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Health & Fitness Programs

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Lifeguarding Training & Certification

At the YMCA you can complete your aquatics leadership courses from Bronze Medallion to National Lifeguard. The YMCA offers Lifesaving Society courses year round and require registrations. Find out what it takes to earn your qualifications to be a trained lifeguard, certified to work anywhere in Canada. Reach out to your local YMCA to find out when you can register, get certified and start your career with the Y!

Advanced Aquatics & Certifications

Junior Lifeguard Club – The Junior Lifeguard Club (JLC) offers an action-packed program for kids who love the water but want more than lessons. The  Junior Lifeguard Club is for quick learners; those between levels or programs, who thrive in an energetic learning environment. Building on skills they already have, they will develop and improve swimming and other aquatic skills with emphasis on swimming skills, lifesaving skills, lifesaving knowledge, leadership and teamwork, community education, competition, and personal fitness. 

Prerequisite(s): Available to those 8 years or older. Must be able to swim at least 25m and tread water for 2 minutes.

Lifesaving Sport Fundamentals Program – The Lifesaving Sport Fundamentals program offers kids a recreational introduction to lifesaving sport skills while also giving them an opportunity to be active, promoting a healthy lifestyle. The program also teaches team building, fair play, ethics in sport and responsibility. The Lifesaving Sport Fundamentals program targets youth between the ages of 8-12 year old. 

Prerequisite(s): There are no prerequisites for this program.

Safeguard – The Safeguard course focuses on water safety awareness, accident prevention and the principles of aquatic safety supervision. Safeguard teaches participants how to identify hazards and at-risk behaviour’s, how to recognize potential victims, and how to respond safely in an aquatic emergency. 

Safeguard training is designed for swimmers and non-swimmers alike.  

Prerequisite(s): There are no prerequisites for this course.

Pre-Bronze – The Pre-Bronze course is a bridging course to help those ready to pursue Bronze courses (Bronze Star or Bronze Medallion) who feel they would benefit from more practice prior to enrolling in the Bronze-level courses. 

Prerequisite(s): There are no prerequisites for this course.

Bronze Star – The Bronze Star course is a Lifesaving Society (LSS) certification offered through the YMCA that will allow you to continue to build your aquatic safety skills. It is an advanced lifesaving course designed to prepare candidates for the next level of certification, Bronze Medallion. In Bronze Star, we emphasize rescue drills, fitness skills, and victim recognition. You will also learn CPR.
The course is ideal for those who have completed all levels of swimming lessons and who wish to continue to develop skills and prepare for lifeguarding and instruction. To take this course, we recommend you have experience in assisting with swimming lessons and with Swim Patrol.  

Prerequisite(s): There are no prerequisites for this course.

Bronze Medallion – The Bronze Medallion course is a Lifesaving Society (LSS) certification offered through the YMCA. The course emphasizes the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water rescue education: judgment, knowledge, skill, and fitness. Rescuers learn tows and carry as well as defense methods and releases, preparing themselves for challenging rescues of increased risk involving conscious and unconscious victims of various types. 

Prerequisite(s): To take this course, you must be 13 years or older, or have completed Bronze Star.

Bronze Cross – The Bronze Cross course is for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities. The course focuses on the principles of teamwork, procedures, and the use of special equipment.

Bronze Cross is a Lifesaving Society (LSS) certification offered through the YMCA. It is a prerequisite for all LS advanced training programs, including National Lifeguard and Instructor certifications (YMCA, Lifesaving Society, and Red Cross). 

Prerequisite(s): To take this course, you must have completed Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid, Level B.

National Lifeguard – Learn how to fulfill your role as a professional facilitator of safe, enjoyable aquatics for everyone! The National Lifeguard (NL) course is a Lifesaving Society (LSS) certification that emphasizes teamwork, leadership, and communication in the prevention of accidents and in first aid treatment of medical emergencies. National Lifeguard is the only nationally recognized lifeguard certification in Canada. 
Prerequisite(s): To take this course you must be 15 years or older and have completed Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid.

