San Diego

Junior Lifeguard Program Makes a Splash With Its Return

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, organized group sports were banned

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A popular summertime youth program is back again in San Diego following months without organized sports or school activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Junior Lifeguard Program will have its first session of the summer on Monday, in which about 70 participants will register and undergo a swim and run assessment.

"Well, it’s definitely a different program this year," Lifeguard Chief James Gartland told NBC 7. "Normally, you would see on day one...250 kids on the lawn stretching out, jumping, singing, dancing. We just can’t do that this year."

Children ages 7 to 17 learn a variety of things in the program, such as first aid and CPR, ocean and wave education, and more. Junior lifeguards get to improve their fitness and learn critical safety skills when it comes to the ocean.

Fifth-year junior lifeguard Addison Watson said she's happy she can participate in the program and be active.

"It feels amazing because I've just been inside doing nothing, sitting around and now being active outside, it's just awesome," the 14-year-old said.

Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, group sports have been banned in an effort to keep people safe from the virus. Businesses shuttered their doors for months and households were ordered to stay at home.

In the past month, more establishments in San Diego County have slowly reopened under the guidance of the state. It is unclear when organized sports will be allowed again. As of Monday, playing such sports like football or soccer is only allowed with members of the same household.

The program’s first session will begin at 10:30 a.m. at South Mission Beach.

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