Sunday, August 10, 2008

Junior Lifeguards train in Huntington Beach

(By Anthony Castellano / OC Register)
A Huntington Beach junior lifeguard program merges discipline and water safety techniques.

While the kids in the Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards program do laugh and play, it is not unusual to see a whole squad drop and do 20 push-ups for their instructor and finish their sentences with "yes, sir!"
"We work a lot in our program on structure – discipline and structure," says program administrator Dave Simcox. Young kids swimming in the ocean need to be able to follow the directions. With 45 years of lifeguarding experience, Simcox knows the ocean can be a dangerous place.
The program was started in 1963 with an inaugural class of 24 boys. This year, 1,200 boys and girls ages 9 to 17 will spend eight weeks learning water safety and lifesaving techniques, making the program one of the largest in the country.
While not all junior lifeguards will go on to be the real thing, many do. Simcox estimates that 70 percent of the lifeguards on the beach today went through the junior lifeguard program.

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