YMCA of Southern West Virginia offering lifeguard certification opportunity amid Beckley shortage

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Calling all lifeguards!

With Beckley struggling to fill slots at several pools this summer, the city is combining with the YMCA of Southern West Virginia for a training opportunity.

“The city has reached out to us to have a special class, so that we can try to get some of these positions filled,” said YMCA of Southern West Virginia Aquatics and Wellness Director Ryan Gilkerson. “Everybody knows there’s been a lifeguard shortage.”

The city has lowered the age limit to lifeguard from 18 to 16. Gilkerson hopes that more high-school aged community members will take advantage of the opportunity to spend a summer by the pool, not to mention the chance to make a little bit of cash.

“You have a great responsibility,” Gilkerson said I think that people should definitely take advantage of that. It’s just a good thing. It’s a great way to give back to the community and earn a little bit of income at the same time.”

The YMCA holding a free, pre-requisite course this Saturday. Gilkerson encourages anyone interested to attend, so long as they’re ready to prove themselves in the pool.

“Be prepared for the physical portion of the test,” Gilkerson said. “It consists of a 300-meter non-stop swim. A 10-lb brick town and then you’ll be asked to tread water for two minutes.”

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