SWFD is training up their youngest lifeguards this summer

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SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB) — Although school is out for many, some children in South Walton are using this time to learn how to save lives on the beach.

SWFD has been training its junior lifeguards. Whether it is learning how to swim in rip currents, CPR, or even learning how to save lives, these kids are learning all of that in the junior lifeguard program.

SWFD wants beach-goers to be rip-current aware ahead of the holiday weekend

“I started doing juniors when I was 12 years old,” said SWFD Beach Safety Officer and Coach Brandon Brown.

Brown started his lifeguard journey back in 2019, after finding his love for rescuing.

“If I can get even just three of these kids hooked, that’s three more lifeguards in towers in five years,” said Brown.

Teaching them to take care of their gear is the first step Brown said. Since the beginning of the week, junior guards have simulated water rescues.

“We’ve learning how to wrap and unwrap a buoy and a tube, and swim with one and rescue people with one,” said 10-year-old junior guard Oliver Curtin. 

“We are learning how to ride the boards correctly, like either on your stomach paddling or your knees. I would say it is easier to do it on your stomach,” said another 10-year-old junior guard Grace Osiecki.

Osiecki hopes to help her family at the beach, after taking this summer program with her sister.

“If they can’t exactly get out of the water because they are struggling, I can just go help them,” she said.

For Brown, he is beyond proud of the progress he has seen so far this summer

“Some of them were barely passing the swim test, and you saw them,” said Brown. “They are now making water rescues.”

After talking to many of the children on Thursday, they said they would consider being a lifeguard in the future. To learn more about the SWFD junior programs, you can visit their website.

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