I saw an article in MacLean’s about what they call the Heroes of Summer, in particular swim instructors. It reminded me of how I made my pocket money in the summers starting in my mid-teens as a lifeguard and later also as an instructor. I was hired the summer I was 14 as an (very junior) assistant lifeguard, the upside of which was that I had a summer job before going back to school for grade 9 which made my parents very happy. The downside was that I was working all the time while most of my friends were goofing off and playing, as 14 year-olds are prone to do in July and August. I became a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor which allowed me to teach swimming, which was more involved than just being a lifeguard. I worked with all age groups from pre-schoolers right up to a class we called “terribly terrified adults”. There were, and I’m sure still are today, those people who never did learn how to swim. They either never took the time or else have what is termed Aquaphobia, a fear of water at some psychological level. This can make them hesitant to even get into a boat or onto a ship, let alone go in the water at a lake, the ocean, or into a pool. It was gratifying to work with someone twice your age who you had to coax into the shallow end of a pool at first and then gradually, by the end of the lessons, watch them dog-paddling unassisted across the deep end. Anyone who can overcome their fear of water and become confident in at least a basic ability to swim open themselves up to more opportunities for fun and recreation at any time, especially in the summer.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.