Each summer, armies of local kids look to cool off and have some fun around water — and the Placerville Aquatics Center has plenty of options for those adventurous young ones.
Likewise, for those bright young children who may be dreaming of becoming stronger swimmers or even lifeguards, the Junior Lifeguard program offered by the City of Placerville is an ideal solution.
If you happened to drive by the city pool and see some very young-looking “lifeguards” performing what appears to be CPR on someone, be not afraid — they are all students at the Junior Lifeguard program, having fun while learning the basic fundamentals of what it takes to be a lifeguard.
“I’ve been here for 10 years now,” aquatics coordinator Brett Touey said, “and the program has been here at least as long as I have. I remember when I was little I did it and had a blast. It just gives us a chance to teach some kids that may be thinking about getting certified as lifeguards in a few years about the basics and introductory procedures about water rescues, safety precautions and protocols to follow.”
Individuals must be 15 years of age or older to take the lifeguarding test. The Placerville Aquatics Center has been running the junior lifeguard program as a way to reach those children who are interested and do not yet meet the age requirement. Certified lifeguards at the aquatics center work with these children for a one week program that covers the basics of the occupation including water rescues, CPR protocols, swimming exercises and physical fitness, while doing so in a relaxed, fun environment.
This year, three local kids participated in the program. Kiko Velasco, 11, and Haylee Frame, 10, each participated in their first year of the program while Dry Diggins Dolphin swimmer Emily Haynie, 11, wrapped up her second year this summer.
“It’s fun,” Hayne said. “I really like the water rescues, diving in and learning how to save people from drowning. They teach us a lot of stuff, and it’s fun to just be at the pool too.”
Frame echoed Hayne’s comments.
“I like diving in after people too,” Frame said. “We learned how to swim the right way, how to save people, and how to do CPR.”
Lifeguards Nick Cova and Jeff Faber were on hand to instruct the three future life-savers, and commended the kids on the progress throughout the week.
“They were awesome,” Faber said. “They listened well to what we showed them, and really went for it during the water rescues. They showed a lot of enthusiasm for what we were teaching. All of them learned a lot this week, and we’re proud of how well they’ve done.”
Information about upcoming programs as well as general information about the Placerville Aquatics Center can be found online at cityofplacerville.org/depts/parks/aquatics.