Hedland collaboration teaches kids Junior Lifeguard skills

9 April 2021

Royal Life Saving’s Junior Lifeguard Club is a great aquatic alternative for those who love the water, want to be challenged and want more than just lessons. It’s designed to provide opportunities for children to keep interested and active in aquatics by mixing general swimming skills with new and challenging lifesaving skills.

Two Aboriginal boys using a kickboard to perform a tow rescue in the poolRoyal Life Saving WA and the Polly Farmer Foundation recently joined forces in Port Hedland, creating a local innovative collaboration to establish a Junior Lifeguard Club for 9 to 11-year-olds, called the Commando Rescue Club. Students in school grades 4-6 have been learning rescue techniques and building their swim fitness as part of this fun-filled education enrichment program for Indigenous students run by Polly Farmer at 3 schools across Port Hedland.

Ms Kylie Unkovich, Deputy Principal of Baler Primary School, and Coordinator of the Polly Famer Learning Hub, was excited to establish the program for her Indigenous students. “Those who’ve been involved are learning leadership, team work, and life skills that one day may save a life and help them get a future job as a lifeguard.”

Royal Life Saving WA data shows that Aboriginal children are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal drowning incident than non-Aboriginal children in our state. Learning these vital swimming and lifesaving skills is therefore crucial as we work to turn these statistics around and save lives.

The Commando Rescue Club is a term by term program focusing on swimming proficiency, skills, and basic first aid and emergency response. Royal Life Saving is excited to have collaborated with Polly Farmer on this important initiative and hopes to extend the program to other learning hubs in Hedland and across WA.