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Cascade pool trains new lifeguards

Posted at 7:14 PM, Jun 10, 2024

CASCADE — Across Montana, many small towns are having trouble finding enough people to staff swimming pools. In Cascade, young people are learning how to protect and serve their community by becoming lifeguards at the community pool.

“We are doing a lifeguard training class, so I am certifying the lifeguards for Cascade and Augusta so that they can open their pools and have lifeguards available for the summer,” said Amanda Brown, a lifeguard trainer and certifier.

The Atkinson Pool in Cascade almost did not open for the 2024 summer because they needed lifeguards and a pool manager. Luckily, Teresa Ghekiere stepped in.

“I think it’s important for a small community to have it,” Ghekiere, the pool manager said, “It would be a disservice to this community not to have the pool open.”

To be a lifeguard, you must be at least 15 years old and pass a lifeguard certification class. The class is a 3-to-4-day process in a classroom and in the pool, learning what it takes to be a lifeguard.

Young kids in Cascade recognized the need for lifeguards and decided that they could be the change needed to keep summer traditions alive.

“It's kind of like an area where almost all the kids are at, all summer,” said Nordika, who is training to become a lifeguard. “And if it’s not there, then what are the kids gonna do all summer?”

Lack of staffing comes from kids who are reluctant to take the job, but Ghekiere assures that there is nothing quite like it.

“It’s the best summer job you could have,” Ghekiere said, “You get to hang out with your friends, you get to get sunshine, you get to be outside, you get to be role models for the little kids, and it’s incredible.”

While the current team of lifeguards may not know each other yet, they are optimistic that they will become friends over the summer.

“It’s an interesting team because none of us really, some of us don’t really ever talk to each other because we’re in separate grades and stuff or separate groups,” Nordika said, “But I think it’s a great way for us to become friends in some type of way.”

You can learn more about the Atkinson Pool by clicking here.