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Junior Lifeguard

If you love to swim and care about the safety of others, find your purpose as a Junior Lifeguard! Gain the technical and interpersonal skills required of a lifeguard and learn about water safety and swim instruction. Graduates of this program will build confidence and improve leadership skills in and out of the pool and have the opportunity to be a Y lifeguard in the future! 

The Junior Lifeguards (ages 14 - 15) are aquatics leaders in training. They will have opportunities to learn from lifeguards, enjoy fellowship with their peers and have fun while at YMCA aquatics facilities. The Junior Lifeguards will receive aquatics, leadership and professional training that challenges them to grow as individuals, serve their aquatic programs and build community by acting as positive role models.

Additionally, participants will learn how to prepare a resume and go through a mock interview so they are ready to apply for YMCA staff opportunities when they turn 16!  

Junior Lifeguards are not staff members. They are participants supervised by head lifeguards and/or program coordinators.  

Who is this program for? 

Anyone who are ages 14 and 15 years of age (as of the dates of the program)

How many hours is the training program? 

Approximately 40 hours 

What certifications will 14/15-year-old participants have the opportunity to complete? 

  • 14-year-old: American Red Cross Junior Lifeguarding Certificate*  
    *Can be upgraded to Red Cross LG Certificate with additional training and meeting age requirements 
  • 15-year-old: CPR for Professional Rescuers, First Aid, Oxygen, American Red Cross Lifeguarding Certificate* 
    *Upon turning 16, can apply to become a YMCA staff member 

What additional training and skills will be covered? 

  • Listen First
  • Resume Writing
  • Interviewing Skills 

What happens after training is completed? 

Participants will be responsible for completing 40 service hours. Participants will use a Junior Lifeguard Service Hours Tracker to manage their service record. Service hours must be completed within three months of the training program.

What responsibilities will the participants have? 

  • Welcome members
  • Pool deck engagement
  • Monitoring water slides (in addition to lifeguard supervision)
  • Water watching (*NOT LIFEGUARDING)


Before entering Junior Lifeguarding (age 14), participants must demonstrate the following skills: 

  • Swim the front crawl for 25 yards continuously while breathing to the front or side. 
  • Swim the breaststroke for 25 yards using a pull, breathe, kick and glide sequence. 
  • Complete the water competency sequence without stopping. 
    -Step into water from the side and totally submerge. 
    -Maintain position for one minute by treading water or floating (or a combination of the two). 
    -Rotate one full turn and orient to the exit. 
    -Level off and swim on the front or back 25 yards. 
    -Exit without using a ladder or steps. 

Before entering Junior Lifeguarding (age 15), participants must demonstrate the following skills: 

  • Must be at least 15 years old on or before the last day of class
  • Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing
  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs
  • Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds:
    -Starting in the water, swim 20 yards
    -Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object
    -Surface and swim 20 yards on back with both hands holding object
    -Exit the water without using a ladder or steps

Participants should be prepared to bring:

  • Bathing suit
  • Goggles
  • Towel
  • Flip-flops
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • YMCA-issued t-shirt, whistle and hip pack 


Sign up for Summer 2024 through the Finley Day Camp CILTs registration page for week two. During camp registration, be sure to opt-in to the Junior Lifeguard program.

Branch Contacts

A.E. Finley YMCA: Meagan Smith
Additional locations TBA