HTA Teams Up to Support Junior Lifeguard Program
To inspire Hawaiʻi’s next generation of watermen and waterwomen and help improve water safety statewide, the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority has teamed up with certified lifeguards on the counties of Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island to offer the Junior Lifeguard Program.
The Junior Lifeguard Program teaches Hawaiʻi children essential ocean safety skills, helps build their confidence and promotes the value of protecting and preserving ocean resources. Many graduates of the program have put their training into life-saving action, rescuing people who have gotten into trouble in Hawaiʻi’s waters. Many of Hawaiʻi’s professional lifeguards decided to make it their career after completing the junior lifeguard program.
George D. Szigeti, HTA President and CEO said, “The safety of residents and visitors is our number one priority, which is why we are supporting the Junior Lifeguard Program and wanting to see it flourish on all islands. Hawaiʻi’s lifeguards are the best in the world. By teaching the youths of today, this will help ensure their water safety skills and knowledge is carried forth for generations to come.”
HTA is funding the program with $200,000, which pays for the instructors and equipment, such as tubes, surfboards and tents, to operate the program statewide this summer. The funds are being managed by the North Shore Lifeguard Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with disbursements being made to lifeguard groups operating the program in each county.
The Junior Lifeguard Program is free and open to all kids, ages 12-17 years old. The one-week training sessions will take place at community beach locations throughout Hawaiʻi. Openings are still available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, interested participants can visit the following links for respective counties: City and County of Honolulu; North Shore Lifeguard Association; County of Maui; County of Kauaʻi; County of Hawaiʻi West Hawaiʻi: Chris Stelfox, (808) 327-3570 (o) or (808) 938-4295 (m); and County of Hawaiʻi East Hawaii: John Baehr, (808) 961-8689 (o) or (808) 756-7827 (m).
The Junior Lifeguard Program compliments the state and county’s recently launched beach safety online program that provides timely information on surf, weather and safety conditions at lifeguarded beaches statewide.