Team of Lifeguards Take Their Job Seriously

Kalmo Beach is once again open for the summer, and the team in the photo above is ready to provide local residents of all ages with a great summer experience. From the left, we have: Lee-Anne Menard, an 18-year old Valley Girl who is beginning her 2nd year as a lifeguard at Kalmo Beach. She is entering her 2nd year in the Paramedic Program at College Boreal in the fall. Next to her is Elise Gervais, a 19 year old Valley Girl who is beginning her 1st year on the beach. Elise attends Laurentian University where she will be entering the 3rd year Bio-Med program in the fall. Paige McNicoll, sitting on duty at the top of the chair, is a 19 year old Capreol Girl who is in her 2nd year at Kalmo Beach. Paige is entering her 2nd year of studies at Cambrian College in the fall. Bryan Forbes, the only full-time male on the team, is a 17 year old Valley resident who is in his 1st year on the beach. Bryan attends Bishop Alexander Carter Secondary School and will be entering his graduating year in the fall. Rounding out the group is Christine Lebeau, a 19 year old Valley Girl who is in her 2nd year at Kalmo Beach. Christine will be entering the 3rd Year of the Science Psychology program at Laurentian University in the fall. Two other part-time members of the staff who were not on duty the day the photo was taken, are Ron Arbour, a 17 year old Grade 12 student from Ecole Secondaire Hanmer and Miquael Burnet.

Kalmo Beach is open seven days a week from now until August 28. The beach will be supervised between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.. Between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. there will be a total of three lifeguards on duty. At all other times there will be two. All lifeguards must be extremely well qualified to apply for the position. In addition, they all attend an in-service training session every Tuesday morning at the Main Beach in Bell Park from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.. All four girls in the photo also work at the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre as lifeguards and instructors during the school year.

The beach house contains changeroom and washroom facilities as well as a staff office which is used by the lifeguards when they are "out of the chair". A phone is available for use if necessary to call for assistance of any kind. However, all lifeguards are qualified to handle any kind of emergency which may come up at the beach.

According to Paige, "This is the best job ever. We get to be outdoors all summer long and we have fun with so many people who come here."

Lee-Ann explained, "I would say that 95% of our job is injury prevention. We watch to make sure that none of the swimmers will be endangering themselves or others around them. It is just a matter of people using common sense and not being careless or disrespectful of others."

"Discipline hasn't really been a problem, and we don't expect much," said Bryan. "If someone is acting up, we give them a warning. If they don't listen, we tell them to leave the beach. It's pretty simple. We do not tolerate any kind of activity that will ruin the fun for anyone else. If anyone continues to give us problems, we just get on the phone and call the police."

Elise pointed out that the job comes with a lot of responsibility, especially when the crowds get over 74 during the hot summer days. "When there are over 74 people on the beach, we have three guards on duty. Usually we have two in the chairs and one person is walking around or in the water on a paddle board. When it is that busy you have to be constantly looking for anyone who is displaying out of the ordinary behaviour."

Christine spoke for all guards when she explained, "We are not babysitters. It is important for parents to remember that when they come to the beach, they have to keep an eye on their own children, especially toddlers. We ask all parents to keep their babies within arm's reach. It doesn't take very long for a young child to drown, so when parents let their children run up and down in the shallow water, we hold our breath in anticipation. The instant a child trips and falls face first into the water, we get set to spring into action."

Kalmo Beach has an outstanding safety record, largely because of the excellent supervision policies implemented by the lifeguards. Park Foreman, Larry Pederson, drops in every day to see how everything is going with the guards. They appreciate what Larry does to help maintain the facilities in proper running order.

There is currently no concession service at Kalmo Beach, so the guards advise people to bring plenty to drink when they come. If they are going to have a picnic, the guards ask that everyone clean up their own areas in order to keep the beach spotless. Plenty of suntan lotion and sunscreen is also recommended.


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