Chico hit with lifeguard shortage

May 12, 2014 6:13 PM

Sycamore Pool in Bidwell Park is a popular place to cool off.

Last summer, the Chico swimming hole saw more than 40,000 visitors. And with temperatures already closing in on triple digits this year, the swimming spot is looking at another long summer.

But with a decreased staff of lifeguards to watch those waters, the City of Chico is urgently looking for a new pool of applicants.

“Lifeguards are kind of an iconic part of One-Mile,” said Dan Efseaff, Chico Park and Natural Resources Manager. “But we've had a lot of challenges getting qualified candidates for it.”

From late May to early September, the city employees 16 lifeguards to staff the pool. But so far this year, the city has only had about six applicants apply for those lifeguards jobs.

“We have five chairs there and if you look at the pool it’s an immense area,” Efseaff said. “We definitely would like to have all those chairs filled.”

During the summer, Chico nurse Kate Bode-Guzman takes her children to Sycamore Pool a few times a week. And while she always keeps a watchful eye on her children, Bode-Guzman appreciates the extra security lifeguards bring. If the city, however, doesn't hire more lifeguards soon it could change her summer plans.

“I probably wouldn’t be coming as often,” she said. “Just because I don’t have the extra reassurance.”

If they city does not hire enough lifeguards soon, they might have the lifeguards they do have work only on the weekends or scrap the lifeguard program all together.


Most Popular