Fylde’s first wave of young Rookie Lifeguards were awarded their bronze certificates and lifeguard whistles at YMCA St Annes Pool & Gym, marking their achievements in learning to save lives in and out of the water.
25 youngsters aged 8 to 14, have been attending the Rookie Programme each week since its launch at the centre in November. The Rookie Lifeguard Programme encourages young swimmers to improve their swimming ability while teaching them the skills, understanding and confidence needed to save the lives of others in and out of the water.
Awarded through the Royal Life Saving Society, the bronze stage 1 certificate is recognition of their progress in learning essential lifesaving skills such as placing a casualty in the recovery position, checking airways, basic first aid, reach rescue using a pole and how to recognise the different types of casualties in the water.
James Wheelhouse, Manager of YMCA St Annes Pool and Rookie Programme Instructor said: “We were desperate to launch the programme here. Living where we do, it’s vital that Fylde Coast youngsters learn to swim and with this programme as a fun educational pathway on from swimming lessons we are training strong swimmers and our lifesavers of the future too.”
He continued: “More parents are telling us they want their children to continue to enjoy and benefit from swimming as a regular activity and due to this demand in such a short time we are now adding a new Friday evening programme in February.”
YMCA introduced the life saving programme into the Fleetwood pool in 2013. The numbers of participants has more than quadrupled from 25 to 110 and due to the high demand YMCA plan to roll out to all Fylde Coast pools by mid February.
Through the Rookie Programme, youngsters can also then go on to be employed as Lifeguards from the age of 16.
Beverley Mitchell, mum to Lucy age 12 said: “Lucy loves to swim and has completed lots of swimming badges through swimming lessons. In doing the Rookie lifesaving challenge Lucy is staying active and fit. She is really enjoying the course, learning lots of new skills and making new friends.”
Isla and Aiden Johnson’s Mum, Andrea added: “It really is the next progression for them. They get in the car after and all the way home they’re chattering about what they’ve learned during the session. The structure works well as they are learning these important skills by interacting with each other and the sessions always end in pure fun.”
These Rookies are now working up to their bronze stages 2 and 3 and will continue through Silver and up to Gold.
Contact the team at YMCA St Annes Pool & Gym on 01253 722986 or for more information on Rookie Lifeguard Programmes at other YMCA pools visit ymcayactive.org/rookie