What I Learned From Being A Lifeguard

This summer was definitely a summer of firsts! One of those firsts was having the opportunity to lifeguard at our campsite's water park. And boy, was that an experience! At all of my post college jobs, I've been one of the youngest; at the water park, everyone was around 2-8 years younger than me! All of my coworkers were concerned with prom, partying and what they were going to spend their paycheck on, which is normal for that age but it was still not something I had experienced in a work setting for some time. Regardless of the age and priority gap, I was still welcomed with open arms by everyone and I so appreciate that! In fact, one of the kids called me the "wise one". ha!

Everything I say is out of love. Promise! But what I really learned from life guarding was how important it is to teach your child to swim at a young age. If you didn't while they were younger, NOW at the age they are! Teach them this winter in a indoor pool so they will be ready next summer. Even as adults, don't be too proud to take lessons. You would be surprised how many adults I saw that had on life jackets.

I saved 3 kids from drowning this summer. I don't say that to brag on myself. I say that because it happened every day the water park was open.
Sometimes my fellow guards had to save 3 to 4 kids in ONE day.
It isn't rare. That is the normal work day for us.

Sometimes the child drifted into the deep end.
Sometimes the child got too confident when the waves came on.
Sometimes the child accidentally fell off his float.
Sometimes the child and parent didn't realize how deep the catch pool was for the water slides.
Most times, the child just wasn't being watched by their parent or guardian.

If you know your child/children cannot swim, stay with them. Get out there and play. Watch your kids. You couldn't live with yourself if the worst happened. You wouldn't believe how many times I asked a kid where their parent was and they said they didn't know or how many times I watched a parent walk away from where their kids, who couldn't swim, were playing and would lay out/read a book/chat with a another adult. Lifeguards are NOT babysitters. (I'll stop now, that's another blog I don't have authority to go into. I'm no parent yet, but I think I'd watch my child at a park full of strangers)

But all of those times could have been prevented if they would have had swim lessons as early as 6 months old. Take your kid to swimming lessons, teach them yourselves, or ask a friend to teach them. It's one of the biggest disservices to a child is to not teach them something that could save their life, swimming especially!

I understand that as lifeguards that is our whole job, to save anyone from drowning. But we can't possibly watch every single person, every single second they are in the water. We have a 10/20 rule so we can get to your child or friend fast. Ten seconds to notice a swimmer in distress and 20 seconds to get to them. But all day long, we are scanning the water, up and down, left to right. It's stressful but it can be less stressful when we see parents with their children or we notice that the kids can swim well.

Do your part as a parent and a guardian to teach your kiddos to swim. It's something you can't put a price on.

*Certified by Ellis & Associates.


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