DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s one of the most visited spots in north Alabama every summer, but now, Point Mallard Water Park says they need more workers in order to make a splash this season.
Point Mallard Park has hired fewer than half the employees — typically teenagers — it needs for the summer season that starts in a month, a deficiency that could disrupt operations and likely has its roots in the pandemic.
Parks and Recreation Director Jason Lake said the department has hired 160 out of the needed 400 temporary summer employees, and the season opens on Memorial Day weekend at the end of May.
Lake said the department particularly needs lifeguards for Point Mallard and for the Aquadome and the recreation centers’ swimming pools. So far, only 60 of the 150 lifeguards needed for the summer have been hired, Lake said.
“We usually hire most of our lifeguards earlier because they need a lot more training,” Lake said.
Park Manager Stephanie McLain said lifeguards “are the most critical need” but they’re still short in other positions throughout the park that are usually filled by now.
“We’re not getting the same number of applications that we usually get, but everybody that’s hiring right now is having the same problem,” McLain said.
McLain said a big issue is “we don’t have the returning employees because we didn’t open last year.” The coronavirus pandemic prevented the city from opening the wave pool park in what was supposed to be its 50th anniversary season in 2020.
The park is advertising heavily for applications and season ticket sales at the same time.
“We’ve put our yard signs out everywhere,” McLain said.
She said she is also working with Decatur City and Morgan County school systems and their career counselors to reach the teenagers who could fill out their workforce. However, McLain said she and her staff aren’t able to go to the high schools to do in-person recruiting because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Angela Cushing, Decatur City Schools career counselor for grades 8 through 12, said the school system is trying to help Point Mallard find employees. She’s still waiting for approval to put out the park’s recruiting yard signs on the Austin and Decatur high schools’ campuses.
Cushing said she sent emails promoting Point Mallard’s need for employees to all sophomores, juniors and seniors.
They’re pretty good about checking emails, especially since we went virtual so much (because of the pandemic) this year,” Cushing said.
Cushing said the assistant principals are running Point Mallard job promos on in-house television feeds in the cafeterias and halls. The senior counselors contacted the seniors about the openings.
“We’re doing everything we can to help Point Mallard,” Cushing said.
Point Mallard employees can enjoy free admission to the park, a flexible work schedule and pay starting at $9 and hour
If you or someone you know is interested in working at Point Mallard this summer, you can find more information and apply on the park’s website.