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YMCA of Snohomish County Celebrates Lifeguard Academy Graduates

EVERETT, Wa. February 7, 2023 — The first graduating class of the YMCA of Snohomish County’s Lifeguard Academy celebrated their accomplishments on Saturday, February 4 at the Everett Family YMCA. Seven students completed the comprehensive youth development program equipped with critical skills they can add to their resumes.

“We’re incredibly proud of our graduates,” said Thomas Wunderlich, YMCA of Snohomish County’s Association Director of Aquatics Advancement. “Watching them learn and grow throughout the program as they mastered water skills and developed confidence was very rewarding. They are ready for their first lifeguard role.”

Lifeguard Academy, designed for teens ages 15+, teaches lifeguard skills, as well as necessary leadership and communication skills to help them succeed both personally and professionally. The 10-week program meets three times a week and combines classroom and pool work.

“Every participant showed up to each session ready to work hard and learn,” said Riley Simpson, Everett Family YMCA Aquatics Coordinator. “They really worked together and supported each other as they overcame challenges in and out of the water.”

Graduates hold a nationally-recognized American Red Cross lifeguard certification, including CPR and first aid certifications. They also possess essential skills to assist in their job search.

“Through career-centered learning, participants learned how to communicate and interact with potential employers, created a cover letter and resume, and developed a professional social media profile,” said Kim Gaffney, YMCA of Snohomish County’s Executive Director Youth Leadership. “These skills will benefit them not only on their job search, but also in academics and other things they may pursue.”

Lifeguard Academy plans to eventually expand the program to all six YMCA locations, bringing this valuable opportunity to more teens in Snohomish County.

“Teaching lifeguard skills and empowering teens benefits the entire community,” said Simpson. “I’m so proud of these graduates and hope some day soon I can call them colleagues.”