Big Hill Leisure Pool manager John Napier knows he needs a lot more lifeguards and instructors when the new, bigger aquatic centre opens next year, so he started recruiting at the beginning of 2016. Applications came in, and eventually, 15 new participants graduated from “lifeguard boot camp” this spring.
The 15 graduates are older than the typical public pool lifeguard, and have different reasons for wanting to join the pool team.
“This group is older and more experienced than the typical part-time student lifeguard,” says Napier. “They told me they applied for the training because they can’t wait to contribute to the success of the new aquatic centre.”
New lifeguard Lyse Carignan is a retired teacher with a passion for dance and volunteering in the community. Becoming a lifeguard and swim instructor at age 60 for Cochrane’s new aquatic centre was the perfect opportunity for her to combine her passions for working with children and the community.
“One of the ways I keep in shape is by swimming and cycling,” Carignan says. “When I was invited to join the boot camp, I thought, ‘Why not?’! And now I love it! It’s so rewarding to work with children and see them learn new skills!”
Lifeguard boot camp grad Rick Schott last worked on the water when he was in university. After retiring from his 40-year career as a government employee a couple of years ago, Schott returned to the water to pursue his own fitness goals.
Schott loved the challenge and the renewed sense of energy and accomplishment he felt. “I loved it and really enjoyed the camaraderie with the others.” he says.
As for why he was drawn to the program: “I not only wanted to take the training to challenge myself but for the opportunity to get involved with my community, and the people who live here.”
Big Hill Leisure Pool is accepting applications for the next round of lifeguard boot camp in October. Individuals with a good general fitness level and swimming ability, as well as a desire to learn, are invited to apply: cochrane.ca/Pool, 403-851-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org