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Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is hosting its second annual Philly Phreeze event to raise money for recruiting lifeguards for the summer pool season.
The Philly Phreeze is looking for 500 Philadelphians willing to take a plunge into the frigid Kelly Pool on February 24.
During a news conference Wednesday, Parks and Rec Commissioner Orlando Rendon said the event will allow the city to host “tropical vacations” for residents within the city.
“Not every family can make it to the shore or can afford a private swim club every summer, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to have their oasis here too,” Rendon said. “Everyone who jumps will help raise the funds. We need to offer many tropical getaways amid the urban landscape.”
Water Safety Instructor Will Coleman said recruiting lifeguards ensures lives can be saved.
“Swimming is an important life skill,” Coleman said. “It is great exercise and a stress reliever, but most importantly, knowing how to swim is a safety precaution that can save your life and the lives of others.”
Parks and Rec aims to recruit 400 lifeguards this year, an increase from the 366 who worked last year. Those interested in being a lifeguard must pass the screening, which requires candidates to swim 300 meters nonstop, tread water for two minutes, and retrieve a 10-pound brick from the bottom of the deep end.
Any lifeguard who submits a completed application by April 15 and works throughout the summer will receive a $1,000 end-of-season bonus. Candidates who submit a completed application by May 15 will be eligible for a $500 bonus. Application fees are also waived for anyone aged 24 or younger. Lifeguards make $16 to $18 an hour.
Free Red Cross certification classes are available for ages 16 to 24 who commit to working at a city pool. The Red Cross lifeguard certification course fee is $110 for all other candidates.
All funds raised through Philly Phreeze will support Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Aquatics Programming, including expanding Swim for Life summer camps, the SwimPhilly program, aqua zumba and water aerobics classes, adult swim lessons, junior lifeguarding programs, pop-up pool parties and more.
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