Teens as lifeguards - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Teens as lifeguards

May 28, 2006

Albany - - Summer-time usually means work for many teenagers. While many choose to work in fast food restaurants and grocery stores, some choose to spend their summers saving people's lives. 

As children take a break from the heat and splash in the pool, their eyes are watching from up above.

"People think that you're just sitting by the pool and relaxing but its not like that." 11th grader, Amanda Burnette knows first hand. She's been swimming competitively for years. And since being a lifeguard runs in her family, she decided to give it a shot.

"It's fun in the sense that you get to interact with the kids too and that's pretty cool to me."

 But in order to have this fun, you have to go through extensive training - 50 hours of swim tests, endurance training and drowning rescues.

"It's great life skills. They learn a lot they have a little more certification than working fast food or mowing the grass all summer so it gives them more education, gets them ready for life," says Beth Satterfiled of the YMCA.

Satterfield says the majority of her lifeguards each summer are teeenagers. She hires about 30 a year ranging in age from 16 to 22 years old.

John Paul Peters just graduated from high school. This is a job he needs right now.

"College coming up, I need money of course."

So he comes to work with a smile knowing that his job is more than a day at the pool.

"Out here knowing that anyone can die at any second so you got to be prepared at any moment."

And as he heads to college, he'll be a step ahead of many of his peers. He'll have certification to be a lifeguard anywhere. 

According to the Safe Kids Organization, drowning is one of the top two causes of accidental death among children 14 and under. 48 % of drowning deaths nationwide occur in the South.

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