Pool Summer Season Runs June 23 Thriugh August 20
District Increases Youth Aquatics Opportunities to Build Pipeline for Future Guards
The Chicago Park District is proud to announce the opening of neighborhood park pools for the start of the 2023 summer aquatics season. Last week, Park District facilities crews began filling and testing its indoor and outdoor pools across the city to address any mechanical maintenance or repairs that may be needed in anticipation of the June 23rd opening.
After the successful launch of the “Your Perfect Summer Job” hiring campaign, the Park District received a total of 1972 lifeguard applications, double the number received during this time last year. Final hiring steps, including required training, will be completed this week. To date, the District has 650 lifeguards, which include shallow water attendants that support and assist lifeguards in shallow pool areas.
“It was imperative to launch our hiring campaign early, offer job incentives and do everything possible to attract lifeguards to open all beaches and pools for Chicago families and visitors. The Parks team has worked non-stop to attract lifeguards and make this announcement possible.” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño. “Highly trained lifeguards are vital keeping the city’s beaches and park pools safe. We are extremely grateful to and proud of the skilled swimmers who answered our call to become Chicago lifeguards. Our young people deserve all of our respect and they should take pride in being a part of one of the largest and best trained aquatics programs in the country.”
In alignment with the start of Summer Day Camp, which begins Monday, June 26th, pools will be open five (5) days a week with hours varying by location – either 9am to 5pm or 11am to 7pm depending on the needs of that community. Days of operation for each pool will be guided by historic community usage, park hours and staff capacity.
In addition, our pools will welcome summer day campers that will visit their local pool on day trips. Outdoor pools will close for the season on Sunday August 20, in advance of the start of the Chicago Public Schools academic year on August 21.
“Our neighborhood pools serve swimmers of all ages and walks of life,” explained Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño. “In the summer, these facilities provide respite for the hot temperatures and offer aquatic programming for all ages, and we must do everything possible to meet the needs of the communities that use our facilities citywide.”
Patrons should visit the Park District’s website or contact the individual park for pool hours. Pool schedules will be available on the Park District website by 9am on Friday, June 23. As always, safety is a priority and occasional closures may occur due to mechanical or health and safety issues. Pool openings at Blackhawk Park, 2318 N. Lavergne and Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield will be temporarily delayed due to mechanical issues. The Harris Park pool, 6200 S. Drexel is undergoing extensive renovations and will remain closed for the duration of the season.
The Park District provided a series of incentives for interested lifeguard candidates to encourage them to complete the onboarding process. These incentives included a one-time $600 retention bonus, a relaxed residency requirement, opportunities for year-round employment, and chances to win tickets to Chicago Fire FC soccer home games, a pair of tickets to Six Flags Great America, a one-day pass to Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival, and an annual Divvy bike/scooter membership.
Also, early in 2023, the Park District launched several initiatives to pave the way for a safe and enjoyable summer at Park District beaches and pools. Including the elimination of the $85 cost of the required specialty certification for potential lifeguards, a $375 stipend to attend a new Waterfront Lifeguard Training Academy, opportunities for year-round employment with the Park District, and paid three-day safety operations trainings for new lifeguards contributed to the success of the Park District’s “Your Perfect Summer Job” hiring campaign efforts.
This year, the Park District is also taking additional steps to strengthen the Aquatics program and enhance public safety, now and into the future. These measures include hiring 30 new Beach Safety Ambassadors trained on first aid and CPR which will monitor all beaches for on-land emergencies to have additional safety supports at busier beach locations. The District is also ramping up efforts to build a pipeline for future lifeguards by hiring 50 aquatics interns and providing practical training for participants, ages 8 to 15 through Junior Lifeguards. This Summer, more than 550 participants have registered for the program an important milestone to build the lifeguard workforce following the post-pandemic shortage.
Throughout the campaign, the Park District worked very closely with Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Charter School Network, parochial schools, Chicago Community Colleges, the American Red Cross, and USA Swimming to host job fairs, water safety clinics and lifesaving and emergency trainings focused on introducing the lifeguard employment opportunity to young adults.
Opening the city’s 22 beaches was the first phase of the beaches and pools season. Beaches are staffed and open daily, from 11am to 7pm, through Labor Day, Monday, September 4. Beach goers can also access information on swim status by checking the flags at each beach and by visiting www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/beaches.
Admission to Chicago’s beaches and park pools is free. For a list of locations or for more information, visit the Park District website at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/beaches.
Currently, more than 200 water spray features are being turned on and will all be ready for use by June 23. To find a Water Spray Feature, click here.