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Aquatic Leadership

Ages 10+

Swim. Teach. Save Lives

Responsibility, problem solving, leadership, teamwork — these are just some of the skills you'll gain on your path to becoming a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. And along the way, you'll make memories and build friendships that will last a lifetime. 

From the first lifesaving course you take, you'll be doing your part to make our communities a safer place. 


Are you up for the challenge?

Aquatic Leadership Roadmap

Follow this path to become a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. Along the way, you'll find opportunities to develop leadership skills, build lifelong friendships, and share your skills with your community. 

Lifesaving Society Bronze Star Award

Bronze Star

No Prerequisites.
Recommended 10 years of age and/or complete Star 6.

Lifesaving Society Bronze Medallion Award

Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid

Minimum 13 years of age or Bronze Star certification.

Minimum 14 years of age and Bronze Medallion Certified.

Lifesaving Society Bronze Cross Award

Bronze Cross

Recommended minimum 14 years of age. Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid certifications required. 

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Standard First Aid

No Prerequisite.

Lifesaving Society National Lifeguard Award

National Lifeguard

Minimum 15 years of age with Bronze Cross and
Standard First Aid.

Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor Award

Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor

Minimum 15 years of age with Bronze Cross and
Standard First Aid.

YMCA swim instructor

YMCA
Swim Instructor

Minimum 15 years of age with Bronze Cross and
Standard First Aid.

National Lifeguard, Swim Instructor, and Standard First Aid Certification required.

Still not sure which course to take?

Upcoming Courses

Check out our upcoming courses across the YMCA of Three Rivers. We have courses happening in Stratford, Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, and Guelph. Register in person at any of our locations or online through the Member Portal.

Want to be the first to hear about upcoming courses? Use our quick and easy quiz to find out what your next course is and sign up to receive updates about Aquatic Leadership at the YMCA of Three Rivers. 

Refund and Course Cancellation Policy

Please register for all courses a minimum of seven days in advance of the start date. Courses that do not have sufficient registration one week before the start date are subject to cancellation, with full refund to participants.

 

Participants who choose to cancel their registration in a course two weeks or more prior to a course will be issued a full refund. Participants who choose to cancel their registration two weeks or less before the start of the course, or who do not have the appropriate pre-requisites at the start of the course, will not be refunded.

Financial Assistance

The YMCA provides financial assistance to help support participants earn Aquatic Leadership certifications. A variety of assistance programs are available.

Fee Assist

Apply through the online Fee Assist portal. Eligible participants can receive up to 60% off of Aquatic Leadership course fees. Fee Assist is an ongoing initiative that is available at all times for participants in all regions. 

City of Guelph Aquatic Leadership Grant

Funding is available through the City of Guelph for the diversification of our aquatic staff team. This funding can provide discounts or removal of Aquatic Leadership course fees to eligible participants, and is available for courses from January to August 2024. Complete the application form to submit your request.

Waterloo Region Community Foundation Youth in Recreation Grant

Funding is available through the Waterloo Region Community Foundation to reduce barriers to Aquatic Leadership programming focused on recruiting equity deserving populations. Complete the application form to submit your request.

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Bronze Star

Prerequisites: No Prerequisites. Recommended 10 years of age and/or complete Star 6.

Bronze Star is excellent preparation for success in Bronze Medallion. Participants develop problem-solving and decision-making skills individually and in partners. Candidates learn CPR and develop the lifesaving skills needed to be their own lifeguard. Includes a timed 400 m swim. 

Learn more about the requirements for Bronze Star.

Members: $94 Non-Members: $110

Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid

Prerequisites: Minimum 13 years of age or Bronze Star certification (need not be current).

Bronze Medallion challenges the candidate both mentally and physically. Judgment, knowledge, skill, and fitness – the four components of water rescue – form the basis of Bronze Medallion training. Candidates acquire the assessment and problem-solving skills needed to make good decisions in, on, and around the water. Bronze Medallion is a prerequisite for assistant lifeguard training in Bronze Cross.
Fee includes manual and exam fee.

Learn more about the requirements for Bronze Medallion.

Members: $221 Non-Members: $260

Bronze Cross

Prerequisites: Recommended minimum 14 years of age. Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid or Standard First Aid required. 

