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It's Time for all Lifeguards to Educate the Public
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Post It's Time for all Lifeguards to Educate the Public Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:22 pm
I have an idea that I have already spoken with a number of other lifeguards from numerous fields throughout the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corp. I think we can get positive results in a 'grass roots' manner.

I am suggesting we hand out one-page photocopies, stating a few facts. No opinions!!!!! Just educate the public. The public can form their own opinions. We include a few key phone numbers of whom they might call, should they choose to do so. I would be open to suggestions (governor, various elected officials, park superintendants, etc...???)

We need to educate the public about the current beach closings, the current parking field closings, the difference in the number of lifeguards working in 2008 versus 2009, and the difference in the actual number of 'man hours'. Other facts of importance should also be included. We can brainstorm.

The public is being denied the use of facilities. The public is being shorted, when it comes to the number of lifeguard eyeballs protecting them while they swim. It bothers me that the information has not truly gotten out there to the public. It is part of our job to educate the public.

It also bothers me that there is NEVER any public recognition of the JBLC. We are making the administrators, water safety officials, park superintendants, state officials, and of course ourselves look great with our stellar track record of protecting the public. They should be reading this, and be EMBARRASED that they have not gotten themselves on the TV news, and in newspapers praising our efforts. NOTHING!!!! NO Recognition!!! What type of leader, administrator, and management does not publicly acknowledge employee behavior that goes 'above and beyond' the call. It should be part of what they do EACH SUMMER.

Your Principal acknowledges your good work as a teacher. Mayors, Police/Fire Commissioners, Public officials hold press conferences after major events, commending their employees. But guess what?! It doesn't happen at the New York State Department of Parks, Long Island Region. How can you be part of management and not understand this concept???

I worked two extra hours this past Sunday. I made $30 extra dollars. After taxes, maybe I keep $20. I had ABSOLUTELTY NO DESIRE to stay and work. It was time to go home. Same with many of you. Or maybe you just had to be someplace else. But I stayed and worked. WHY????? The same reason as many of you. We wanted to make sure the water was kept open to the public. We wanted to help our Captains, Lieutenants, and Boatswains, who asked us to do them a favor. We wanted to help our crew, because we knew if we went home, our fellow crew mate would be sitting single, instead of double, watching water on the most crowded day of the summer. Or maybe, the beach officer would need to close parts of the beach, and then have the same amount of swimmers…. being watched by LESS Lifeguards…. in a denser waterfront. We will not let our officers, our colleagues, or the public down.

Lifeguard crews are working shorthanded at every park, on every crew, due to the State administrators recession decisions to close beaches, hire less overall lifeguards, and allow less ‘man-hours’ of work time. However there were RECORD AUGUST CROWDS last weekend and a RECORD AMOUNT OF SAVES throughout EVERY beachfront in the weeks prior. The Jones Beach Lifeguard Corp. lifeguards have not gotten any public acknowledgment. Maybe nobody wants to draw attention the fact that they are closing public parks. Either way, Shame on them!!!! The fact that they made a decision to close public parks, should not preclude them from doing their job of acknowledging our great work.

Getting back to the one page educational flyer. We can print them anywhere for minimal cost. I am suggesting that someone from each crew, print up the attached flyer. If you are reading this, spend $5 and print up 50-100. We can begin handing these out this weekend, as the huge crowds are still at the beaches. The patrons will probably get to see us making more saves, or we will be keeping them out of the Hurricane water, and preventing potential drownings. Either way, we will be earning their gratitude and respect. If this goes well, we can continue this grass roots educational effort into next season.

I suggest we print this flyer( or something similar), possibly adding some FACTS (not opinions) about your local work facility, and hand them out with a smile on our faces. Speak to the patrons and let’s begin an ongoing educational campaign

2009_Beach_Flyer.pdf [74.54 KiB]
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Post Re: It's Time for all Lifeguards to Educate the Public Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:35 pm
Great idea. I went down to the Central Mall on August 4th for the Jones Beach 80th birthday. I heard about it at the last minute and made a few calls. We had Al McGill, Bob Burkley, Jay O'Neill, Reggie Jones and myself.
The Park administration made a large cake with the Water Tower on it and Chip Gorman, Sue Guilianni, and Ron Foley spoke. They thanked the Coast Guard reps who they had invited, the various volunteer groups who were invited, the maintainance staff, basically everyone who does their jobs EXCEPT the lifeguards who weren't invited but showed up anyway! The 4 lifeguards present had over 250 years of service to the Park administration, yet no one acknowledged these guards or mentioned the stellar job the lifeguards at ALL the park facilities have been doing ALL summer long (One of the busiest on record!).
Greg Woods the Central Mall Captain wasn't invited, but he made it over to see what was going on and got a piece of cake. I guess the lifeguards were all too busy saving lives! As usual they were doing MORE with much LESS, and still no RAISE or RETRO after a mere 8 years of waiting! Overlooked and underappreciated still.

Oh I forgot that's our fault for trying to decertify from NYSCOPBA after years of no representation. What is the Executive Board view on this?
Post Re: It's Time for all Lifeguards to Educate the Public Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:04 pm
Mike and Jim,

Just to validate what Jim spoke about. Last year was the 100th celebration of Robert Moses State Park. Being that we, the guards were on duty protecting the public and unable to attend the ceremony up at our newly refurbished concession, showers, bathrooms, first aid, and even the gift shop. A lot of our wives and or girl friends made their way up for the ceremony. They returned in disbelief, and with looks of anger on their faces. Asking what was the matter, my wife explained that they left, due to the fact that all groups of employees were thanked except US, the lifeguards. By the way we have a shower in the back of the building which this summer is so disgusting and not useable. You would think, that they (The State) could have redone it after spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not a million on the facilities mentioned above.
Post Re: It's Time for all Lifeguards to Educate the Public Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:11 am
Hey maybe our Union president can approach Ron Foley, Chip Gorman and Betsy and suggest an End Of Season THANK-YOU! Party for the lifeguards to show New York States appreciation of the Stellar Job the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps provided the citizens of New York with for the 2009 season?

We could have a cake and get some appreciation from the Park Administration for the GREAT job we all did under very adverse conditions due to budgetary constraints. Might be a way to prepare for next years MEGA-Reunion?
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