THERE aren’t enough people in Terrace with the swimming skills to replace the student lifeguards who are leaving for school in the fall, says aquatic centre staff.
This situation has prompted the pool to hold swimming lessons for prospective lifeguards that will get them qualifications needed for eventual lifeguard certification, a program that has never been held before in Terrace, said head lifeguard instructor Debbie van’t Kruis.
“We are hoping to get people who, for them, being a lifeguard is just a pipe-dream. Especially a lot of high school kids, they have the strength to be a lifeguard, but not the technique, so we will help them work on their skills to fulfill their dream of becoming a lifeguard,” explained van’t Kruis.
The new trainees will splash into the pool in July and will start by working on swimming skills and then life-saving skills later on. Participants in the eight-week course spend two hours per week in the pool learning everything from basic strokes to learning how to swim with rescue equipment.
When swimmers graduate from the program, van’t Kruis says, she hopes they will have the skills to complete required lifeguard certification courses which will run in the fall.
Although high school students need to be 16 in order to work as a lifeguard and teach swimming lessons, van’t Kruis has opened up the training program for youth as young as 14 because they can still train and do tests toward eventual certification in these areas.
She also says that working as a lifeguard is a great job for those looking for flexible work hours.
“Working at the pool is a great part time job for students, moms who are looking to re-enter the workforce, people who used to swim, and people who even used to be lifeguards, come on back – we need you,” van’t Kruis said.
Swimming lessons and the pool’s hours may be cut in the fall if they do not have enough staff to keep swimmers safe, she said.
“We usually like to have about 20-25 staff and by the end of the summer we will be down quite a few – this training program is to keep us going through-out the year,” van’t Kruis explained.
Anyone interested in the program is asked to contact the Terrace Aquatic Centre for more information.