One of the hardest and yet most critically important jobs at the Y is that of a lifeguard. These women and men protect all of us in the water in roles that involve a lot of what appears to be idle time, punctuated by the need for split-second action to prevent potential catastrophe. Of course, there actually is not any idle time when a lifeguard is on duty, as she or he is continuously scanning the water and going through a mental checklist of things that have been learned over time through rigorous training, preparation and drilling. It is a very difficult job that only certain people are cut out to do.
Never do we employ more lifeguards than in the summer months, when our normal wide range of pools and swim programs are supplemented by numerous camps, both at our Ys and at third-party sites, many of which have pools or natural bodies of water. The stresses are multiplied, but our over 400 lifeguards rise to the challenge every single day. As such, it’s only right that these folks get a chance to blow off some steam, have some fun and show off their skills in a little more relaxed environment every now and then. Well, a week ago this past Saturday evening, nearly 150 of our lifeguard associates from all of our Ys gathered for the first annual “Lifeguard Challenge” at the Y in Pasadena.
Put together by swim directors Jenn Umphlett (Catonsville Y), Amy Vendt (Ward Y), Joe Smolinske (Dancel Y) and Heidi Smith (Arnold Y), an evening of friendly competition, fun and food was enjoyed by all.
The guards were divided into teams, and competed against each other in relays, CPR skills, back-boarding, and much more. Not only did they get to showcase their skills, but they were able to hone their teamwork and make new friends. I had the opportunity to stop by, and I can tell you that not only were they having a great time, they were very impressive, not to mention full of energy and Y spirit. They make me proud to call them colleagues and to know that we all entrust them with our lives and safety.
Thank you to our hosts at the Y in Pasadena, who closed a little early to let our lifeguards take over the swimming pools and have their big night out.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland