A new aquatics leadership pilot program for high school students will be introduced this fall in partnership with the Leduc Recreation Centre, enabling them to receive credits for graduation and the potential of employment as they pursue their studies. The program will combine a full school year of online learning, classroom instruction, and a practical skills portion.
The aquatics program is the first of its kind in the country, and as opposed to other extra-curricular activities that allow students to earn extra credits on evenings or weekends, much of this program will be offered during school hours.
"It's a made-in-Leduc program,” said Michael Warchol, the Coordinator for Aquatic Operations at the Leduc Recreation Centre. “It's unique and one of a kind. The program is really about allowing local students to take their aquatic leadership certifications [and] become a lifeguard and swimming instructor.”
“This is the first [pilot program] where an aquatic centre has partnered with the schools to teach part of the program at the school, and bring students to the pool to do that wet skills portion.”
Not only will students be able to earn up to 14 credits through this aquatics program, they can also earn more credits through valuable work experience. In addition, certifications are available for those students looking to seek employment after completing the course, including First Aid training, Lifeguarding, and Water Safety Instruction.
The program will keep students busy over the course of two semesters, with 77 hours of instruction and practical training the first semester, and 71 hours during the second semester. An additional 19-25 hours is required for practicum time (work experience) and observation, which must be completed outside of regular school hours.
Roughly half of the Water Safety element of the course will be based in the classroom, along with a portion of the Lifeguard lessons. The online learning part of the course is exclusively for the First Aid part of the course. For the wet skills, students will be taken by bus to the LRC.
Although it will be fairly comprehensive and demanding, students will also gain leadership and valuable life skills, as well as build their self-confidence as they persist through the challenges this aquatics program will present to them. The cost of the first semester will be $393.75, and $300.75 for the second semester respectively. These costs cover all of the materials and equipment that will be needed during the program.
To qualify, those applying must have taken the Swim Kids 8 program or equivalent training. However, the program does qualify for Canadian Tire Jumpstart funding, which offers $300 per semester. Students can visit the Jumpstart website for more information (jumpstart.canadiantire.ca). To apply, call 1-877-616-6600 to be put in touch with a local representative.
According to the Jumpstart website, “Canadian Tire Jumpstart is dedicated to removing barriers, so children can participate in organized sport and recreation. We see it as equipping kids for life, because participation in organized sport and recreation increases a child’s chance for success in life.”
“When we were designing [it], we did ensure it met the requirements for the Jumpstart program,” Mr. Warchol said. “Students who need a little bit of a financial boost in order to afford the program can seek that through the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program. That's not something we have control over, that's something that Canadian Tire approves.”
The two Leduc high schools involved in this partnership are the Leduc Composite High School, and Christ the King Junior/Senior High School.
“There's definitely interest in the program,” Warchol said. “The schools have done some preliminary research with students at the high schools and students currently in grade nine, and there's some very positive interest in the program, so I would anticipate it filling fairly quickly.”
For more information, please contact the Leduc Recreation Centre, or speak with Denise Harrison at LCHS or Jordan Robinson at Christ the King.