If you have ever been to Strands Beach in Dana Point on a weekday in the summer, then you are absolutely familiar with the white rashguarded, hard charging, under 15, swarm of happiness that are the OC Junior Guards! I got a chance to hit the sand and check out their end of session “Vitamin Day”, a friendly competition where the kids use their knowledge gained in the prior weeks to complete in a series of land and water challenges… needless to say it was AMAZING!!!!! I can’t even deny it, these kids are so stoked on the ocean you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement of it. By the end of our day, I was starting to hope that Dan Werner, head of the JG program at Strands, would create a session for adults!
Watching these shorties go from a deep sand beach run, to a boogie board paddle through the shore pound, around a buoy positioned outside the surfline, back in through the surf to another beach run, back into the water for a swim back through the shore pound, beyond the surfline, around a buoy, back in to bodysurf to the beach, to, FINALLY, another beach run to collapse in the sand… kidding, they don’t collapse… they all high five each other and cheer on the kids coming in behind them. It is truly an impressive site! Especially seeing them get so stoked for each other. The chatter in the sand was all about how much faster, stronger, more confident their fellow JG’s had gotten in the past weeks. Lots of great character amongst these kids.
Don’t think that the only thing the JG’s are learning is how to traverse the sea on a physical level through activities like boogie boarding, surfing, body whomping with Waterhawks, and swimming. Not even close. Dan’s program is most certainly not babysitting at the beach with water sports. The kids are given a top rate education in Oceanogrophy, recognizing ocean hazards, reading tides and surface conditions, spotting hazards like rip currents, first aid, noticing persons in peril, effective communications with first responders, and more importantly, citizenship skills like environmental ecology, and basic ocean etiquette. If you are a parent of a JG age child, doesn’t this sound like a way better way for them to spend a few weeks each summer, than at home online?? It’s an education that will last them long after their obsessive love for Snapchat has faded.
We want to thank Dan and the crew for having us down for the day. We came back to the office inspired by the strength of the youth we met. They showed that they were actively learning to not only have a strong heart for competition, but a strong heart for keeping the Ocean healthy for the generations to come behind them. We have only one Earth and it was exciting to see so many kids actively engaged in experiencing it in real, not virtual, life. Special thanks to the parents for sharing their time with us as well, you have raised some pretty great kids! To learn more about the OC Junior Guard program and to get your own family involved, Click HERE. We look forward to sponsoring this camp for years to come!!
|OC Junior Guards is operated by OC Lifeguards, the marine safety authority for the County of Orange since 1990. OC Lifeguards strives to educate the public and raise marine safety awareness both on and off the beach through its lifeguards’ daily interaction with beach visitors and through its marine safety education programs. We strongly believe that with proper education and understanding of ocean hazards and conditions, most accidents at the beach can be prevented or avoided. Whether a student is interested in ocean sports such as surfing, paddling, swimming, and diving, or aspires to become a professional ocean lifeguard, the OC Junior Guard program will prepare them with the knowledge, skills, respect for the ocean, and confidence needed to safely explore their interests in the ocean environment.|