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'We do get to be a family' — Area pools share how they are keeping staff for season

The Daily Record
The Daily Record
 2022-06-26
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As May becomes June and temperatures hit the 80s and 90s, community pools are a popular stop for many who want to cool down and a fun place to go.

Despite delayed openings for some locations — like the Loudonville Swimming Pool — the summer season is now in full swing, and some pool managers say they are busier than ever. Busy days lead to a need for more lifeguards and local managers shared how they recruit and keep workers at their pools.

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Busy, busy, busy

At Crissey Memorial Swimming Pool in Millersburg, management reports there is no shortage of lifeguards and huge crowds visited over opening weekend, which began Saturday, May 28.

Due to the June 13 storm and damage across the area, the pool was closed throughout much of that week but has since reopened.

Gwen Sommer, CEO of YMCA of Wayne County, said all the pools the YMCA oversees in the Wooster and Orrville areas have been very busy as well. To help keep the pools from reaching max capacity, Sommer said they created a schedule to alternate what days camps swim at which pools which has helped keep the numbers down and many in the community happy.

Brookside Pool in Ashland also has been very busy as well, pool manager Missy Dropsey said. It was so busy Dropsey said she had to call in a few extra lifeguards on some of the busier days.

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Raising wages to $12.50 an hour helped the Loudonville Pool re-open earlier this week Loudonville Village Administrator Curt Young said.

Sommer said working with the City of Wooster to run the pools has helped not only keep the pools connected, but also by allowing enough time for training and certification of new lifeguards since the YMCA operates all year round.

Offering to help pay for some of the training — which includes everything from CPR and first aid certification to getting certified as a lifeguard — is another thing Sommer said has helped draw in more staff.

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Making and keeping connections with swimmers who come to their pools is something Sommer and Dropsey have both done. By getting to know people both as a teacher and as a manager of the pool, Dropsey said she has kept much of her staff.

“I had both of my entire crews come back from last year and the last several years,” Dropsey said. “... It makes my heart happy that these kids want to come back and that they enjoy it enough. We do get to be a family.”

Daily Record Reporter Kevin Lynch contributed to this report.

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