Junior Beach Patrol Graduates Recognized
OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Beach Patrol’s national award winning Junior Beach Patrol (JBP) program held its final graduation of the summer season last Friday as participants worked their way up through the ranks in hopes to become a full-time lifeguard.
During graduation, each child’s name was called and each ran down the line slapping hands with their instructors and receiving their certificate of completion while posing for the camera with Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP) Captain Butch Arbin.
“We started the JBP program a long time ago. The JBP is divided into three parts; education, prevention and intervention … We have taught thousands of kids in JBP through the years we have had it,” Arbin said.
The program offers children age 10-17 the opportunity to experience the training and daily routine of Surf Rescue Technicians (SRTs), also known as lifeguards.
The JBP models itself after duties and responsibilities of SRTs and focuses on the development of skills associated with the enjoyable and safe use of the beach environment. It is designed to instruct boys and girls in the skills and techniques of beach safety, water safety, surf rescue and physical fitness.
The goals and objectives of JBP is first and foremost to have fun learning as well as promote personal responsibility, develop a better understanding of beach and water safety techniques, heighten public awareness and education of beach safety, improve health and fitness of each participant, encourage good sportsmanship, team unity and discipline and prepare for future surf rescue employment.
JBP is split into four levels starting with Level 1 that a participant must be 10 years old, able to swim 50 yards without stopping, able to jog 100 yards in one minute, able to perform calisthenics, flexibility and conditioning exercises, able to follow instruction and stay on task, comfortable with spending extended periods of time in the beach environment, prepared for physically challenging experience, and able to enter and exit surf without assistance.
Level 2 includes successful graduates of Level 1, at least 11 years of age, able to swim 100 yards without stopping, able to run 250 yards without stopping, and recommended by a JBP Instructor.
Level 3 includes successful graduates of Level 2, at least 12 years old, able to swim 250 yards without stopping, able to run 500 yards without stopping, able to carry a rescue board, and recommended by a JBP Instructor.
A crew chief is a successful graduate of all 3 levels, at least 14 years old, proficient in the use of all equipment, able to communicate clearly and teach others, and is also recommended by a JBP Instructor.
A JBP Assistant Instructor is a paid position with the OCBP that is available to those who are at least 15 years old and has successfully completed JBP levels. All applicants are expected to pursue an SRT position with OCBP at the age of 17.
Kathleen Walker signed her daughters, Jacquelyn, 13, and Mackenzie, 11, up for JBP as a recreational activity for her girls to take part in while their family vacations in Ocean City. Jacquelyn and Mackenzie Walker had first joined the JBP program last summer in Level 1, and returned this summer to complete Level 2 and 3.
“They have enjoyed learning about beach patrol and water safety. Every day they want to go … and they are exhausted at night. They definitely want to do it next year because they want to be crew chiefs,” Kathleen Walker said. “I think it is a great learning experience. It teaches them responsibility and water safety issues, and it really does challenge them physically.”
JBP started as a recreational summer activity and turned into to a potential summer job in the near future for Trever Buonomo, 14, a crew chief who wants to be an assistant instructor next summer.
“I have always liked the beach, to swim and the water. I want to be a lifeguard. I think it would be a great job in the future and would be something I would love to do,” Buonomo said.
At the completion of Friday’s graduation, Assistant Instructors, Haley Wolfersberger and Dylan Whittles, who both started in JBP at age 10 and was enrolled in the program for five years before becoming instructors, learned they had made the cut to become lifeguards next summer.
“I am so excited,” Wolfersberger said.
“I can’t wait,” Whittles said.