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Guarding Our Finest Treasure
Retaining Rookies
Jon Edelbrock | Community Services and Lifeguard Lieutenant

Just when it seemed our calendars would mark the start of summer without the sun having shone over our local beach for weeks, with near-perfect timing and only days to spare, it broke through to provide a perfect palette to mark the beginning of a new season. Many thousands arrived, not a parking spot in sight, smiles aplenty, and many a rosy cheek after hours of fun. Each spring, our small city ramps up in preparation for the exponential number of visitors that arrive to enjoy a piece of the fine white sand on our small stretch of beach.

This year marks our 52nd summer season and a history filled with hundreds of employees that have worked our local beach. In April, we welcomed a crew of 11 new “Rookie” Student Lifeguards to the staff. This group adds to an already young staff that includes 11 recurrent employees from last year’s hiring class – comprising our largest two-season hiring ever.

With the seasonal constraints on our community we have long leaned on a strong seasonal staff to perform our duties. We continue to count on these team members giving us renewed commitments each year which, over the past few years, has become increasingly challenging. I have often referred to the years of “The Great Recession” as the “Golden Years of Lifeguarding” for our department. Why? Well, we were enjoying the greatest length of service and recurrence I have ever seen. Our young, smart, and motivated, young employees weren’t achieving the same level of opportunities in the workplace seen prior or after those years between 2007 and 2010. They weren’t obtaining internships or the “career” jobs they sought through their education. But, for us, we enjoyed the fruits of having a well-seasoned crew.

Hiring great young people, we have found, comes with a price. Choose to hire talented well-rounded individuals and opportunities will be presented to them in many ways – as we’ve seen the past few years – and rightfully so. Managing the balancing act between our regular staff, new hires, and filling a schedule with part-time employees juggling internships, sports, and searching for full-time employment, has been a unique challenge.

We would like to think our training and wisdom we help our employees develop is a crucial element in their continued success. Our employees are nurtured from day one to be compassionate ambassadors of our public space and those that visit. We aim to employ methods of mutual enjoyment, composure, organization, and civility, to create an enjoyable experience for visitors and in the workplace which, for our employees, has helped breed success.

Now that the sun is shining, we hope to see everyone down at the beach this summer. We’re looking forward to lots of warm water, sunny skies, and a surf-filled summer. And when you come, don’t forget to wave and help share the good times so that all are able to enjoy our community’s finest treasure.





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