News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, May 31, 2019

You Had One Job, RA: Lifeguard Shortage Could Lead to Hellish, Dystopian Future Of Slightly Fewer Pools, Golf Courses, Other Nice Things We Can No Longer Have

Despite the funky architecture in the background, not an actual RA pool.

Over the unofficial first weekend of summer, several Reston Association pools either didn't open or were forced to close. Not to worry, because Memorial Day weekend isn't traditionally a big time for pool-going, but somehow people who pay $693 in annual dues and another $28 for pool passes noticed. What a bunch of whiners! Give us some apologetic blockquote, BFFs at the RA:

Most of the closings were related to a shortage of lifeguards to staff all of RA’s 15 outdoor pools. Some lifeguards called in sick. Additional problems were related to equipment failures and vandalism.

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the closing of some pools last weekend,” said the association’s CEO, Hank Lynch. “Like many community and recreational associations in our area, RA is trying to meet the challenge of hiring staff for various summertime positions. With the unanticipated shortage of lifeguards creating a potential safety issue, we felt the most prudent thing to do was to close some pools and invite folks, through our social media channels, to visit one of our several other pools that remained open through the weekend.”

Luckily, it's a week later, so those wacky sitcom mixups have all been addressed. Right?

Oh, wait. By our count, nearly half of RA pools -- 7 of 15 -- will be closed either Saturday or Sunday. Two -- Golf Course Island and Shadowood -- will be closed both days. The RA is working to hire more lifeguards -- they held a job fair on Thursday and have another one scheduled for June 13. According to our BFFs at Reston Now, they've only received 156 applications for 200 full-time lifeguard positions to date, so you can see the isssue. You can apply for a job yourself if you want! Give us some blockquote about those entitled Kids Today, what with their avocado toasts and Tide Pods and whatnot:

“There are many competing opportunities for summer employment in this area to include summer internships, family schedules and vacations, restaurants, other services and with growth in the area other summer jobs are available at a higher salary. Ten years ago, this was not the case, a lifeguarding job was sought out with our roster filled and substitutes waiting for an opportunity for a full time role,” Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications, marketing and member services wrote in a statement to Reston Now.
It's almost as if this long-evolving issue could have been anticipated before Memorial Day. Almost.

Complaining about not being able to go to the nearest swimming pool when there are 14 others you have access to within a short walk or drive is, of course, a First World Planned Community Problem. The problem is that, after past battles to close less-attended pools (looking at you, Tall Oaks), this provides ammunition to "rightsize" more than just a couple of the smallest pools, just like we're hearing arguments, for obviously different reasons, about rightsizing our way out of golf courses that Those Kids Today can't look up from their Snapchats long enough to play a full round at. And yes, you can make the argument that Reston might not need two full-size golf courses (though it definitely needs the open space), or that it doesn't need 15 pools, some of which are small and dated. But at some point, we run the risk of rightsizing our way out of the kinds of amenities that made people want to come to Reston in the first place, and not all the cornhole boards and fire pits in the world will take their place, thanks for coming to our Ted Talk, the end.

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