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RACINE – The Racine Family YMCA is boosting the pay and benefits for lifeguards at the SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center. The facility, located in Pritchard Park, 2800 Ohio St., has been closed for much of the summer because of ongoing staffing shortages.

YMCA lifeguard pay
A lifeguard shortage has sharply cut the operating hours at the SC Johnson Aquatic Center this summer. – Credit: Paul Holley

Ahmad Qawi, the YMCA’s president/CEO, announced via Facebook this week that Racine County and SC Johnson – A Family Company have “generously provided additional support to enable the Racine Family YMCA to update our benefits package for any lifeguard that works at the SC Johnson Aquatic Center.”

New pay rate, benefits for YMCA lifeguards

The new pay rate for Aquatic Center lifeguards will be $15 per hour. Starting pay had previously been $10 per hour. The hourly pay rate brings the Aquatic Center in line with the minimum wage for all City of Racine employees and for Racine County full-time employees.

Other benefits include paid American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification training, paid on-the-job training, free meals during work shifts, free Y membership and a $500 retention bonus.

Prospective lifeguards must be at least 15 years old, complete the 25-hour Red Cross training and successfully pass an exam. The Red Cross Lifeguard Certification is valid for two years before renewal.

The next certification course for SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center lifeguards begins this Sunday (July 17). To register, call 262-898-4551 or email:

The SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center opened in 2018. Constructed with a $6.5 million donation from SC Johnson – A Family Company, the facility is owned by Racine County and managed by the Racine Family YMCA.

Qawi told the Racine County Eye earlier this month that the facility uses 15 lifeguards when fully staffed, but a shortage of trained lifeguards – both nationally and locally – has sharply cut into the hours that the Aquatic Center can be open each week.

Aquatic Center users have been asked to consult the facility’s Facebook page for day-to-day operating hours. The page shows the Aquatic Center was open on Monday and Tuesday of this week and closed on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...