Junior life guard program enhances community
Half a dozen youth ages 11-15 have the potential to make a splash in the community and enhance their lives thanks to the junior lifeguard program at the Carson Valley Swim Center.
They recently participated in the a two-week program which combined basic water safety, CPR and first-aid, surveillance, professional lifeguard training and activities that added excitement for the students, said Junior Lifeguard instructor Reagan Lederman.
“We wanted to make it fun and engaging, so it’s not just strict lifeguard training,” said Lederman.
Lederman said a leadership component was added to the program showing students how to be prepared in different situations and to encourage involvement and leadership within the community. She said guest speakers including Douglas County peace officers and paramedics, spoke on safety topics and future career options.
“They showed us about safety, how to get involved and be better prepared in an emergency situation,” said Lederman.” It also showed them what they can get into and be a part of as they get older.”
Requirements for the program included a 300-yard swim test, and a two-minute water tread. The junior life guards also had the opportunity to practice rafting and boat safety with Douglas County Search and Rescue’s John Soderman.
“We learned different entries in the water and boat and how to save someone from drowning,” said junior life guard Noah Raher, 13. “In a lot of cases you will be the first responder, so it’s important to know what to do if no one else is around.”
Soderman showed the group what to do if a raft tips over or if someone falls out. He said the best thing to do is to extend a paddle or rope to the swimmer instead of jumping in after them.
“We were challenged with different types of situations and what to do if someone needs help whether at the beach or in the pool,” said junior lifeguard Jacob Raher, 12.
Junior lifeguards Hunter Burke, 14, and Gracen Gasporra, 11, said they now know the basics of what to do in an emergency situation and know they can help, instead of waiting for help.
“In any situation in general, from water safety to someone having a heart attack, by knowing some basic life-saving skills you can handle the situation better and possibly save someone’s life,” said Burke.
Lederman also added some activities that created splashes of entertainment with the lessons.
In one activity called “freeze frame” the kids had to freeze in action while something was slightly changed and they had to figure out what that change was. Another activity had them recognizing and remembering hidden items and finding pool rings tossed in the water.
“They did great,” said Lederman. “It really showed their endurance and the ability to be actively involved in their surroundings while swimming.”
After completion of the program the students received a junior life guard T-shirt and a certification of completion.
“Many students go on to do the lifeguard program and want to be lifeguards here when they’re able. It’s a great first job and opportunity that may lead to other jobs in the community,” said Lederman.
Lederman said all the swim lessons and programs at the center tie together in a way.
“At our swim center we try to provoke water safety in and out of the center,” she said. “It’s our way to enhance the community, encourage employment and get the kids involved in something,”