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SWFD Launches 2024 Junior Lifeguard Program

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June 07, 2024 | FLORIDA MACKENZIE MCCLINTOCK, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. --- Nearly 200 children are splashing into their summer as part of the South Walton Fire District’s 2024 Junior Lifeguard Program. This year’s program begins Tuesday, June 4, and boasts a new curriculum as part of the District’s push to grow the surf rescue culture and beach safety education within Walton County.

SWFD’s Junior Lifeguard Program began in 2008 with approximately 60 participants. Since then, hundreds of local children have dedicated their summer to learning what it takes to protect millions of beach patrons each year.

“It’s another record-breaking year for the SWFD Junior Lifeguards,” said SWFD Beach Safety Director David Vaughan. “The program just keeps growing and the positive energy for 2024 is contagious. It’s a testament to the support of the community, the parents, and our instructors who have spent a lot of time revamping 2024 to make it better than ever.”

Throughout June and July, SWFD Beach Safety staff will train the Junior Lifeguards in two different curriculums: Foundations and Advanced. While both curriculums focus on the imperative skills of swimming technique, CPR and first aid, conducting water rescues, and rip current identification, the Advanced program will include intensive training for returners.

“The Foundations course is the original program that our Juniors know and love, open to both newcomers and returners,” said SWFD Junior Lifeguard Instructor Brandon Brown. “We prototyped the Advanced course last summer for returning juniors, and they loved the chance to train in-depth, build on the Foundations course, and improve their times in competitions. By creating this growth track for our Juniors, we are building a pipeline of passionate and dedicated future lifeguards for our agency.”

No matter what session they are part of Junior Lifeguards will work to become stronger, faster, and more confident in the open water. SWFD Beach Safety will also provide 15 and 16-year-old Juniors with the opportunity to receive the required certifications to work as a lifeguard once they turn 17.

SWFD will release further information and photos once the program is underway. Media inquiries related to this release should be directed to the SWFD PIO.

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