Meridian, Miss. Summer is coming to a close. We are just one week away from kids going back to school in Lauderdale County. It’s a time that kids lament especially after spending a summer fishing, camping, or enjoying the water park at Okatibbee Lake.
Paul Govedare, the park manager, says, "It has been a good summer. It was a little slow at the first of the year due to the rain, and then the heat the second half of the summer. All in all it has been a good summer, but the main thing is it has been a safe summer."
Part of the park's safety record can be credited to the life guards who are always vigilant. And they are always vigilant because they never know when the head life guard will test them to make sure they are properly scanning the water.
Ashley Caylor, the head lifeguard, says, "I definitely try and make sure they are staying on their toes, that they're scanning the water appropriately looking for distressed swimmer. You have a certain time frame before a distressed swimmer becomes an active drowner, and then after they have used all their energy, that's when they start going under and can't hold themselves up anymore."
At least one visitor from Colorado says the weather down south makes visits to the water park all the better.
Emily Pulver, who’s visiting family says, "I'm from Colorado Springs and I’m visiting family in Mississippi and it's a good family place, good atmosphere. It's really nice here in Mississippi. Good hospitality. Good weather. Good sunshine. I got a nice tan while I’ve been here. Nice change from the snow."
This Sunday will be the last day the park is open for the summer, although it may open again on Labor Day, if enough life guards are available.