Over the course of my time as an elected official, I expect to have a fair number of issues that call for the utmost in persistence and perseverance. These issues are often complex with many aspects to them. Then there are other issues that you might think are fairly straight forward, but they’re not. Take, for example, the opening of Sunset Lake to the public for swimming in the summer months.
Not long after I became mayor in August 2011, we had heavy flooding that blew out portions of the road and raceway in City Park with the end result being that Sunset Lake completely drained out. Making the necessary repairs to the road and the raceway cost a small fortune and it involved the Army Corp of Engineers, the DEP and countless officials up and down the food chain we call government. All of it—from assembling the funding to setting forth plans, getting permits and approvals, and actually completing the work—took roughly four years, but we got it done.
It was a joyous day when we cut the ribbon on Sunset Lake and afterwards, it was all about how quickly Sunset Lake would fill and much to our delight, the lake was full in a few weeks. After that, the focus shifted to water quality.
The hope was that the dormant period for the lake might help improve the water quality and it did, to a degree. We worked with Stockton University’s Environmental Sciences Department, Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station’s Cooperative Extension Program, and the Cohansey Area Watershed Association to identify causes. We also installed aerator devices, and water quality has improved.
The issue that’s proved to be the most challenging is finding and keeping enough lifeguards. You would think that this would be the easy part, but it’s not. For one thing, it isn’t enough to be a good swimmer, lifeguards need certifications specific to lakefronts. Beyond that, there’s CPR, along with AED, which stands for automatic external defibrillator. Finally, a successful candidate must have the ability to administer first aid, maintain rescue equipment, enforce swimming regulations, remain calm during a rescue, and report hazardous conditions.
All of that is to say that Bridgeton is seeking lifeguards for summer of 2020. If you have the certifications already, please contact our Parks and Recreation Department at 856-453-1675 to get more information and find out how to apply. If you don’t have the certifications but would consider getting certified, the City of Bridgeton is completing steps to cover costs and reimburse candidates who complete the courses to serve as lifeguards at Sunset Lake. We will be paying competitive wages to our lifeguards.
The Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA is offering prep classes starting this month and going through spring. The course includes all the up-to-date course/materials for lifeguard, first aid, CPR and AED certifications. The YMCA will hold practice sessions and to improve skills and/or complete the pre-screening skills requirement this month.
Individuals who complete the pre-requisite swimming skills will be able to sign up for the Lifeguard Training Course. Prospective lifeguards will need proof of age (i.e., must be 15 before last day of registered course date), a bathing suit and towel. All classes will be held at the Y, except for one per course at the Holly City Family Center in Millville. Approximate times for classes will be 12 noon to 6 p.m.
Course 1 is offered on February 22 and 29, March 7, 14, and possibly 21. Participants must register by February 15. Course 2 will be offered on April 25, May 2, 9, and 16 and registration for Course 2 must be by April 18. The fees are $190 for members and $245 for nonmembers and 100 percent attendance is required for all dates.
Working as a lifeguard fits well with a high schooler’s schedule. Once certified, you would have the opportunity to work at Sunset Lake until you leave for college. For details, contact Mary Desjardins firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about working at Sunset Lake: 856-451-1675.