By Cathy DeDe & Hannah Hughes, Managing Editor & Summer Staff
Glens Falls has enough lifeguards, and its Haviland’s Cove beach on the Hudson River is open full-time — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, interim Recreation Director Amy Collins told The Chronicle. “Our new aquatics director Mia Cote is a Glens Falls graduate and was a swimmer at St. Bonaventure. She’s done a wonderful job of recruiting and keeping lifeguards,” Ms. Collins said.
Across the river, for lack of sufficient lifeguard staffing, Moreau’s Sandbar Beach is open only Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Staffing is limited this year which has required us to cut back the number of hours that we staff the beach,” Town Supervisor Todd Kusnierz told The Chronicle.
Mr. Kusnierz indicated the town was only able to hire three of the five lifeguards necessary to operate seven days. reported The Post-Star.
In Glens Falls, Ms. Collins said, “What we did, we participated in the job fairs at local schools, held through the Warren County Workforce Development. We never were involved in that before, but because of the scarcity of lifeguards, and you’re competing against so many factors, we tried it this year,” Ms. Collins said.
She said the City offered a $100 bonus incentive to any returning lifeguard who recruited a friend to lifeguard — “if they work through the end of the season.”
“We had to be creative,” said Ms. Collins. “These job fairs at Queensbury High School; Lake George, where they had five schools; and Glens Falls, we were extraordinarily well received.”
It was a big-time commitment to attend all three, Ms. Collins said, especially with her rec staff of just one, “but it worked. We’re gonna be a part of it again.”
Ms. Cote, a 2017 Glens Falls grad and standout swimmer, said that last year they had just five lifeguards. “This year we have 10, full time. With the young staff we have, including six newbies, it’s very promising for the future. We need 5-6 at the Cove, and 3-4 at the [East Field] pool every day.”
Lessons at GF school pool
Haviland’s Cove was closed last year when the river level was lowered for work on the dam upstream. In 2021, it was open limited hours and only to Warren County residents, Ms. Collins said, because of the pandemic.
The pool at East Field is open regular hours, but was closed as of Monday, due to mechanical issues.
Last year, when Haviland’s Cove was closed, the City moved swim lessons to the Glens Falls High School pool.
Ms. Collins said they decided they prefer that arrangement. She said she hopes to expand the swim lesson program, potentially to adults as well. “We see swimming as a life skill for everyone.”
Ms. Cote reports they had 18 students in the first swim session, and 16 signed up for the second session that opened on Monday, “which is very good.”
There’s still time to sign up, through the Recreation Department on the City Website. Sesson 3 opens on July 24. Levels range from beginner basics to advanced techniques and swim practice.
Ms. Cote said the beach and pool will likely remain open through the last weeks of August, when many of her staff will return to college. She’d also still hire more lifeguards, should any apply.
In Moreau, to keep the three lifeguards they have, the town board raised the pay of the two senior lifeguards to $16.23 per hour and the regular lifeguard to $15.50 — and “awarded a one-time stipend of $850 to the regular life guard, and $950 to each of the two senior lifeguards upon completion of service in good standing, through Aug. 21,” wrote The Post-Star.
Moreau is also offering “up to $150 to certify any individual who wants to become a lifeguard or to be recertified,” Mr. Kusnierz told The Chronicle. He stressed the importance of lifeguards. “We’ve had at least one instance since I’ve been supervisor where lifeguards were able to save a youngster,” Mr. Kusnierz said.
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