Whether you’re thanking your local lifeguard for teaching your child how to swim, or simply for keeping the community pool safe, these gifts are the perfect way to say ‘Thank You!’
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They Deserve It
It would surprise you to know how much training and regular testing your local, community pool lifeguards go through.
When I was an Aquatic Director my lifeguard staff were required to attend nearly 40-hours of training and pass both physical and written tests before even getting on a guard stand. Then, they were required to report to work early every Friday for in-service, which meant practicing rescues and swimming laps. To top that off, they would be randomly tested about once a month and failure to succeed in a certain amount of time would get them suspended.
Many times, they’re also not paid very much (think minimum wage) and are using their income to offset college costs.
These lifeguards have to be extremely vigilant and brave extreme conditions. Some days they’d be out in chilly winds and spitting rain (only thunder, lightning, or extreme winds would shut down the pool). Other days they’d brave 100 degree+ heat and pelting rays.
All the while, being ready to pounce at any sign of trouble.
To say they deserve a ‘Thank You’ is an understatement. And, a small token of appreciation can mean the world to them! Especially when most of the entities they work for won’t allow tips.
So if you’re a regular at a local pool, I encourage you to shower your lifeguards with thanks, whether it be a gift or just a thoughtful word. But, if you’re looking for gift suggestions, here are a few ideas:
Lifeguard Gifts Under $5
You don’t have to break the bank to say ‘thanks!’ On the contrary, it’s the little things that mean the world!
We actually gifted a box of these to #1’s swim instructor this week. Complete with a little fishy note that said “Thanks for teaching me to swim like a fish!” You can get a printable version below. And, at only $1 from your local dollar store, they’re the least expensive option.
Because, you know, they’re lifesavers. Plus, lifesavers are great treats when they’re stuck in a lifeguard chair. They don’t draw attention like chewing gum and won’t get stuck in their whistles. They can also spit them out if they need to complete a rescue, but give a little sugar boost when they’ve been in the heat a long time.
Rootbeer Float Gift Card
Pick up a gift card from your local Dairy Queen or Sonic and pair it with a note that says “Thanks for keeping me ‘afloat!'” Even if they’re not rootbeer fans, they can spend the card on an icy, sweet treat after a long day at work.
Lifeguard Gifts Under $10
Sunscreen adds up and some establishments don’t provide the much needed spray to their guards. When an outdoor lifeguard uses their sunscreen as directed, five days a week, they can go through a bottle in a week, easy.
Make sure to purchase your sunscreen from some place like Walmart – their store brand is great, as are the name brands. Don’t purchase sunscreen from discounters or anything with a sketchy name to it. They don’t tend to work as well and can even have negative effects.
Stick to an SPF of 30 or higher and purchase the spray kind, not the lotion. It’s much quicker and easier for a lifeguard to apply.
A nice, new beach towel is like gold to a lifeguard. Especially just after having done a rescue. Tie a pretty ribbon around it with a special ‘Thank You’ note and you’ve got one really great gift!
If you’re feeling crafty, you can even purchase a water bottle and use your fancy Cricut to adorn it with details. Make sure the water bottle is BPA-free and bonus points if it’s dishwasher safe!
Decorated Beach Tote
Let your children join in the fun and have them decorate a beach tote for their favorite lifeguard or swim instructor. Fabric markers or even puffy paint can take a drab tote and turn it into a phenomenal one! It’ll be perfect for your guard to carry a change of clothes back and forth in.
Lifeguard Gifts For The Group
Maybe you’ve got more than one favorite lifeguard or swim instructor. No worries! You can treat them all! Some favorites of my guards were:
Available in large quantities, these little frozen joys disappeared from the lifeguard freezer like they were, well, Popsicle’s on a hot day. Interestingly enough, each of my guards had a different favorite flavor, too, so there wasn’t any worry about being stuck with a gross flavor. They all got eaten!
I’d say homemade treats, but some people can be picky about eating homemade items from someone they don’t really know. In that case, make a quick trip to the grocery store bakery and buy a box of two dozen cookies.
Keep in mind that, while delicious, chocolate chip cookies don’t do well in the heat and can get super messy. Avoid peanut butter cookies, too, in case of allergies. Stick to sugar cookies without icing, or even snicker doodles.
Case of Gatorade/Gatorade Mix
Another favorite among my guards was Gatorade mix. They’d add it to their own water bottles and go about their day. It was usually only offered up on extra hot days to make sure they kept going. If I left the mix out all the time it would disappear quickly! Alternatively, you could hit up your local Sam’s Club or Costco and buy a bulk case of Gatorade.
Print your own gift tags by clicking the gray ‘download’ button below.
So, maybe you’re not a gift giver, above all else, make sure to say ‘Thank You!’ They don’t have to protect you, but they choose to. And they go through several headaches to learn the proper techniques to do so.
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