YMCA of Snohomish County is launching its first-ever Lifeguard Academy on Saturday, Nov. 5. This program, designed for teens ages 15-plus, teaches lifeguard skills, as well as necessary leadership and communication skills to help them succeed both personally and professionally.
“Lifeguard Academy offers participants much more than your basic lifeguard training class,” said Tom Wunderlich, association director of aquatics advancement, YMCA of Snohomish County. “Participants will receive their lifeguard certification at the culmination of program, but they will also be equipped with skills to land their first job.”
YMCA aquatics and youth development departments are partnering together to offer this unique program, specifically designed for BIPOC, high-risk and low-income youth.
“Current research has shown that over 70% of youth in the BIPOC community do not have access to opportunities that provide basic water safety and swimming skills,” said Kim Gaffney, YMCA executive director of youth leadership. “Lifeguard Academy removes barriers and teaches lifelong skills while empowering teens to reach their full potential, bridging the gap amongst our communities of color.”
The 10-week program meets three times a week and each session combines classroom and pool work. Participants start each session in the classroom learning leadership skills that will benefit them in both the academic and professional realm.
“Through career-centered learning, participants will learn how to communicate and interact with potential employers, create a resume, and develop a professional social media profile,” said Gaffney. “These skills will benefit them not only on their job search, but also in academics and other things they may pursue.”
After classroom instruction, participants will move to the pool to master swim and lifeguard skills, including CPR and first aid training.
“Our measure of success is when participants are able to graduate from the Academy with confidence in the skills they learned to become strong swimmers, water safety aware, and a productive and responsible young adult entering the work force,” said Wunderlich.
More information is available here.