SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –The weather is warmer and school is almost out for the summer, which has kids counting down the days until the pools open for the summer.

In tonight’s Your Money Matters, what staffing looks like at Sioux Falls’ public pools as we head towards summer.

After a winter of historic snowfall…

“Winter was long, it was like six full months, it seemed like forever,” Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Aquatics Program Coordinator Jean Pearson said.

…summer is more enticing than ever for people all over KELOLAND.

“We’re really excited to get going the kids are itching to get going, we had our first training last night,” Pearson said.

Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation is a little more than two weeks away from opening day for the outdoor pools, but the city is already training staff.

“Our primary focus is really prepping for the outdoor pools, working on skills, refreshing those skills, starting on Memorial Day, all of the guards will be at their home pool, they’ll be training all week up until opening day on Friday, June 2nd,” Pearson said.

Since the pandemic hit, Sioux Falls pools struggled to find enough staff, but this year, they’re turning a corner.

“I’ve got all of my positions filled,” Pearson said. “We’ve been very, very fortunate that we’ve got a lot of people that want to come and work for parks and recreation this summer and give back to their community in a positive way.”

Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation has had an easier time filling their lifeguard chairs this year largely thanks to an increase in pay.

“We know in order to fill these spots we have to be competitive with everybody else because we’re all kind of hiring the same group of kids, young people know that and they’re shopping, we’re trying to figure out the best job for them,” Pearson said.

Starting pay for lifeguards is now at $16.48 an hour; if they work 40 hours a week for the 11-week outdoor pool season, Pearson says Sioux Falls lifeguards can make nearly $10,000 working, while still enjoying their summer.

“We’ve had to be creative in how we schedule these kids so they can do the things they want to in the summer, but also still make some money,” Pearson said.

Sioux Falls outdoor pools officially open to the public on Friday, June 2nd, as long as the weather cooperates. You will see lifeguards out training at the pools starting after Memorial Day.