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Getting started as a junior lifeguard

Photo Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Lingfei Zhao, Syosset

I took part in the junior lifeguard program at Sun & Surf Beach Club in Atlantic Beach last summer, and it was all about training to become a lifeguard. You can’t become a lifeguard until you are 16, but you can start preparing at a younger age to get experience.

As a junior lifeguard, you get to experience what they do in situations, like if someone was drowning, or if there was ever a shark, etc. You are able to experience what it is like to be a lifeguard and see if you like it or not. But to get in, you have to go through tryouts to find out if you are cut out to be a lifeguard:

  • You have to swim four laps freestyle.
  • You have to run to the rocks and back.
  • You have to tread water for two minutes.
  • You must hold your breath for 30 seconds.

After you pass those tests, then you start to train. You get to do all this fun stuff. At first you may think that it is torture, but after a while it turns out to be fun.

This program teaches us water safety, surfing, bodyboarding, CPR, physical conditioning, rescue techniques, first aid and more.

You also get to do some fun things like swimming with dolphins and going through obstacle courses in the water, and at the end of the year there is a big party.

But if you make this program it comes with some downsides. This program is for boys and girls ages 9 to 15 years old. If you aren’t a morning person, then this is not for you. You have to be at the beach by 10:10 a.m. so you can get to practice on time. It starts at 10:30 and finishes at noon. Also, you have to be free on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, because that is when practice is held. But if you can make these days at this time and you make the program, then it will be a blast.

Frances Barricelli and Joan McLean’s sixth-grade class, St. Agnes Cathedral School, Rockville Centre

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