NewsFront RangeDenver


Denver boasts open community pools amid lifeguard shortage, cites simplified hiring process

Lifeguard image.png
Posted at 8:11 PM, Jul 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-28 00:27:21-04

DENVER — The playful yells fill the air as the sun shines and the water splashes. It’s 90+ degrees outside, making it a busy day at the La Alma pool. As dozens of kids enjoy the splash pools and waterslide, there are several watchful eyes above, donning red tank tops and whistles.

But it’s been awhile since this scene was a reality, especially at this location.

“Last year in 2022, we had to close about half of the (city) pools,” said Megan Williams with the City of Denver. “We didn’t have enough lifeguards to keep all the pools open.”

That lifeguard shortage has impacted Denver’s pools for years. Last year, six of Denver’s pools were closed for that reason.

It’s an issue that continues across the metro area. Wheat Ridge is "desperate" for lifeguards, according to a tweet from the police department at the end of May. Northglenn hired a team of seniors to fill positions at one pool.

The State of Colorado even stepped in to try to help, offering funding for local governments to help fill openings.

Community pools preparing to open

Local News

State announces grant program to help public swimming pools attract lifeguards

Sydney Isenberg
10:42 PM, May 15, 2023

So to make sure its pools were staffed enough to open, the City of Denver looked internally.

The internal group called Peak Academy worked with Denver Parks & Rec and the city’s HR department on hiring.

“How can we make this process better? What can we cut out to make sure that we’re getting enough lifeguards hired for the next season?” said Williams, who also serves as director of the Peak Academy.

The group works with city departments on processes and “was designed to provide frontline employees with the tools to make data driven decisions and improve their own work,” according to the city’s website.

The end result was a simplified hiring process for lifeguards, including a one-day hiring event that included everything from swimming assessments to offer letters.

“It was a really easy process,” first-year lifeguard Riley Minogue-Rau said.

“They actually increased hiring by 57%,” Williams said.

According to Peak, 39 lifeguards were hired for the 2023 season, meaning all city pools will be able to open.

“This is our first summer back open. It’s great for the neighborhood,” Minogue-Rau said. “Lots of people love this pool, and it’s really great to be back open again.”

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.