Saturday, May 7, 2011
Parts 5 & 6: History of Junior Lifeguarding, by Bob Burnside
Part 5 New Zealand
Where and when did it start?
Youth Training Program was formed in the 1940,s at Canterbury, North Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, South Island, New Zealand. This was a basic course which train younger men to prepare for summer volunteer work with the surf club. In the 1960's, at South Brighton and Mount Mauganui Surf Clubs, the first “Nipper” program was established.
New Zealand Surf Lifesaving Association’s National Body then established a true National Program for all Clubs to embrace in 1981. It was derived from a lifeguard manual that John Thomas wrote on his return from the first lifeguard exchange program between California and the Auckland Surf Life Saving Association. This program was initially developed by Peter Fitzsimmons and was known as the Metropolitan Life Assurance Youth Training Scheme. Mr. Jim Campbell, was appointed to coordinate and promote the project. By 1985, New Zealand had over 2000 Nippers. Competition for these youngsters, was not allowed until they reached the age of 14 years, thus ensuring that basic skills in water safety would be the main focal point.
The history of the New Zealand programs, have been published by Ivan Jackson, author, in his book, “The Sand Between My Toes.” New Zealand’s Nipper program continues to grow rapidly with each passing year and has, like so many others, joined the community even closer to the Surf Lifesaving Movement and awareness of water safety.
Part 6 MEXICO
Where and when did it all begin?
Junior Salvavidas de Mexico
The first Mexican Junior Lifeguard Program, originated in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico at Puerto Escondido Playa. The United States Lifesaving Association’s, Club Tortuga, engaged in water safety development throughout Mexico. So, in 1996, the Club Tortugas established with the newly formed Salvavidas the first basic junior lifeguard program in Mexico. It was an every other day program run exclusively by the Salvavidas, and was warmly applauded by the community and became a major force in recognizing all the many things lifeguards had to offer the community they served. Thus, in 2001, the Oaxacan Governor's wife, Senora Guadalupe Murat, mandated an expansion of the Junior Lifeguard programs to the professional level and established funding for it and the entire lifeguard corps… This was a major step forward for Mexico, as it now became the first Government subsidized lifeguard operation… that encompassed training juniors lifeguards also.
The idea of a Junior Lifeguard Program in Tijuana started in 2007, following the Oaxacan program; some Tijuana Lifeguards participated in the JG Programs of several Southern California lifeguard services (Imperial Beach, Silver Strand and Coronado). The 2008 Tijuana JG Program exceeded their expectations and in 2009 they are ready to accept up to 60 participants from 9 to 16 years of age. The program is a safe and fun way to teach the participants swimming, lifeguarding and first aid skills along with information on how to respect the beach and the ocean environment. Hopefully some of the participants will become lifeguards in the future.
Participants must swim 100 meters, float 5 minutes and swim 9 meters underwater.
*Added note: Mexico becomes the first Nation to establish Handicapped Junior Lifeguard Program. In 1995 ,Joaquine Venado, The Club Tortugas/USLA, Oaxacan Liaison to that group’s outreach programs, accepted the position to develop a new programs in the region. During this period with the help of Ana Johansen, the director of the Pina Palmera Disabled Children’s Hospital in Zipolite, he developed the world's first disabled Junior Lifeguard Program with Pina Palmera Children's Hospital, and established the first Mexican Lifeguard Championship at Zipolite Beach. During the Category 5 Hurricane Pauline, in 1997, which devastated the coastal areas of Oaxaca, these young Salvavidas that had finished this initial course, saved 20 children that could not walk or who were too young to escape from certain death. They received a States commendation for their heroic efforts. The Club Tortugas continues to support the concept, for all nations to establish a Handicapped Program, in conjunction with their regular Junior Lifeguard Programs.
Until next time.....
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