Bright future for Junior Lifeguard Club participants

21 July 2016

Our Junior Lifeguard Club is a fantastic way for children to extend their love of swimming while learning vital rescue and CPR skills.

Ballajura Aquatic Centre has been very proactive in promoting the Junior Lifeguard Club to children and young people in the local community, with the club growing from 10 to more than 100 participants since 2008.

JLC Instructor at Ballajura, Margaret Pindard says “It’s a great program for kids who don’t want to do squad training but love to swim. It also doubles as a mentor program, with the older participants helping the younger ones to learn the skills.”

Two of Ballajura’s Junior Lifeguard Club participants have gone on to become qualified Lifeguards at the centre; 17 year old Jessica Colligan and 19 year old Kellie Burns.

Kellie started swimming at the age of just 3 months, completing infant aquatics classes with her mum, while Jessica started at age 4. Both were very good swimmers and progressed through their stages quickly.

Jessica says by the time she was 11 years old regular lessons became boring for her so she started attending Junior Lifeguard Club; “It was just something above the levels that I could do, because I’d completed all the levels I could at that age. It was a bit extra and more fun and challenging than just learning how to swim because it included all the CPR and rescue techniques that aren’t a part of regular lessons.”

Kellie’s experience was similar; “When I was 12 I’d already completed my Bronze Star so mum enrolled me in Junior Lifeguard Club. It was great because although I was still learning it was a fun alternative where you can have conversations with your classmates, interact and work as a team completing all the activities. As you develop you also become the leaders of the group demonstrating techniques and activities which is very enjoyable.”

For Jess and Kellie the fun of taking part in Junior Lifeguard Club has now become paid employment, with both girls completing their Pool Lifeguard qualifications. 

Kellie says “As soon as I was old enough I did my Pool Lifeguard course in 2014 and I’ve been working here at Ballajura Aquatic Centre ever since. Although I’ve never actually had to rescue anyone I think that’s a great thing because it means we’re doing our job properly and no-one is going under!”

For Jess Junior Lifeguard Club was a key to her desire to become qualified; “Last year decided to do my Lifeguard course because I already had a lot of the background skills that I needed and I thought it would be a great job to do. It’s made me become far more aware of the pool and the potential dangers that exist in the way people behave around the pool. It’s a great job and I really enjoy it.”

Ballajura Aquatic Centre Coordinator Jeff Strong says Jess and Kellie’s involvement in Junior Lifeguard Club has had a great impact on their work as Lifeguards; “As part of JLC they learn team work, leadership emergency response, basic first aid, defib and spinal board training. They also do a lot of work on initiative and working under pressure. All of these skills are vital to their Lifeguard role.”

Children can join a Junior Lifeguard Club once they’ve passed stage 9 in the Swim and Survive curriculum (or equivalent) and Kellie says she’d encourage all kids to take part and learn vital life skills. “If you go out with friends to the river or beach it’s really good to know that you have the skills to rescue them if they get in trouble. Gaining the CPR skills is also great because it’s something that everyone should learn! I really believe that it should be taught to all kids in schools so it’s great that we can learn it in Junior Lifeguard Club.”

To get involved in a Junior Lifeguard Club near you click on the link below.