MADISION HEIGHTS, Mich. - The staff at Red Oaks Water Park in Madison Heights is preparing for what they believe will be another busy summer.
“We have over 1,000 people per day,” Red Oaks County Park, Parks Supervisor Matt Pardy said. “One hundred thousand people will come through this facility in any given season.”
Eight days away from the opening of the season, only one thing could put a damper on summer fun here.
“Oakland Parks is experiencing a critical lifeguard and staffing shortage,” he said.
They don’t have enough people.
At Red Oaks Water Park, they are down 20 lifeguards from where they need to be.
Between both water parks, including Waterford Oaks, they usually hire around 120 lifeguards, and at the moment, only have approximately 70.
Will Estes has worked at Red Oaks for three years. He thinks the opportunities for young people like him are increasing. He said his peers are choosing other seasonal jobs.
“It’s a shame,” Estes said. “It’s fun. I encourage people to come over. It’s a great job and very gratifying.”
Estes said he was a swimmer in high school, but wasn’t certified to be a lifeguard until he applied for the job with Oakland County Parks.
“They taught us all the skills we need to know,” he said. “The training lasted 24 total hours, three days."
Pardy said the first-year pay rate is $11.79 an hour. He’s hoping to get more applications; otherwise, both county water parks will have reduced hours.
“Unfortunately, if we don’t get the numbers we won’t be open like we normally are during the summer,” Pardy said.
There is one final lifeguard training session scheduled for mid-June.
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