City prepares to train next generation of lifeguards

·2 min read

The Eastlink Centre will offer a Junior Lifeguard Club to youth aged 7 to 14 later this month.

The club will provide youth with a way to become lifeguards in “a fun way based on their personal-best achievements as opposed to a traditional test-based program,” said the city.

The club will help the young swimmers improve various skills, including swimming, lifesaving skills and knowledge, leadership, teamwork, community education, and personal fitness.

The Junior Lifeguard Club will run on Saturdays from Sept. 24 to Dec. 17, costing $220.

After completing the program, students can challenge their Bronze Star ( ages 12 and under) or Bronze Medallion (ages 13 and above) for an additional $100 fee.

“The Bronze Medallion is the first mandatory course towards a National Lifeguard Certification,” said the city.

The requirements to become a lifeguard include completing your standard first aid, Bronze Cross, and National Lifeguard Certification.

The city also offered a Rookie Day on Sept. 10 for some youth swimmers to see the club's features before registering.

The Eastlink Centre is the northern hub for the National Lifesaving Society’s advanced aquatics courses.

The city offers up to $500 in reimbursements for the cost of training to new lifeguard hires as part of its Aquatics New Hire Incentive.

Beaverlodge Recreation Centre manager Rae Cook says that the Junior Lifeguard Club is hosted in the town as well, being offered to local youth anywhere from two to four times through the year.

While the Beaverlodge Recreation Centre is in its annual pool shutdown, Cook says that she looks forward to the opportunity to host the club again in the future.

For the future, however, Cook says that the centre will focus on the fall 2022 advanced lifeguarding courses, which will be offered at the pool through October.

“We used to host Red Cross swimming lessons here, but Red Cross is no longer offering lessons after 75 years, so we’re making the switch to Lifesaving Society lessons,” she says.

“When we’re making our switch to Lifesaving Society lessons and all of our instructors will be transitioning over, then we’ll have a lot more instructors that are able to offer that program.”

Once instructors are brought up to speed, Cook says she looks forward to running the junior lifeguarding program once again.

“The lifeguarding program is a really good step for those children who aren’t 13 years old and are unable to take those courses,” she says.

“It's just a good way for them to stay active in the water and keep up on their swimming until they are of age.”

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News