Silverthorne utilizes state grant to help recruit lifeguards |

Silverthorne utilizes state grant to help recruit lifeguards

The Silverthorne Recreation Center is pictured on July 31, 2022. Town leaders are looking to increase pay for staff members, including positions that work at the center.
Eliza Noe/Summit Daily News

The town of Silverthorne received a grant from the state to boost recruitment and retention of lifeguards for the town’s public pool, and town staff are already utilizing the benefits to recruit staff for the Silverthorne Recreation Center. 

The town received a grant — called the Pools Special Initiative 2022 — from the state that aims to boost recruiting and retention of public pool employees. Gov. Jared Polis introduced the action earlier in the summer when many pools across the state were facing staff shortages and potential closures. 

“It was $1,000 bonuses that we’re offering on top of the $400 hiring bonus that the town already had in place for part-timers,” recreation and culture director Joanne Cook said. “(The town) had five new hires that have already gone through training, and then (Silverthorne) has a class of eight — and knock on wood — because it’s difficult to get people through the whole class, pass and then actually start working with shifts. It does happen, obviously. That’s how people work there, but it is a barrier to employment and it doesn’t happen for everyone. If we got four others, that’d be great.”

Cook said that classes fill up based on the number of staff members there are. That means if a staff member is added, more spots for classes like swimming and gymnastics open up for community members. 

“As a parent with kids in swim, they’re involved in there Monday through Thursday, and (the Recreation Center staff members) are killing it,” council member Amy Manka said. “I mean, it’s unbelievable the staffing and what everybody’s doing.”

Colorado leaders made $350,000 available to applicants, and funds were provided by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.

Eligible parties include county governments, municipalities and special districts that are experiencing difficulties operating outdoor or indoor public swimming pools. Each applicant can request up to $25,000 dollars. Funds could not be used for equipment. In total, 71 grants were distributed to groups across Colorado, including Silverthorne. 

“We are helping expand pool hours and get closed pools open so that this July 4th and throughout the summer, Coloradans across the state can safely have fun with family and friends, learn to swim, exercise and recreate at our amazing public pools,” Polis said in a news release. “We are working with local communities to get more pools open and expand hours with support for increased pay, more work flexibility, and helping train more lifeguards.”

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