El Monte Youths Go On Lifeguard Duty
By Valerie Martinez
August 7, 2013 • 486 views
El Monte -
For a few weeks this summer, several El Monte kids have been getting a taste of what it takes to be a professional rescuer, undergoing physical skills tests on their swimming capabilities and learning what it truly takes to be a lifeguard.
Through Aug. 8, youths ages 10 to 15 are participating in the City of El Monte’s Junior Lifeguard Program, which is run by the City of El Monte Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department’s Aquatics Division.
The month long 2013 American Red Cross Guard Start Program, held at the El Monte Aquatic Center, provides a foundation for lifeguarding and life skills. For kids with swimming skills, this program is an ideal transition between Red Cross Learn- to-Swim and the Lifeguard Training Course.
“Through this program, students are challenged mentally and physically to be lifeguards-in-training, learning First Aid, CPR and water safety,” said El Monte Councilman Juventino “J” Gomez. “It also gives them a chance to spend their summer working alongside real lifeguards, seeing them in action and learning what they do to help save lives. It’s exciting that our kids fully embrace the program and rigors that come with it.”
Candidates for the program were required to have the ability to swim 50 yards, tread water for one minute and swim under water for 10 yards during a skill pre-test at the Aquatic Center.
Aside from teaching fitness and swimming skills, the program is also aimed at educating participants on how to prevent aquatic accidents, respond in an emergency situation, and develop leadership skills and professionalism as a lifeguard.
Among the many activities scheduled, participants are learning how to perform CPR, shadowed a professional lifeguard and took trips to Huntington Beach, the Santa Fe Dam and Raging Waters to experience various types of lifeguard environments.