The junior lifeguard camp returns to Panama City Beach
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Swimming, paddling, running, and more are all skills lifeguards need.
And you may have noticed lifeguards in Panama City Beach were a bit younger this week.
“It’s kids age 9-15,” Wil Spivey, Beach Safety Director, said. “It’s a week long class, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.”
Panama City Beach Rescue hosted a junior lifeguard camp this week.
At this camp, kids go through all the basics of beach safety and lifeguarding.
“From running, swimming, paddling, performing rescues,” Spivey said. “We learn about rip currents. We learn about beach flags. We learn about marine life.”
The goal of the camp is to teach kids how to be safe at the beach and teach others, but before campers started their training, they had tryouts.
“We just got to make sure the kids can swim,” Spivey said. “It’s physically demanding, but it’s also very rewarding.”
A typical day for the junior life guards includes stretching and warm ups and they even get to play fun beach games.
One of the more challenging events is an activity called the Gauntlet.
“it’s about a 200 yard swim, a quarter mile run, and a 200 yard paddle,” Spivey said. “It’s kind of like a lifeguard triathlon.”
The purpose of the Gauntlet is to be trained to save lives.
“When it comes to beach safety and life guarding, when someone is in trouble in the water, the quicker you can get to them can make a huge difference,” Spivey said.
Junior lifeguards learn all sorts of things, but the best part may be the belief in themselves.
“It’s seeing kids doing things that maybe they weren’t sure they could do,” Spivey said. “When we go out a little deeper in the water than they have been before or the first time a kid catches a wave.”
The camp is training the next generation to keep others safe in and out of the water.
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