To the Rescue


These are some items used in the lifeguarding program to teach the kids how to properly do their job.

Lilah Nelson

Anne Downey, is one of our Lake Central Life Savings instructors. She trains kids in CPR, AED, first aid kit and water safety among patrons along with Mrs. Arehart. Downey talks about the shortage of lifeguards and why it’s so important to take this class. “There’s a shortage of lifeguards because not many people want to be in charge of saving a life. Water activities have become more popular which causes more pressure as a lifeguard,” Downey said.

Downey explains that the class may be challenging at first and that the training may push past your comfort zone.

“People often get intimidated on the first day of class but if they stick with it, they often learn and mentally and physically become better in the water. I have had kids come to class at first with little to no skill in the water and often aren’t very good but then they train and by the end of the semester they are one of my best lifeguards,” Downey said.

Downey teaches the pool class for Lake Central during the summer and throughout the school year. Downey often recognised a good student during class helping her pick out the kids she wants to inform about the lifeguarding program.   

“We usually recruit people we think are strong swimmers during pool class so if they’re on the fence about being a lifeguard they might have extra confidence,” Downey said.  

Downey wants students thinking about taking the class or students already taking the class to realize the importance of the job.

“Kids sometimes think being a lifeguard is just a label, standing around and that’s it. But when they take this class they realize it’s so much more than that,” Downey said.

Downey gives advice to lifeguards, making sure that they are confident in their tasks and that they know they can make a difference even in the smallest of ways.

“Trust in your training, know your limitations and know what you are capable of so you can protect yourself and others,” Downey said.

Karen Arehart is a Lake Central Life Savings instructor alongside with Mrs.Downey training kids in CPR, AED, first aid kit and water safety among patrons. Arehart informs us on the shortage of lifeguards and the commitment a person has to make in this job carrying the training with you as a positive life lesson.

“Primarily why lifeguarding is important [is because] it saves lives. A good lifeguard is someone who knows their job and the importance of their job and  how there job is the first best defense for drowning,” Arehart said.

Arehart goes into detail about what a lifeguard may have to do on the job and why there is a shortage of lifeguards around the nation.

“Training the guard to react to certain situations. Making sure they understand what actions they need to take. I don’t think this class is for everyone. When you become certified you are pretty secure in getting a job. There’s a shortage of lifeguards across the nation.There is a shortage of lifeguards because people don’t think about it, it’s a job that people outgrow,” Arehart said.

Arehart explains the situations a lifeguard may be put in and what personal aspects a lifeguard will have to overcome to do this job.

“You have to understand that you could be a part of an emergency. It’s a hard thing to have people’s lives in your hands. You have to be prepared just as mentally as physically. If you’re not the talkative person, lifeguarding brings that out of you. It makes your instincts become more reactive,” Arehart said.

Arehart talks more about team building and why she trains her students to trust in our training so when they have to react to a problem they know what to do.

“It’s good hearing that our training did them well in their job. “Communication and team building” is a huge part in lifeguarding. Many times you can be a single guard but have other lifeguards depending on the facility or situation. You are a part of your safety team. Even the EMT’s need to be able to understand what the situation is. You have to be a good problem solver. Lifeguarding gives you skills even for later in life. It’s a great job to have even if you don’t end up being a lifeguard. It’s a good life lesson to have,” Arehart said.  

Maggie Depiro a, junior at Lake Central, trained to be a lifeguard her sophomore year. She delves into what was required of her in the class and what is required of her now being a certified lifeguard at a facility. She talks about what benefits came out of taking the class and why she liked it so much.

“I think lifeguarding is important because accidents like drowning are the leading cause of death in young children. Your job as a lifeguard is to prevent these types of things from happening, [while] also encouraging water safety among patrons,” Depiro said.

Maggie remembers what got her into lifeguarding and her long history with the water.

“I loved the water from a young age. I have been swimming in my backyard pool since I was young. I also have been a competitive swimmer since I was very young, starting on the Lake Central Barracudas and then swimming for Lake Central’s high school team. It seemed natural for the next step to train to be a lifeguard and become certified in CPR, AED, first aid and life savings,” Depiro said.

Maggie enthusiastically talks about the instructors and what she enjoyed about taking the class.

“Tonkovich did a great job certifying lifeguards and I think Downey and Arehart did a great job taking on such a big task. Life Savings was the class that I looked forward to every day. I loved the atmosphere at the pool and I made a lot of friends that I wouldn’t have made otherwise. You aren’t just sitting and listening in a classroom you are actively learning by physically practicing the skills,” Depiro said.

Maggie shares the different places she’s lifeguarded for.

“I’ve lifeguarded for Lake Central Learn to Swim, birthday parties at the LC pool, age group swim meets, and at Youche Country Club in Crown Point,” Depiro said.

Maggie talks about what she loves about lifeguarding and the fears she does have knowing that it is an important job to have giving advice for future lifeguards.

“The best part for me is knowing that I’m able to help people. There is a fear of a major incident, but if you are thrown into a situation, it is good to trust in your training. For future lifeguards training for LC or kids thinking about taking the class, make sure to have fun, but take your job seriously and know that it’s important,” Depiro said.