Joe Little

Girls Turn the Tide: More Female Recruits in Annual Junior Lifeguard Program

San Diego's Annual Junior Lifeguard Internship Program looks incredibly different this year, for the first-time teenage girls have outnumbered the boys.

Of the 26 junior lifeguard interns being paid this summer, 19 are girls.

“I just couldn't picture doing anything else. It makes me so happy to be able to go out on a rescue and have someone say, 'Thank you,’” said Emilie Koon, a San Diego Junior Lifeguard Intern.

It's been Koon's childhood dream to become a lifeguard. 

“It's just rewarding to let the girls know they can do it, too,” said Koon.

Female Lifeguards

Lifeguard Lauren Leisk who is in charge of the program says the gap still exists, but this internship class gives her hope.

“So many safety service jobs like police and fire are male-dominated. So, to give these girls the confidence that they can compete, and they can excel in this career just makes me really happy,” said Leisk. “We can do this job just like any guy can.”

Ryan Pelot's has been with Junior Lifeguards for 10 years and he calls the program "a family" and didn't care if the lifeguard next to him was a boy or a girl.

“It's not a big surprise to me. It's awesome working with them. Everyone is super passionate,” Pelot said.

A passionate group that on this day was led by a girl.

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