The weather outside might be frightful, but finding would-be lifeguards for the 2013 swim season would be just delightful for at least one city official.
Outdoor temperatures might be hovering in the teens and lower 20s, but that doesn't mean area students and adults can't turn their attentions to sunnier -- and warmer -- times.
So says Lee Spitzer, Upper Arlington's aquatics and parks facilities manager, who currently is recruiting high school and college students, as well as adults, to serve as lifeguards for the upcoming swim season at the city's three public pools.
"Even though we're basically a spring-summer operation, it's pretty much a year-round process," Spitzer said last week. "We're recruiting both high school and college students, as well as adults who want to be lifeguards.
"I start my recruiting in January and February every year."
Although the hunt for lifeguards is an annual rite of winter, Spitzer said the early efforts are more imperative now that all state colleges and universities have gone to semester systems in which classes begin in August.
Last year was the first year for the switch, and it put an unexpected crunch on Upper Arlington's lifeguard staffing.
Spitzer said he was fortunate to find 11 adult lifeguards during last year's swim season to fill the gap, and their additions provided an unexpected boost to both personnel and professionalism.
"Last year, that was the first time that happened," he said. "I think we may have been the only community that had to reach out to the adult community.
"It was very positive for us and it was very positive for our high school staff. The younger staff learned from the adults and the adults learned from our younger staff."
Upper Arlington's public swimming pools are slated to open May 25.
In the meantime, Spitzer wants to hire approximately 60 regular lifeguards and up to another 30 who can serve on a substitute basis.
Additionally, he's recruiting water safety instructors to teach swimming lessons and serve as lifeguards.
"I start the interviewing process probably in the latter part of February, first part of March," he said.
Applicants must be at least 15 years old and have lifeguard certification, as well as certification in both first aid and CPR.
Employment applications and information about becoming a lifeguard or water safety instructor, as well as how to obtain proper certification for those posts, can be obtained by contacting the Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department at (614) 583-5300, or by visiting the department at the city's Municipal Services Center,3600 Tremont Road.
Applications also are available on the city's website, uaoh.net.
"We have a graduated (pay) scale based on experience and years of service (in Upper Arlington)," Spitzer said. "Currently, lifeguards start at $8.60 per hour and they top out at $9.97 an hour. For instructors, the range is $8.85 to $10.26 (per hour)."
In addition to an interview, selected applicants are required to undergo an employment orientation, which includes being introduced to city and parks and recreation department policies and procedures.
Additionally, they must complete a water skills test.
However, Spitzer promised the water skills test isn't administered until spring.
"We wait until about a week before we're open for the season," he said. "We don't make them take a Polar Bear dip."
Lifeguard and water instructor positions aren't limited to city residents, he said.
"I'm looking for quality people who want to work and are certified to be lifeguards," Spitzer said. "It is a fun, rewarding job because you're really giving back to the community. You're there for the safety of our patrons.
"There are worse things than being outdoors sitting in the sun and enjoying yourself."