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Expanding its training program, Benton River Center hopes to hire more lifeguards this summer



Benton, Arkansas – This summer, The River Center in Benton is starting a new training program in the goal of hiring more lifeguards.

Aquatic directors across the country have struggled to fill lifeguard positions since 2020.

“There were times where even our bosses had to get on the stand so we could get in the water and teach a swim lesson,” The River Center lifeguard Brendon Bush said.

The River Center had about 15 lifeguards in 2020, fewer than the 35 they would have had in a typical year, according to Adam Nelsen, director of aquatics.

“We have to get really creative on how we run our we run our amenities, how we do hours of operation, how we set up our rotation,” Nelsen said.

These adjustments are being included into the training curriculum.

Benton is bringing back “blended learning” this academic year. It gives potential employees an option to earn their lifeguard certification on their own schedule.

“You have to have all these different options to be able to reach the new generation,” Nelsen said.

The instruction would essentially be broken up into two sections, one online and one in person.

“They can do that virtual portion when they’re not able to come and then they could complete the rest of it,” Bush said.

The organization is urging more people to jump in as the days go by in the hopes that this summer they won’t end themselves in shallow water.

Training sessions will be held at the River Center on March 17–19 and April 7-8. April 21–23, May 5–7, May 19–21, June 2–4, June 30–2, August 11–13, and August 25–27 are the following dates.

Nelsen can be reached at [email protected] for further details.