there.”

At Ziegler pool today, kids enjoyed a refreshing start to the July 4th holiday weekend. But only eight city pools are currently open.

Betts wants to recruit more adult lifeguards.

The oldest is in the 60-65 year range. The pool of teenagers just isn’t as deep this year given the competitive marketplace.

“We think it’s not just about money,” he told us. “We think it’s about how we’re attracting young people, making this opportunity more attractive to young people and adults.”

Lawmakers will be asked to start lifeguards at $15 an hour next season.

Asked today if she thinks Council will be receptive to that, Vice Mayor Jan Michele Kearney did not hesitate.

“Absolutely,” she said. “Swimming is so important for our kids. All of our twenty-three pools need to be open.”

Betts said he would love to get up to fourteen before the season ends. That might be too ambitious.

The pools at Evanston and Dempsey will close Aug. 6. Oakley, Dunham, Lincoln and Dickman will end their season a week later, August 13th. Only two pools, Pleasant Ridge and McKie, will remain open until Labor Day.

To try to prevent a similar summer in 2023, Betts said recruiting will start earlier.

He is also trying to arrange for a year-round academy where lifeguard training would be done on a consistent basis.

Betts said he is in contact with the YMCA, CDC and Swim Safe, a private pool management company, about establishing that in an indoor facility sometime next year.

In the meantime, he stayed on message.

“We still need lifeguards,” he said.



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