Junior Lifeguards Back in Training at Will Rogers

A group of ‘B’ level guards (ages 12-13) sprint to the ocean to begin their Junior Lifeguards training session last week at Will Rogers State Beach
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

For most kids, summer vacation is the time to soak up some sun and have fun with friends.

At Will Rogers State Beach, however, this is the time for aspiring lifeguards to learn how to swim, paddle and body surf in the Los Angeles County Junior Lifeguards Program.

Fifteen-year-old Ben Baak, an ‘A’ level guard, rides a wave to shore on his surfboard in a Junior Lifeguards training session last week at Will Rogers State Beach.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Session 1 began June 19 and ends today. A second session will start Monday and run through August 18. There are two classes every day (Monday through Friday), a morning class from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and an afternoon class from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

There are about 240 boys and girls (ages 9-17) enrolled in the morning and 60 in the afternoon at Will Rogers, where they learn all aspects of ocean safety, including physical conditioning, first aid, rescue techniques, CPR and the use of professional life-saving equipment.

Will Rogers guards are also  preparing for the upcoming Taplin Relays, when they will compete against teams from other Southland beaches.

‘A’ level guard Charles Nance, 14, runs back to the beach.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

‘A’ level guards are typically 14-17 years old; ‘B’ guards are 12-13 and ‘C’ guards are 9-11.

‘A’ level guard Annie Biggs, 14, emerges from the water.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

If they train hard and long enough, kids may become Cadets. Cadets are junior lifeguards who are being groomed to become real  lifeguards. They operate under the supervision of an instructor and are expected to lead younger JGs in practical and physical skills. They must be 16 or 17 years old and should have participated in the JG Program for at least two years. Potential Cadets must pass a pool swim test (500 yards in under seven minutes) and be CPR certified.

Call (310) 939-7214 for more information about the program.