Sioux Falls Parks and Rec in need of more lifeguards for the summer

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Summer is right around the corner and the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department plans to have all programs and facilities open, including outdoor pools.

There are 200 spots for seasonal employees on the city of Sioux Falls’ payroll, but one specific position is turning out to be tough to fill.

The city will need about 100 lifeguards to staff all city pools. They currently have about 50 percent of the needed lifeguards hired.

“The job search has been probably more challenging this year than in the past, we are still in need of lifeguards as well as some other positions,” said Jackie Nelson, the Parks, and Recreation administrative manager.

But staff are still optimistic they will have all the pools ready to open on May 28th.

“In the last couple of weeks, the numbers of interviews and positions hired or contingently hired have really picked up, so we are seeing lots of good promise and we’re very optimistic about the summer,” said Nelson.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unexpected hurdle to this year’s hiring process.

“It has been a little bit more difficult, and I think some it, especially from a pool perspective,” said Nelson. “We were closed last year, typically we try to bring back a lot of employees that work for us the previous summer, so not having that talent pool to go back and reach out to and bring back this year has been challenging.”

Other positions also need to be filled for Parks and Rec to get ready for the summer.

“Some other jobs that are still needed would be the aquatic maintenance, so the team members that really support with getting the pools filled, checking the chlorine levels, helping to ensure the areas are clean,” said Nelson.

Some Sioux Falls residents say while they know more work needs to be done regarding getting the pandemic under control, having pools open for the season is a welcome sign for the future.

“I think of all the things reopening and getting back to normal, I think the pools are a really great safer option. It’s important that we get back to normal for our mental health for our social health,” said Scott Sorenson.

City staff does believe they will be able to hire enough lifeguards for the summer, but there are plans in place in case anything needs to be adjusted.

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