Morgan Godfrey is the head lifeguard at Copper Sky. He helps make sure things run smoothly, everyone makes it to their shift and everything is ready for the pool guests.
He was a lifeguard for two years and he's currently finishing up his first year as head lifeguard. He wants others to join him this summer to make sure that everyone has fun in the Copper Sky pool while staying safe.
The lifeguarding course at Copper Sky is for teens ages 16 and up from May 12-14. On Thursday and Friday, the class is from 4-8 p.m. and on Saturday it's from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
It's a StarGuard certification that focuses on first aid and CPR/AED training, patron rescue and surveillance skills. This course teaches with a hands-on approach and those taking it must pass a water skills screening.
Godfrey says the program involves a lot of work and challenges people's beliefs in lifeguarding as being more than just sitting in a chair and watching people swim.
This course goes through the basics of how to stay safe such as keeping the patrons and themselves safe during rescues and other types of scenarios and more.
It costs about $50 to take the course, which covers the CPR and lifeguard training and if they pass the class, it helps them secure an interview at Copper Sky.
Those with their CPR training can help out around the whole facility if needed since anything can happen wherever. This can also be a useful skill for the teens outside of the facility as well.
"I say it's important to take this because it helps you help others in the instance that you do come across a situation where something does happen and someone needs help," Godfrey said.
For the hands-on approach, they have two manikins for in-water and practice dummies for on land. On land, they practice chest compressions, CPR and more. In the water, the rescue dummies are tossed into the pool for the teens to rescue, put them on the lifeguard tube and extract them from the water.
The water screening portion of the training is to make sure they can swim. The teens will swim free style or breaststroke. They need to have the capability and stamina to complete the 50 meters.
They'll do a swim without a tube and then with a tube, so they can experience the difference.
The teens work on extracting people from the water and see whether they can help extract or fully extract someone.
At Copper Sky, they have around three maximum lifeguards on shift during an off season. During the summer, there's about 12-13. They have those extra lifeguards to ensure they each get enough of a break, so they don't suffer from heatstroke or exhaustion.
Godfrey's favorite part about his job is interacting with the guests and patrons.
"At the end of the day, I can just sit back and think I feel good about what I'm doing," he said. "I can feel confident that I did my job to the best of my ability and everyone remains safe throughout their duration of the shift."
For the teens to potentially be hired at Copper Sky, they get registered for the lifeguard course, then complete an online portion. It's a "blended course," meaning 16 hours online and the other 16 hours being in-person. The online portion should "theoretically" be done before the in-person.
Once everything is completed and they pass the course, they get the chance to be interviewed.
Godfrey encourages those who want to participate in the lifeguarding program to prepare their mentality and mindset so they can sooner face the reality of being a lifeguard. Anything can happen at anytime and it's a job not to be taken lightly or as a joke.
For the teens doing lifeguarding, he and the other head guards will help make sure they're drinking plenty of water and wearing plenty of sunscreen. Once they take the lifeguarding course and are hired, they'll be provided with protective gear such as hats, sunglasses and special shirts.
He wants them to let supervisors know if they're not feeling OK.
"If a community feels safe, I feel they're more likely going to have fun and be able to enjoy it because they can be like, 'oh, I'm in good hands. I can sit back, relax, have a little bit of fun,' and I think that's a big part of what Copper Sky Aquatics is really about," Godfrey said. "Once we ensure they're safe, we'll have a positive and uplifting community that people can gather with and have fun with each other."
He said the environment working at Copper Sky is everyone knows everyone from somewhere or even if you're new, it's easy to get to know the staff. It's camaraderie and like a family and it's something by which they "push out" into the community, so they feel involved.