By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Junior Lifeguard Program recently announced its approval to return for the summer and invited Pacific Palisades youth to participate.
The 2020 Junior Lifeguard Program did not run due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year will begin on Monday, June 21. The program is accepting applications through Friday, April 30.
When applications close, the program will select applicants at random to continue with the enrollment and swim testing process.
Returning Junior Lifeguards, or those who completed the 2019 program and previously registered for summer 2020, are eligible to participate in the 2021 program and do not need to re-test.
Local beaches the program serves include Will Rogers State Beach, Zuma, Santa Monica and Venice.
The program’s return was announced five weeks after LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn asked LAFD to explore ways to safely resume. She motioned the request at the Tuesday, February 9, Board of Supervisors meeting—which passed unanimously.
The motion directed LAFD, in consultation with Public Health and the Office of Emergency Management, to report back in 30 days with public safety protocols and information required to resume the Junior Lifeguard Program.
“This is one of those programs that really opens up doors for kids,” Hahn said to the Palisadian-Post. “You would be surprised by how many of our LA County Lifeguards got their start as Junior Guards. This program means so much to so many families. I knew if we could figure out a way to do it safely, we owed it to our kids to get the Junior Lifeguard Program back up and running this year.”
Public health measures that will be implemented include a reduction of the student-to-instructor ratio of 20:1 to allow for 3,100 program participants compared to previous 4,300 participants with a 30:1 ratio, and a physical distancing minimum of six feet.
Instructors and participants will be required to wear face coverings when they are not swimming, eating or drinking. Health and temperature screenings of instructors and participants will happen at the start of each day.
Open to youth in LA County, the program is designed to instruct ages 9 through 17 in beach and ocean skills.
The program provides instruction in water safety, swimming, body surfing, surfing, physical conditioning, competition skills, first aid, lifesaving, rescue techniques, CPR and the use of professional lifesaving equipment.
The fee for the Junior Lifeguard Program is $535, according to the website. A uniform is included in the fee, and all participants will receive a Junior Lifeguard T-shirt and swimsuit, either a navy blue Speedo one-piece or a pair of navy blue custom board shorts. Participants will also receive a face mask with their uniform.
For more information or to apply, visit fire.lacounty.gov/junior-lifeguard-program.
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