While a nationwide lifeguard shortage is affecting one third of the country’s beaches and pools, according to the American Lifeguard Association, SPLASHForward is increasing student lifeguard training through their High School Lifeguard Training Program.
The High School Lifeguard Training program began in 2021, and covers costs for lifeguard training certification while providing job resources for Bellevue School District students. Amazon Corporation recently contributed an additional $40,000–to their previous $100,000 gift–which allowed SPLASHForward to designate a portion of this funding to train 57 lifeguards to date.
“When we raised the awareness on our lifeguard shortage and the very real risk of closing our Bellevue beaches and limiting hours, SPLASHForward immediately responded and we soon had students in our lifeguard training classes choosing to work for the City,” said Michael Shiosaki, City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services Director. “They helped close the gap and we are incredibly grateful for all they are doing for the City of Bellevue’s aquatic needs.”
During this past May and June, 33 students achieved their lifeguard certification, and ten more students will be trained this July. According to SPLASHForward, students come from the five Bellevue public high schools, as well as public and private high schools in Issaquah, Kirkland, Sammamish and Seattle.
SPLASHForward is actively seeking additional sponsors to meet the demand of training more students in the High School Lifeguard Training Program. Interested high school students who are 15 years or older are encouraged to read more about the program and sign-up.