May 24, 2024

Guarding lives is no small feat, however, when we think of lifeguards, we often simply picture someone in red perched high on a lifeguard chair, but there’s much more than meets the eye. First responders are steadfast anchors in the storm, and today, we would like to dive deeper into some of our first responders in Gypsum. Let us take you behind the scenes and introduce you to three of your Mountain Recreation lifeguards who have generously shared their journeys.

In the spring of 2020, Holden Delles, a 19-year-old born and raised in Eagle County, secured his spot as a lifeguard at Mountain Rec. Through our comprehensive training programs and the meaningful connections he’s made within our aquatics team, Holden’s appreciation for lifeguarding has flourished.

For him, lifeguarding is an opportunity to ensure the safety and comfort of the community at our pools: “We’re here to protect people and build relationships with the public to make sure everyone feels comfortable swimming”. This sense of duty and connection is echoed in the strong community atmosphere at Mountain Rec, where the supportive environment makes going to work enjoyable: “The community that Mountain Rec has makes it fun to go to work. There’s a lot of support here and it’s not a matter of sink or swim, we’re here to help each other.”

At just 15 years old, Taya Moore, a local with a passion for swimming and golf, embarked on a fulfilling journey as a lifeguard at Mountain Rec in December 2023. Having been an integral part of our swim team since 5th grade, Taya was inspired by her mother, peers already serving as lifeguards, and coach to pursue this role. The lifeguard training sessions were not only enjoyable for her, but also invaluable beyond the poolside, instilling in her the crucial ability to respond effectively to emergencies. Taya knows that even the strongest swimmers can face challenges, so she keeps a watchful eye and intervenes before anything goes wrong.

“We are important because we are there to look out for people. Even the best of swimmers can get themselves into trouble. It may not seem like we do a lot, but in reality, we are consistently looking out for things that could go wrong and trying to stop it before they do,” said Taya.

With genuine enthusiasm, Taya extends her encouragement to others that might be considering lifeguarding; emphasizing that Mountain Rec has shifted her outlook on lifeguarding and has enabled her to work in a role she truly loves.

“I thought I wasn’t going to follow through but I genuinely love this job. In moments where I’m overwhelmed, coming to work helps take my mind off of everything. Everyone here is so close, it’s a very good work environment,” shared Taya.

Sonam Sherpa, an 18-year-old Nepalese native who has resided in Colorado for the past decade, is a dedicated fitness enthusiast and athlete. He joined Mountain Rec two years ago as a front desk attendant; recognizing the growth potential within our aquatics department and motivated by his peers, Sonam transitioned to the lifeguard team in December 2023 to further fulfill his recreational interests. Sonam regards lifeguarding as a significant responsibility and a valuable skill. Passionate about water safety, he assists his friends outside of work, teaching them how to swim and emphasizing the importance of swimming as a life skill.

Although the world of lifeguarding was very new to him just last year, Sonam found the training experience thoroughly enjoyable and something to look forward to—thanks to the guidance of Christina Hovater, our aquatics supervisor, who made the training sessions engaging and fun. He particularly valued learning CPR and the distinctions between rescuing adults and infants. He encourages us to consider lifeguarding, as it may ignite a new passion in us, just as it did for him and his colleagues. Being part of this exceptional team offers numerous benefits that also translate to the vitality of lifeguards at Mountain Rec.

“We have a great team here, and if you’re willing to give it a chance, you can really learn to appreciate the job. Lifeguards make everyone at the pool feel safe and secure, and working here has connected me to a lot of people in the community,” shared Sonam.

If you find Sonam off duty or at the front desk, feel free to ask him for swimming tips and tricks—he’s always happy to help!

Our lifeguards have discovered a profound passion for aquatics and built meaningful connections within the Mountain Rec community, all thanks to the inspiration they received to begin their lifeguarding journey. If you wish to inspire young individuals to embark on a fulfilling career that sparks new interests and contributes to the safety of others, encourage them to join our upcoming American Red Cross Lifeguarding Trainings starting in June, including:

  • Water Safety Instructor Training | Runs June 1-3 in Gypsum | Ages 16+
  • Shallow Water Lifeguard Training | Runs June 3-6 in Gypsum | Ages 15+
  • Junior Lifeguarding | Runs June 10-30 in Gypsum | Ages 11-15
  • Junior Lifeguarding | Runs July 1-31 in Gypsum | Ages 11-15

This is their opportunity to kickstart their career or simply enhance their water safety skills. Learn more and register for our Lifeguard Training’s here.

Zyanya Rodriguez is the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Mountain Recreation. Contact Zyanya at ZRodriguez@MountainRec.org

Sign up for our community newsletter and be first to know about Mountain Recreation news, specials, events, and more.