Ballajura Aquatic Centre

Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Junior Lifeguard Club is designed to extend children’s love of swimming by allowing them to learn vital rescue and CPR skills.

Ballajura Aquatic Centre has developed its Junior Lifeguard Club from just 10 participants in 2008 to more than 100 in 2016. Ballajura’s JLC Instructor Margaret Pindard has been proactively promoting the program in the local community, as she recognizes its value. “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.”

Ballajura Girls Image

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 excellent 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 something above the levels that I could do, because I’d completed all the levels I could at that age. It was 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 interact with your classmates and work as a team completing all the activities.”

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. 

Jess says Junior Lifeguard Club was a key to her desire to become qualified; “Last year I 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 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.”