If the onset of warmer weather has you thinking of lazy summer days, getting your feet wet and brushing up on your swimming skills could land you a prime job as a lifeguard in Aurora this fall.
Aquatic leadership courses will be offered by the City this fall.
These courses will allow you to become a certified lifeguard over the summer and could eventually lead to employment in the fall at the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex and Aurora Family Leisure Complex.
“We’re looking for people who enjoy being in a water and pool environment,” says Adrian Wong, Recreation Supervisor for the City of Aurora. “A lot of times kids learn to swim, but where do you go beyond that? We have swim programs and we’re slowly turning it into lifesaving. It’s great that they know how to swim and how to protect themselves, but it’s also very important for them to contribute and give back to the community where they can not only protect themselves but also protect others – understand what to do and what not to do, if they find themselves in a sticky situation, how to get out of it How can they help others if they are in need We want them to go beyond individual development to see how they can contribute so that others can also benefit from the pool .
Lifeguard Isabella Richards has always had an affinity for water. She remembers her mother taking her to “parents and toddlers” classes and, from there, taking all of her swimming lessons at SARC and AFLC. Now she is a leader among lifeguards and says being able to help the community is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.
“Whether it’s giving someone a bandage or helping someone pass a swimming lesson, it’s really rewarding to see these kids coming,” she says. “They are afraid of water, they are afraid of drowning, but they feel more comfortable. When I started, there was a child who refused to put on a life jacket; he thought they were scary. On the last day of class I called it an “astronaut suit” and he fell in love – now he always wears one because he knows it protects him and his mother almost burst into tears. These little things to help kids succeed are so rewarding.
This sentiment is echoed by Mr Wong who says it is very rewarding for him to be able to provide young people with the life skills they need to hit the water with confidence.
“My parents made me take swimming lessons and I didn’t really like it until I took a lifeguard course,” he says. “There were lots of great ideas, from accident prevention, to being prepared, to the unexpected, to how to be responsible team members – you have to do your part and you have to contribute to your team to making ends meet. All of those concepts really resonated with me. It’s who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do and how I wanted to live my life. It was a character build.
“Kids may not have the best shots, but they know they’re going to be safe, parents know they’re going to be safe and respect the water, that’s something you can’t not really learn from a textbook,” he said. “Being part of an individual’s journey is very rewarding.”
Your personal journey as a lifeguard can be as simple as logging on to the City’s website at aurora.ca/aquaticleadership and exploring some of the programs offered.
The Zero to Hero program is an accelerated program open to teens and adults who want to pursue a secondary career, including stay-at-home parents with children now old enough to go to school who might be looking for something to do during the daytime.
Certification programs are also offered in partnership with the York Region District School Board that allow students to learn the basics of what they need for the job while earning high school credits.
“Every time I do something or see a staff member do something that changes a child’s life, it makes me really happy,” says Isabella.
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