Yesterday, I was doing some reflecting and I realized that I have been an active lifeguard for 30 years.
I remember getting a phone call from Tuscarora Inn, informing me that if I was to acquire my lifeguard certification (back then it was still Advanced Lifesaving), they would love to have me work as their lifeguard that summer. And so, the summer of my junior year of high school, I worked in the Delaware River Valley.
I learned a great deal that summer, about people, life and more about people. It was definitely a defining summer. In that, I gained a great deal........
AND by being encouraged to pursue this certification I laid the foundation for a future in aquatics and coaching and teaching.
-- I have served as lifeguard on various beaches, waterfronts, pools, and have guarded a variety of events including triathlons, open-water swims, and a movie shoot.
-- I am able to train lifeguards. (Yup, earned a different certification).
-- I improved my swimming skills and strength. Prior, I had little interest in lap swimming.
-- I currently serve as the Open Water Sanctions Chair for the New England Chapter of US Master's Swimming.
-- I became a swim instructor.
- I have served as a swim coach, and currently coach triathletes and open-water swimmers.
It has been an awesome adventure, and I am grateful that someone saw my potential even when I did not. I am grateful that I was asked to serve in this role. It helped me become a stronger leader and role model.
Summer is here. As you frequent beaches and pools, remember to thank your lifeguards. These young people are keeping you safe.