KARNS, Tenn. (WATE) — After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and repair the Karns Lions Club community pool is open.
“It is a very large pool,” Lions Club member Cynthia Bridges said. “One of the things that set it apart is we do have handicapped access. We have ramp access. This is just something we want to provide recreation opportunities for the community.”
Two brothers were happy to be at the pool Saturday.
“Just hanging out with family and being all together,” Jeremy Walker said.
“The weather was pretty nice. The sun came out just for a minute, but I mean the pool was a little colder when I got in,” Mason Walker added.
However, the fun could stop at the pool very soon.
“We’ve had lifeguard issues that which are happening around the country,” Bridges said. “We were not even sure we would be able to open the pool this weekend until yesterday. We need a certain number of lifeguards to even open the pool. With it being large we have to have four on duty and then have to have more than that hired just to cover the rotation of a full weekly schedule.”
“This is kind of my first official job I guess you could say so it teaches you a lot of just good life skills you can have,” lifeguard Noah Watts said. “This is a very team-based job. You have to be aware of what’s going on around.”
According to Bridges, the lifeguard shortage is so dire it’s up in the air if the pool will be open on Memorial Day.
“We do have a few more that are completing training next weekend so hopefully after that, we will be better staffed. We still need to hire a number of additional lifeguards to be able to operate on a full schedule so we may be having to reduce hours this summer. It could mean that some weekdays we have to close. We’re playing it by ear,” she said.
In Tennessee, you must be 15-years-old and complete some training to be a lifeguard.
“There is a written test,” Watts said. “It’s pretty easy once you’ve gone through the course. After that point of the course, it’s more about just common sense which as a lifeguard you kind of need to have that.”
A good chunk of revenue from the pool pays for the operation and taxes on the Lions Clubs’ handicapped accessible park.
“If the pool closes we could potentially put the entire park into jeopardy,” said Bridges.
If you want to become a lifeguard, visit karnslionsclub.com/job-opening.