Teens in Atlantic Beach take the plunge as junior lifeguards

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — Think you have what it takes to be a lifeguard?

Teenagers in Atlantic Beach tried their hand at the job at the Junior Lifeguard Training Camp.

The camp, put on by the Atlantic Beach Fire Department, is in its sixth year.

The camp includes sprinting drills, swimming exercises and rescue relays.

It’s an “opportunity for us to provide some motion awareness, some knowledge, some confidence to our local youth,” said Scott Bell, the Atlantic Beach Fire Department lieutenant who runs the program.

Bell said he is looking for potential hires out on the beach.

“I’m trying to grow lifeguards,” said Bell. “That’s what we are trying to do here.”

Bell has three lifeguards on staff who are products of the junior lifeguard program.

He said locals are the perfect hire because there are familiar with both the area and the hazards.

“You’ve heard on the news, people getting hurt nowadays from the rip currents,” said Kayla Reed, a junior lifeguard. “That’s kind of motivated me because I want to help people, make sure they don’t get stuck in a rip current.”

“I think it’s important because of all the casualties and the injuries that happen along our shore and how dangerous it is,” said William Swider, another junior lifeguard. “I think everybody needs to be informed on how it is out here.”

Bell says aside from the dangers, the junior lifeguards learn teamwork and decision-making, skills that will help them both on the shore and off.

“It’s been very intrinsically rewarding to see some of them grow and mature and even go on to become lifeguards themselves,” Bell said.

There are two more sessions in July for ages 13 to 17

They take about 40 people per camp, and the camps last about a week with signups beginning in spring.

The program is so popular the first two sessions filled up within 20 minutes of going online.

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