The 2018 season of the Access to Water Activities and Readiness Education (AWARE) program is underway! Over 100 youth participants, ages 9-17, enjoyed instruction in lifeguarding basics at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center in the City of Commerce on March 29 and April 3, 2018. The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) Lifeguard Division and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation partnered with the City of Commerce to host AWARE, a program created to introduce youth to the many opportunities available in their respective Junior Lifeguard (JLG) programs.
Lifeguards from both County agencies reviewed “Sidewalk CPR” with their classes and introduced them to the proper and efficient use of a Rescue Board, Rescue Cans and Rescue Tubes, and to proper buoy and effective open water swimming techniques.
In the pool, many young people took a time trial to get a better sense of how to be prepared for the upcoming JLG swim tests. Instructors provided guidance on an accessible pathway for the participants to become a JLG for LACoFD or Parks and Recreation.
“Each of the lifeguards took the time speak about their job and the Junior Lifeguard program. The results? Young people already in the program became more committed to a career in lifeguarding…(and those) brought by their parents to the event asked their parents to sign them up. Kids need to look, feel, experience. Our pool should host one of these AWARE events next year with all the bells and whistles,” commented one parent.
Most of the young participants came from Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis’ First District — a region that spans from downtown L.A. to Pomona and from Eagle Rock to South Gate. The AWARE program is working to assist young people from this and other previously underrepresented regions in becoming future junior lifeguards.