I have to admit that I wasn't concerned when I first heard that (most) of the lifeguards at the Piney Orchards pools this summer barely spoke English. I thought, I really don't need to interact with them. They just need to do their job and everything will be fine. If they can save my kid from drowning, we're good.
There was some initial chatter on Facebook about it. Some people minded, others didn't. Some people thought the guards were nice and eager to please and others were frustrated with trying to communicate with them.
I'm not really sure why Piney Orchard needed to bring lifeguards in from overseas. I'm guessing it's a money issue. I know that foreign students come over to work in the beach resorts and it's become park of the charm. But I'm realizing that when it comes to my kids (and yours) I need to be able to get my point across or ask my guestion immediately, without an interpretor or resorting to some form of sign lanugage. I want to be able to say, "Hey, that kid is to big for the kiddie pool' or "The bathroom is filthy and needs to be cleaned" without being looked at with a blank stare.
Aren't there kids around here who would like a summer job? I've been here for six years and I don't remember ever having non-English speaking lifeguards. I feel like these guards don't have a sense of ownership about the pool either. There's a lack of a sense of pride that I've seen in the past at the pools. I remember the guards at my pool growing-up. We looked-up to them. We worshipped some of them. We wanted to be some of them. They came back year after year and you got excited to see them. I guess times have changed.
I'm all for these kids being able to come to the states to enjoy a summer, maybe work on their English and see the sites. I get it. More power to them. But watching over a crowded pool is not the place for someone who doesn't know the language. If you don't agree with me, that's fine. If you're having a great experience with the guards—that's awesome. Tell me about it. It's an open forum. But just remember it's my blog, so I'm always right.