“We did have to cut some of our classes because we couldn’t find the staff, “ said Kari Reuland with Westwood Health Fitness. “We’re always looking for guards.”
Wisconsin is unique. The American Red Cross certifies lifeguards at the age of 15, but state law requires lifeguards to be at least 16 years old to work in our state.
“We had a couple of students recently, one who had gotten certified at the beginning of the summer but didn't turn 16 until August so we had to wait 3 months to bring him on board with us,” said Reuland.
“All the states that I've been to, at other YMCA's in Maryland, Texas, Illinois, the age is 15. It will really help us if the bill goes through. It will provide a whole new group of kids,” said Collen.
The YMCA in Racine needs to ramp up its lifeguard numbers.
This spring, a new $6.5 million dollar Aquatic Center will be finished and Racine needs between 30 to 50 additional lifeguards to staff the new pools.