YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Public pools in Ohio have the government’s OK to reopen on Tuesday, May 26. When they open, they’ll need lifeguards.
“Now, everything is moving slow, but everything was in motion before the COVID happened,” said Luther Bell, a lifeguard in training.
Bell just finished his junior year at East High School and is one of the first six students in the Youngstown Lifeguard Academy.
The academy started in September with the Youngstown YMCA and is designed to have more people trained as certified lifeguards.
In a perfect world, Bell and the others would be sitting on the stands at Northside Pool this summer, teaching kids how to swim.
“So I just want to like take them in, take care of them, just like coach did with me. So that’s how I’d like to do it,” Bell said.
“We were in the midst of the actual lifeguard class when the COVID hit and everything was placed on hold,” said Kevin Tarpley, founder of the Youngstown Lifeguard Academy.
Now, Tarpley’s six members have to wait until the lifeguard certification process resumes.
Officials in the city of Youngstown haven’t decided whether Northside Pool will reopen this year, which is where his lifeguards would go.
The academy is still new and the hope is to fill a need in the community.
“We’re already going to have lifeguards, then we’re going to be having more coming behind. So when those folks are leaving and go to college or vocational school, there’s always going to be a backfield,” Tarpley said.
Tarpley said although certification may not happen this summer, training is expected to resume in the fall.
The goal is to train 20 students in Youngstown and 20 in Campbell for years to come to cover public pools into the future.