National Lifeguard Recertification – The National Lifeguard certification is valid for 2 years and is recertified by completing a National Lifeguard recertification exam. The National Lifeguard recertification exam is your opportunity to demonstrate your skills and recertify your award. You are responsible for reviewing the required content and skills and preparing yourself for the exam. Your exam is based on the National Lifeguard Award curriculum. 

Prerequisite(s): To take this course you must provide proof of your current National Lifeguard certification card.

YMCA Assistant Swim Instructor Course – Develop your aquatic teaching skills and become a YMCA Assistant Swim Instructor! The course is an introduction to teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA. The course includes a minimum of 10 hours of hands-on experience working beside a certified YMCA Swim Instructor.

After completing this course, you will be qualified to volunteer as a YMCA Assistant Swim Instructor during swimming lessons and help children learn to love the water. It’s a great way to practice your skills towards becoming a certified YMCA Swim Instructor! 

Prerequisite(s): Available to those 13 years or older. Must hold a current Star 7 or Bronze Star certification (or equivalent), and be able to swim strokes at YMCA Intermediate stroke standard.

YMCA Swim Instructor Course – Share your love of swimming with others! As a leader in the pool, you can play an essential role in helping others learn to swim and improve their health in many ways.  You will learn a variety of teaching techniques, lesson planning, progressions, and more. To put it all into practice, you’ll also work alongside a certified YMCA Swim Instructor to teach children during a swim lesson. 

Prerequisite(s): Available to those 15 years or olderMust hold a current National Lifeguard Certification (NL) or Bronze Cross certification, current Standard First Aid, and be able to swim strokes at the YMCA Intermediate stroke standard or equivalent. 

LSS Standard First Aid & CPR C – LSS Standard First Aid provides comprehensive training covering all aspects of first aid and CPR. LSS Standard First Aid incorporates all of Emergency First Aid and is designed for those who require a more in-depth understanding of first aid including legal implications of first aid treatment, spinal injuries, heat or cold injuries, bone, and joint injuries, chest injuries, and medical emergencies. Includes CPR-C certification. 

Prerequisite(s): There are no prerequisites for this course.

LSS Standard First Aid & CPR C Recertification – Current LSS Standard First Aid (SFA) award holders may recertify their Lifesaving Society SFA certification just once on a Lifesaving Society SFA Recertification Course, not more than 3 years from the Standard First Aid date of issue.  

Prerequisite(s): To take this course you must provide proof of your current SFA certification card.

Scholarships available for Advanced Aquatics programs!

Did you know the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka offers scholarships for Advanced Aquatics courses? Click here to learn more and apply today!

Become a National Lifeguard with the YMCA Lifeguard Training & Certification Program

Jesse’s Story – I started swimming at the Y when I was 10 years old”
When my family moved to Wasaga Beach from Alberta, one of the first things my parents did was enroll my brothers and I in swimming lessons at the YMCA. I swam every Saturday morning, progressing through each Star level, then completed Masters/Star 7.

One summer, my mom convinced me to volunteer at the pool. I instantly found that I really enjoyed interacting with the kids in the classes, and helping them develop their swimming skills. The staff on the pool deck encouraged me to take the next steps towards becoming a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. That year, I participated in the Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross courses and completed my NLS by the end of the summer. I was hired to start the next week!

Today I’m a lifeguard and swim instructor with the Wasaga Beach Y, and I plan to remain involved in Aquatics for a long time. I continue to develop my skills and further my knowledge, and am now certified as a Lifesaving Instructor and Examiner, First Aid Instructor and Examiner, and Lifeguard Instructor.

Working at the Y in aquatics is one of the best things to have happened in my life. I get to do something I enjoy every day in an environment that is extremely encouraging and supportive. I also get to help others work towards their goal of becoming a lifeguard.

Jesse Ramson
Wasaga Beach YMCA

Aquatic Staff Openings at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

Click here to view the job posting for Lifeguard.

Now Hiring! Lifeguard/Swim Instructors. Click here to learn more!

To learn more about the career opportunities at the YMCA, click here.

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