Fingers poised over keyboards, watching the clock. A few more minutes and the site opens. You type in all your information quickly and submit the form. Success, you made it just in time before the site shows “sold out.”

So, what is it? Comic-Con? A Rolling Stones concert? The Beatles Revival?

While those answers are strong possibilities, in actuality this was the scene, as it is every year, when the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Program opened its reservation site. Every year, kids throughout San Diego wait anxiously to see if their parents secured them a spot. Kids get excited to spend summer at the beach with their Junior Guard friends.

In the summer of 2007, two timid, unathletic, 9-year-old girls, Joelle Schauer and Emma Moore,joined the division of the Junior Guards for 9 to 11 year olds. Every summer they worked their way up in the Junior Guard program to Cadet level, until both were both offered internship positions.

Photo courtesy of San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation
Photo courtesy of San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation

“The mutual challenges and triumphs we experienced at Junior Guards strengthened our friendship and allowed us to remain friends throughout the changes in our lives,” Moore and Schauer wrote in a Junior Guard newsletter article last year. “Both of us have different strengths and weaknesses, and through Junior Guards we have been able to support and encourage each other in the areas in which we struggle, and in those where we excel.”

After high school, Moore plans on attending college somewhere she can race competitively. She wants to study sports medicine or physical therapy because Junior Guards taught her how important fitness is.

Schauer’s plan after high school is to attend college and medical school to become a doctor in a third-world country. She wants to graduate from the Lifeguard Academy so she can be a seasonal lifeguard and to save lives.

The San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation knows that not everyone has the resources to participate in this program, but everyone deserves the chance to be safe around water and learn “skills for life.” By using grants and scholarships, the foundation is working toward the bigger picture of Waterproofing San Diego.

Tarik Smith teaching a class how to swim.
Photo courtesy of San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation

Tarik Smith was a Junior Guard scholarship recipient and intern for the Junior Guard program. Today, he uses the skills he learned through San Diego Junior Guards to teach swim classes at The Jackie Robinson YMCA.

The foundation’s Waterproofing San Diego program reached more than 15,000 people last year through its three pronged approach to aquatic safety with free aquatic safety lectures, swim lessons and a day at the beach for underserved youth.

Photo courtesy of San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation

What’s your story? Where are you now? We want to hear from you. How did being a San Diego Junior Guard help you get where you are today? Banker? CEO? Teacher? Barista? Email to share your story.

Share and relive those long summer days at the beach by joining the Junior Guards at one of the events planned this summer. It really does not get any better!

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