Lifeguards needed for summer season
The Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp is scheduled to open for the first time in nearly two years on June 12 — if the town can hire enough lifeguards to staff the facility through the summer.
While adequate funding for the pool’s operations has been pledged by Friends of the Pool, the nonprofit advocacy group for the facility, and the town staff is getting the pool ready, a shortage of staff could push the opening date farther out.
At last week’s Twisp Town Council meeting, Public Works Director Andrew Denham said that at the time, the town had recruited about half the staff it needs to open on time.
Denham said it’s vital to have a full roster because lifeguards must take their training at the same time.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Denham said, including social media and “advertising everywhere we normally would, and more.”
As for prepping the pool, Denham said that “mechanically, we are on schedule.”
In an interview this week, Denham said that the staffing requirement is “all or nothing … it’s either adequate or not,” because of the concurrent training required.
The town needs nine lifeguards available to open the pool. Candidates must over 15 years old and be strong swimmers. The pay is $13.69 to $14.69 per hour, with flexible schedules. A $100 incentive will be paid when an applicant is hired, and an additional $200 bonus will be paid if the applicant works for the entire swimming season.
The application deadline is Wednesday (May 19). Applications are available at the temporary town hall, 110 E. Second St., or online at www.townoftwisp.com. For information, email Lori Rodio at email@example.com or call 997-1311.
Because of COVID restrictions, the popular pool remained closed all last summer, not only eliminating a recreational option for valley residents but also wiping the Killer Whales swim team’s season.
Friends of the Pool earlier pledged to raise $50,000 toward opening the pool this summer. The organization told the Town Council on April 17 that it had $20,000 on hand that it could provide to the town, and that it would raise another $30,000 by May 31.
Town officials have said it will cost about $65,000 to operate the pool through the summer, including $15,000 from the Wagner Fund, which was established by the pool’s original benefactors to be used for its operations. The town’s 2021 budget does not include any other operational funds for the pool.
Killer Whale sign-ups
Meanwhile, the Methow Valley Killer Whales swim team, which lost its 2020 season because of COVID restrictions, is open for sign-ups at http://mvkillerwhales.org.
Andy Floyd, former president of the Killer Whales team organization and current president of the Okanogan County Swim League, said in an email that it looks like pools in Omak, Brewster and Okanogan will be open this summer, but it’s unclear yet how many of those communities will have swim teams.