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A junior lifeguard is someone typically between the ages of 9 and 14 who participates in a swimming safety program sponsored by a local lifeguard association. During this type of program, students learn about water safety, basic first aid, and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). They often participate in a variety of activities that cultivate their interest in becoming lifeguards one day. The classes are led by certified lifeguards.
One of the most common activities for a junior lifeguard is to learn about first aid and CPR. The junior lifeguard learns how to care for an injured person at the beach or pool. He or she is also taught how to administer CPR, a lifesaving technique used for people who have stopped breathing.
Junior lifeguard programs are designed to encourage interest in future work as a certified lifeguard. For this reason, lifeguard instructors teach kids rescue techniques. Junior lifeguards learn how to save people who are drowning, how to determine if a swimming area is too dangerous to enter, and how to rescue people by using a paddleboard or throw device. Junior lifeguards also learn how to prevent accidents from happening in and around the water.
Water safety, first aid, and CPR are not the only activities available when participating in a junior lifeguard program. Young swimmers also have the opportunity to engage in water recreation. For example, they may participate in water games, surfing, and bodyboarding. Beach junior lifeguards may even learn about the impact of pollution in the ocean or marine biology. Of course, a junior lifeguard program usually leaves time for kids to engage in informal swim time as well.
Children interested in becoming junior lifeguards must be strong swimmers. Each program possesses its own entrance requirements, but most require applicants have the ability to swim 100 yards (91.4 m) in no more than two minutes. Young swimmers who want to participate may also need to be able to swim underwater for at least 10 yards (9.14 m). They must be in good physical condition to safely participate in a junior lifeguard program.
Local lifeguard associations sponsor day camps and workshops for children to teach them water safety. On the other hand, they offer such programs in hopes of encouraging trained junior lifeguards to apply to become certified lifeguards when they are old enough to find employment. Since it's difficult to find trustworthy employees who wish to remain with an organization, lifeguard associations train people at an early age. If the junior lifeguards enjoy the work of water safety and rescue, they are more apt to apply to become certified lifeguards in the future. This provides lifeguard agencies with qualified, trained employees who will display loyalty to the water recreational facility.