Monday, June 27, 2005
Gov. M. Jodi Rell today issued an urgent appeal for people to apply for unfilled lifeguard positions at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.
Rell’s call, in a statement issued by her office, followed a report Sunday in The Advocate of Stamford/Norwalk saying only four out of 10 full-time lifeguard positions as the park have been filled.
“With the busy Fourth of July weekend coming up and with Connecticut in the grips of a heat wave, I am making a special appeal for all interested parties to call our State Parks line at (860) 424-3200 to get more information on how they can work as lifeguards at Sherwood Island,” Rell said.
“If you are looking for a meaningful summer job that will allow you to work in one our most beautiful state parks, this is the job for you.
“For more information on Connecticut state parks, I urge the public to visit our Department of Environmental Protection Web site at www.dep.state.ct.us/stateparks.”
The Governor also said that a notice about her special appeal for Sherwood Island lifeguards will be posted on the state’s Web site, www.ct.gov , which receives thousands of hits a day.
Rell noted that the shortage of lifeguards will not result in a shutdown of the park. Notices are posted warning beachgoers in advance of the lack of lifeguards, and park aides and conservation officers patrol the beach to monitor the water.
Posted 06/27/05 at 09:49 PM Permalink
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There are now no lifeguards employed at the park, the remaining ones resigned due to lies from park management about salary which included a guard who was promoted to assistant beach director while their salary was decreased by 50 cents. Also a general apathy from park management contributed to them leaving along with insufficient and poor equipment which put patrons at risk because the guards weren’t given the quality equipment and resources needed to help them in case of an emergency. It was made clear by the park that they didn’t care about the life-guarding program and had no interest in seeing it succeed in the future. The guards resigned because they had moral and ethical standards of how a life-guarding program should be operated and the park was unwilling to bring itself to the level of that standard. The parks flagrant disrespect and manipulation of its employees made it a poor work environment where the employees could not trust the park management. Sherwood could learn a thing or too from beaches such as Compo and Calf Pasture.
There is a reason why a staff of 13 full time guards chose not to return, and why the ones who did return chose to resign. Prehaps if the park had taken more care in establishing a good working relationship with its staff instead of reamaining apathetic and arrogant this problem would not exist.
Prehaps Gov. Rell should come visit the island and see what its like…then maybe the state would realize why nobody wants to work there. Lack of equipment such as warped back boards, broken rescue surf boards, no working radios,a bare minimun of first aid supplies, and a managment system that betrays its employees and tries to squeeze as much work out of them for as litle money as possible are only some of the problems at Sherwood Island. People see the island say to themselves why work there when I can guard at a beach with cutting edge equipment, high salary, and most important of all respect and encouragment…
It saddens me that what used to be such a strong guarding program has been reduced to this…