By Sara Tischauser
New recreational facilities coordinator moved back to Green Bay area and is adjusting to her new position in Seymour.
Sara Rathsack grew up in Green Bay and graduated from Green Bay West in 1986. After graduation she headed to Arizona State University.
“[I] spent majority of my career out in Arizona,” Rathsack said. “But I was always looking to get back [to Green Bay area], but in recreation field there’s not a lot of jobs. Every community has like one [recreation job].”
Prior to taking the job in Seymour, Rathsack had been working in Illinois but had what she called a cabin in Green Bay. However, this summer she moved back to Green Bay and as she was looking for a job in the Green Bay area the position in Seymour showed up in her job search.
Rathsack started her position on Sept. 22 and so far said things are going well.
“I like working with the staff they’ve been very helpful,” Rathsack said. “I’m getting to know the students. I’m getting to know the members of the aquatic center, getting to know the lifeguards.”
One of the issues Rathsack said she has already identified is the need for lifeguards. She said currently they have 12 lifeguards and of these 12 lifeguards, three are adults that are able to work in the morning.
“Unfortunately this month and last month there were days we couldn’t even open because we didn’t have guards to open up,” Rathsack said. “Not enough coverage.”
Rathsack said they are limited to keeping their lifeguards under 30 hours a week because they are part-time employees. Currently, Rathsack said it is not in the budget to increase any of the positions to full-time as this would mean benefits have to be offered.
The lifeguard shortage is not unique to Seymour. Rathsack said she checked and Shawano, Pulaski and Green Bay are all having problems finding lifeguards.
Rathsack said she continues to try and find anyone (15 years old or older) who is interested in becoming a lifeguard.
Current lifeguard, Shar Agostine, said she is on her fourth year as a lifeguard. Agostine said she had been using the pool and has actually been certified three times to be a lifeguard but had never actually lifeguarded.
However, that changed when Agostine was worried about the future of the Seymour pool.
“They were going to close zero depth pool, because of lack of lifeguards,” Agostine said. “So many of people I swam with needed that pool.”
In order to keep the zero depth pool open Agostine decided to get ready for the lifeguard certification.
“I knew physically I could do lap swimming, but picking up 10 pound brick in 12 foot area [of pool] was hard,” Agostine said.
To prepare for the lifeguard certification, Agostine said she spent three weeks building up her lung capacity. Before taking the certification class, Agostine told people if she passed she would be a lifeguard. She passed her certification and became a lifeguard at the aquatic center.
Being a lifeguard fit in well for Agostine.
“It’s fun working with the kids, it keeps me young,” Agostine said. “It’s a perfect retirement job, pick my hours, pick my days. It’s a perfect job if you don’t need full-time work or benefits.”
Agostine said in order to keep pools open they do need more help, even if a person only wants to work one shift a week, she said it would greatly help out.
Rathsack said she would like to have 18-20 lifeguards on staff to adequately staff the pool and keep it open during the posted community hours.
In order to help those interested in being a lifeguard, Rathsack said they are offering a lifeguard certification class right in Seymour for those that want to be lifeguards at the Seymour Aquatic Center.
The class will be held in December and is open to those 15 years old and older who want to become a lifeguard and work at the aquatic center. Rathsack said the class is limited to 10 people and the district will pay for the course for participants as long the participant agrees to work a minimum of 20 hours lifeguarding at the aquatic center over the course of the year.
The class, Rathsack said will be the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Course and will be seven hours a day for four days. The first part of the training will be online training and the rest of the class will be hosted at the aquatic center and in the pool.
Rathsack said the class is free to those interested. She said the hope is that those who take the class will come back and lifeguard at the aquatic center for a year if possible.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the class or signing up to take it should contact Rathsack at (920) 833-9704.
“We are also thinking of offering a Shallow Water Lifeguarding Certification that doesn’t require the 12 foot brick dive for those who may only want to work in the therapy pool,” Rathsack said.
Once Rathsack gets to know how everything is working at the aquatic and fitness centers and she has enough lifeguards to keep the pool staffed, she is hoping to look at programming.
“Kind of getting a how things are run right now,” Rathsack said. “Asking a lot of questions and hopefully because school has such great facilities eventually once I understand how they are all being used will have additional programming for the students and citizens in the school district.”
Currently the aquatic center is open to the public from 5:30 a.m. to noon and then reopens after school from 3-8 p.m. (but this could change depending if the swimming team is using the pool) Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. However, this can change depending on the lifeguard availability. The most current schedule for the pool can be found at https://www.seymour.k12.wi.us/community/pool-calendars.cfm. People can also call (920) 833-9704 to see if the pool is open.
The fitness center is open from 5-6:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 5-6:30 a.m., noon-1 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 5-6:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday; and 7-10 a.m. on Saturday. The afternoon times for the fitness center are 6-8 p.m. when school is not in session.
Rathsack said some people in the community may not realize everything the aquatic center has to offer.
“I think what people don’t realize we have is that therapy pool,” Rathsack said. “Zero entry therapy pool. Anyone has just an injury, aches and pains getting the water therapy is so good. If people aren’t aware of that out in the community come give it a try, water temp and air temperature are 91-92 degrees.”
There are also classes offered if people are interested. Rates and class information can be found at https://www.seymour.k12.wi.us/community/index.cfm. There are resident and non-resident rates available. A resident is anyone who pays taxes to the school district.