SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards hosted the annual Hawaii Day fundraiser Wednesday morning to benefit the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Program and the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego.
The event encourages junior lifeguards to collectively swim, run and paddle the 2,500 miles it would take to reach Hawaii.
"The Junior Lifeguard Program is a meaningful and fun opportunity for young men and women," said SDFD Lifeguard Chief James Gartland. "Many of the participants return year after year and often become professional lifeguards. They have a great time with our lifeguards at the beach and learn so many valuable skills."
Through the program, youths 7 to 17 have the opportunity to learn from professional lifeguards. There are two, four-week aquatic education sessions offered each summer. Junior lifeguards learn how to enjoy the beach safely, basic first aid, CPR, water rescue techniques and beach area familiarity.
The Hawaii Day event is one of several experiences the program offers. Junior guards also jump from the Ocean Beach Pier, operate kayaks, learn about lifeguard boats and visit a variety of San Diego's beaches. The junior guards are managed by a team of SDFD lifeguards who are chosen based on their work history, lifeguarding experience and desire to work as a Junior Lifeguard Program instructor.
Hawaii Day is also intended to highlight the Aloha Spirit -- the idea that "aloha" means much more than a greeting or farewell. It is intended to symbolize mutual regard and caring for everyone in our world by extending kindness without expecting anything in return.
The Junior Lifeguard Program is funded by the city with support from the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. PDF has a goal of teaching every child in San Diego how to swim. The organization provides scholarships for underserved youth who often don't get to visit the beach.
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