Shortage of lifeguards and camp counselors could affect Capital City summer plans


BATON ROUGE, La. (BR Proud) — Shortages of camp counselors and lifeguards could affect summer plans across the Capital City. Directors of camp programs and pools reported fewer applicants this season, when compared to years past.

“We’re not having as many apply as we would like,” said BREC’s assistant director of recreation Jeb Lapeyrolerie. “We’ve had to step up our efforts this year, so we’re definitely doing a lot more active recruiting.”

It is not clear why there have been a shortage of people applying, but Lapeyrolerie says some individuals may still be hesitant to get out in public. “We’ve been told for over a year now to avoid big groups, so a lot of people are still having some anxiety about that.”

The shortage has also impacted reopening plans for one of the Capital Area’s biggest entertainment complexes. While Blue Bayou Water Park plans to open on May 22, a recent statement from director of media and marketing Elizabeth Haynes Harrison, said the Dixie Landin’ theme park rides will remain shut down.

“Staffing is currently an issue in the entire state of Louisiana, and we are already seeing this as an issue for us as well. So, it is with a heavy heart, that we have made the difficult decision to only open Blue Bayou Water Park for the 2021 season,” read Harrison’s statement.

Blue Bayou began posting to social media in April announcing open positions. On Friday, Harrison said the park plans to hire about 700 people in order to operate at full capacity this summer.

Lapeyrolerie said there is a chance the shortage of workers could also affect the number of camps BREC has to offer this summer. “It could affect the number of camps that we offer. We are hoping that it’s not going to get to that.”

Anyone interested in becoming a counselor, can visit the BREC employment page.

Full statement from Blue Bayou

“At Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’ our goal is to provide the best entertainment experience possible for our guests.   With the Governor’s Covid -19 Orders in place for Water Parks and Theme Parks to remain closed throughout 2020, and an unforeseeable future for 2021, we were in standby mode for readying the parks for Opening Day.   Regular off-season maintenance was still being performed, however, readying the parks to open remained on hold.  Once we were given the okay to open in March of this year, we decided in order to provide the best possible experience for our guests, we needed to concentrate our efforts on one of the parks due to the limited time until our opening date. 

Staffing is currently an issue in the entire state of Louisiana, and we are already seeing this as an issue for us as well.  So, it is with a heavy heart that we have made the difficult decision to open only Blue Bayou Water Park for the 2021 Season.  Dixie Landin’ Theme Park will remain closed in 2021. 

Blue Bayou will open for daily operations on May 22, 2021, with 100 percent capacity.  We are closely monitoring the continuing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in order to create and promote a safe environment for everyone who visits the park this summer.  We look forward to hosting you, your family, and friends in the Summer of 2021.”

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