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The Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Saint John. Image: uptownsj.com

Students get extra credit from lifeguard training

By Regis Phillips Feb 27, 2024 | 12:33 PM

The Canada Games Aquatic Centre has a new innovative initiative with Simonds High School (SHS) that lets students attend a new lifeguard certification program.

Aquatics Manager Ben Tremblay said students have an opportunity to earn certifications in bronze medallion, bronze cross and emergency first aid, paving the way for future work as lifeguards or other career paths.

“For the first session, which is the bronze medallion and bronze cross, for the medallion, they have an age requirement of 13, so I believe they are just allowing Grade 10 students for this first go, and then next year the plan is to get the national lifeguard course set up in the school so that would be the targeted at Grade 11 to 12 so you have to be 15 and have completed the bronze medallion and bronze cross,” said Tremblay.

“There are tonnes of branches off of lifeguarding that can create career options so getting into more of the advanced instructional components whether it first aid or national lifeguard for beaches and water parks.

“It also develops just very strong responsibilities and life skills because you’re supervising and ensuring many people are safe. You are working in a team, you have this responsibility, so you kind of learn these skills that can translate but there also are aquatic-based career paths that you can build off of from having the lifeguard certification.”

Tremblay said a big factor in partnering with Simonds High is due to the school’s swimming pool and hopes other high schools in the Saint John region can partner together in the future.

“At SHS, we are fortunate to have a four-lane swimming pool that, because of our partnership with the Canada Games Aquatic Centre, our students will have the opportunity to participate in lifesaving aquatic programs at the direction of our skilled and trained teachers,” said Principal Jennifer Carhart.

“Not only does this foster leadership and employability skills in our youth but it also diversifies their learning while providing our teachers the chance to engage with youth doing something they are all passionate about.

“None of this would have been possible without the tenacity and dedication of the teachers coupled with the support of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre.”

This program is integrated into the school curriculum, allowing students to take the courses as part of their regular schoolwork. Courses are led by Simonds High School teachers trained by the aquatic centre.

Upon completing all requirements, students will receive certifications that qualify them to work at the Aquatic Centre, marking the first steps toward fulfilling a lifeguarding career.