Lifeguards wanted in Oakland County

Students choosing summer internships, sports camps over lifeguarding

By Roger Weber - Reporter

HUNTINGTON WOODS, Mich. - Oakland County's Red Oaks Water Park will be packed when the weather heats up.

However, the interest in being a lifeguard is cooling down.

"We've gone out, you know, to beat the bushes -- contacting high schools, friends of friends," said Sue Wells, manager of operations for Oakland County parks.

Wells said the school schedule is a big issue.

"High schoolers may not be able to start work until the second week of June. Many colleges start the second week of August," she said.

Some are unable to work because of summer sports camps.

The Huntington Woods Aquatic Center has enough lifeguards, but for many their first obligation is job internships for college.

"It pulls them away from full-time opportunities at the pool, so we bring on more lifeguards so we can flex their schedules," said Mary Gustafson, of Huntington Woods Parks and Rec.

Some people shy away from the job because of the responsibility of looking after people. Moreover, the very image of lifeguarding is changing. Lifeguards used to be known as the people with great tans. Now, people worry about skin cancer and overall skin damage.

Darryn Horvath spent 9 years as a lifeguard and is credited with 30 saves. He was part of a huge staff at Red Oaks.

"My favorite thing about lifeguarding was the teamwork side of it. I think it helps younger people learn to develop to be more mature adults because of the increased responsibility," he said.

Horvath is helping the county recruit lifeguards. About 50 new ones should be ready to go next week, making $9.66 an hour. Filling this job pool is much tougher than it used to be.

For more information on how to apply, go here. Oakland County job postings can be found here.

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