When you think about lifeguards, you may wonder how they got into lifeguarding. It all started for me at Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rhode Island in mid-August last year. I was going there for my first year of Camp Yawgoog with Boy Scout Troop 84 out of Copiague.

The first thing we had to do in the weeklong stay was choose goals for our merit badges, whichare achievements on the way to Eagle Scout, the highest award in scouting. The five merit badges I chose were in wilderness survival, fishing, cooking, swimming and first aid.

The two merit badges that taught me lifeguarding were swimming and first aid. The swimming merit badge taught me how to rescue people from the water and different ways to save them in certain conditions, and how to throw life rings and life ropes. The first aid merit badge taught me how to treat hypothermia, exposure, frostbite and choking, as well as CPR. This all helped me learn the skills of a lifeguard, which I am signing up for this summer.

Jeanette Merola and Janet Renganeschi’s sixth-grade class, Udall Road Middle School, West Islip