Overseeing more than 60 lifeguards is not an easy task. Factor in also being responsible for the well-being and safety of thousands of visitors who come to the pool and water park, and you can see why lifeguarding is a serious endeavor for Aquatics & Program Manager Desi Valdivia.
Valdivia holds her lifeguards to the highest of standards, and that strive for excellence has paid off with their first-ever StarGuard Elite rating from the Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI), a nationally recognized, certification agency.
The Community Center has received five-star ratings in the past after surprise audits. Last summer, they received their highest rating. In fact, the Community Center lifeguards were the only staff in the state to earn the Elite rating. Now, they are the first to earn it two years in a row.
Neither Valdivia nor her staff knows when the audits will take place. Once inspectors are on site, they assess the lifeguards on many different criteria. Are the lifeguards properly scanning the water as they were trained? Are they responsive when situations arise? Do they use proper technique and practices?
After back-to-back audits in June and July, the answers to those questions were a resounding “Yes.”
All of the Community Center’s lifeguards are now StarGuard Elite Lifeguards, since they all undergo the same training to become certified. The distinction means holding Valdivia and staff to an even higher level of standards and practices in the industry - a distinction Valdivia welcomes.
“The credit goes to the amazing lifeguards that put in the time and effort every summer,” said Valdivia, “Anthem residents are fortunate to have such capable and responsible young people watching over them while they enjoy the pool and water park.”
While lifeguarding is certainly serious work, there is also time for some fun. The staff forms close friendships during the summer and performs dance routines for pool guests. After all, when you’re at the pool and the sun is shining in the cloudless Arizona sky, how could you not have fun?
The Community Center offers SAI StarGuard Lifeguard certification classes each spring. Contact the front desk for information on upcoming classes.
For 11-14 year-olds, Junior Lifeguard camp is the perfect opportunity to see what it takes to be a lifeguard. Participants will shadow lifeguards and learn about aquatic safety, emergency and first aid protocol and teamwork. This program provides a wide array of information and starts developing skills early on.
Completion of the course does not guarantee employment with the Community Center.