San Marino Recreation Department offers a summer program that provides local children and teens with the opportunity to see what it takes to be a real lifeguard.
“Guard Start,” the Junior Lifeguards Camp, finished up its last two-week session of the summer this week at San Marino High School’s pool.
Two SMHS graduates, Brooks Boss and Kelsey Wentz, taught the camp where participants learned American Red Cross Water Safety Aide courses, CPR and First Aid.
“We teach them the different techniques for saving people in the water,” Boss said. “We teach them water safety, how to recognize people in distress and a lot of First Aid. Basically, we just prepare them for being a lifeguard, so when they get older and they want to apply for a job here [at the SMHS swimming pool] or somewhere else, they are a little ahead of the pack and have the training and know what to do.”
The camp took two field trips—one to Huntington Beach Lifeguard Headquarters and another to Raging Waters. Participants got their own lifeguard shorts and a shirt and received American Red Cross CPR-certification.
Camp participant Srinivasan Arumugham said he thought the Junior Lifeguards Camp was fun.
“You get to hang out with friends, and it can really help out in the future,” he said.
Srinivasan said he particularly enjoyed when each junior lifeguard was tasked with walking in the water carrying a 10-pound block.
“You had to hold it and walk on the ground,” he said. “It was really challenging and fun to see who could get the farthest.”
“I like it because it’s learning how to be a lifeguard and it’s a fun program,” participant Ethan Chang said, explaining that his favorite part was learning how to save people.
In addition to teaching tomorrow’s possible lifeguards, Wentz and Boss also can reminisce about growing up in San Marino. Wentz participated in the Junior Lifeguards Camp when she was in sixth grade.
“It was fun,” she said. “I took it with a bunch of friends. The instructors were really nice and we did learn a lot.” She graduated SMHS in 2014 and attends San Diego State University. It’s Wentz’s fourth year being a lifeguard at the SMHS pool.
“It’s nice to come back every summer and revisit it,” she said. “I swam and played water polo here, as well. So I’ve always been around the pool.”
Boss is a 2015 SMHS graduate who just completed his first year at the University of Denver. It’s his second year lifeguarding at the SMHS pool and he also is a swim instructor this year.
Both Boss and Wentz said the Junior Lifeguards Camp is beneficial to attend.
“It teaches them a lot of important skills so when they’re out in the world and they see someone choking, they know what to do,” Boss said. “They can help somebody if they’re in trouble.”
“All of this we’re teaching is taught in the real class,” Wentz said. “They’ll be ahead of the game after this.”