SANTA ROSA BEACH – The South Walton Fire District (SWFD) Junior Life Guard Program, which began June 30, 2009 and was held at the Ed Walline Beach access, has just concluded its second season. “This season far exceeded our expectations, in large part because of the boys and girls that participated and the support of their parents,” said Gary Wise Beach Safety Director.
This annual program is designed to introduce young people to safe marine and aquatic recreational opportunities. Further, it is our goal to improve young people’s physical conditioning, their understanding and respect for the environment, and their respect for themselves as well as others, all while having a great time at the beach!
Under the watchful supervision of Justin Cook, Junior Lifeguard Coordinator and Adam Boyer, Lead Instructor and with the support of other SWFD professional lifeguards, the boys and girls were instructed in many aspects of beach and water safety and environmental topics. The training was accomplished through daily participation in activities including stretching, beach runs, open water swimming, paddle boarding, body surfing, beach games and competitions.
Further, a respect for the environment is developed by the understanding gained with daily physical contact with the beach and aquatic environment and through education. Participants gain respect for themselves and others by contact with instructors and other youths in a team building environment. In addition, participants are exposed to many of the skills and techniques utilized in professional lifesaving organizations.
“It has been a pleasure to teach such a wonderful group of kids, their enthusiasm and energy is contagious. They have all developed and improved so much during this season, and I look forward to their return next year,” said Justin Cook, Junior Lifeguard Coordinator. Six SWFD Junior Lifeguards will be competing in the United States Lifeguard Associations’ (USLA) National Lifeguard Championship held in Ft. Lauderdale August 6-8, 2009.
For further information, please contact Deputy Chief Sean Hughes at SWFD Headquarters, 850-267-1298.