Bronze Cross begins the transition from lifesaving to lifeguarding and prepares candidates for responsibilities as assistant lifeguards. Candidates strengthen and expand their lifesaving skills and begin to apply the principles and techniques of active surveillance in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross emphasizes the importance of teamwork and communication in preventing and responding to aquatic emergencies. Bronze Cross is a prerequisite for advanced training in the Society’s National Lifeguard and leadership certification programs.

Learn more about the requirements for Bronze Cross.

Members: $166+HST Non-Members: $195+HST

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Standard First Aid with CPR-C and AED

Standard First Aid provides comprehensive training covering all aspects of first aid and CPR. Standard First Aid incorporates all of Emergency First Aid and is designed for those who require a more in-depth understanding of first aid including: legal implications of first aid treatment, spinal injuries, heat or cold injuries, bone and joint injuries, chest injuries, and medical emergencies. Includes CPR-C certification.

 

Learn more about the requirements for Standard First Aid.

Full Course

Prerequisites: None (recommended minimum 14 years of age).

Members: $150+hst Non-Members: $175+hst

Recertification

Prerequisites: Completed Standard First Aid with CPR-C full course through the Lifesaving Society within three years of the course end date.

Candidates who have completed a full Standard First Aid with CPR-C course through the Lifesaving Society within the last 3 years may take a recertification course. If your last full course was over 3 years ago you must take a full course. If your certification is through another organization (Red Cross, St Johns, etc.) you must recertify through the same organization as your original certification, or take a full course through Livesaving Society.

Members: $92+hst Non-Members: $108+hst

CPR-A

Prerequisites: None.

Learn CPR skills and the signs, symptoms and care of choking, non-breathing and pulseless victims. CPR courses teach the risk factors associated with heart disease and how to prevent them or reduce their effects. All Lifesaving Society CPR training is consistent with standards established by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

CPR-A(Adult) teaches how to do CPR and choking procedures for adults and includes the importance of early defibrillation and how to use an AED.

Members: $44.25+hst Non-Members: $53.10+hst

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National Lifeguard — Pool

National Lifeguard certification is Canada's professional lifeguard standard. National Lifeguard training develops a sound understanding of lifeguarding principles, good judgment, and a mature and responsible attitude towards the lifeguard's role. National Lifeguard training emphasizes prevention and effective rescue response in emergencies including first aid treatment. Candidates develop teamwork, leadership and communication skills. Fitness requirements include a timed object recovery, 50m sprint challenge, 50m rescue drill and 400m endurance challenge.

Learn more about the requirements for National Lifeguard.

Full Course

Prerequisites: Minimum 15 years of age, Bronze Cross, and Lifesaving Society Standard First Aid (need not be current) or Standard First Aid from one of these approved agencies. Fee includes manual and exam fee.

Members: $281+hst Non-Members: $330+hst

Recertification

Prerequisites: National Lifeguard Pool Certification (need not be current).

The National Lifeguard recertification exam is your opportunity to demonstrate your skills and recertify your award. You are responsible for reviewing the required content and skills and preparing yourself for the exam. Your exam is based on the National Lifeguard Award curriculum. The required content for this curriculum can be found in your Alert text and the Canadian Lifesaving Manual. Candidates should bring Alert, a whistle, barrier devices (gloves and pocket mask) and proof of prerequisite (previous National Lifeguard).

Members: $92+hst Non-Members: $108+hst

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YMCA Swim Instructor

Prerequisites: Minimum 16 years of age, Current National Lifeguard or Bronze Cross, Standard First Aid, Swim Strokes at YMCA Intermediate Stroke Standard or equivalent, Swim Skills at the YMCA Standard or equivalent.

This course is the foundation for building strong leaders in YMCA aquatics.  Content covers YMCA Healthy Child Development, planning effective lessons using progressions and activities, and an understanding of the YMCA E.G.G.S. (E - Explanation/Demonstration, G - Group Practice, Group Feedback, S - Specific Practice and Feedback) teaching method.  Instructors will also review skills and strokes, different learning styles and temperaments, and how to react to emergency situations in a class setting.  Participants will also learn to deliver the Lifesaving Society Canadian Swim Patrol and Bronze Star. Fee includes manual and certification.

Members: $192+hst Non-Members: $226+hst

Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor

Prerequisites: Minimum 15 years of age by the end of the course; Bronze Cross certification (need not be current).

The Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor course prepares the instructor to teach and evaluate the swimming strokes and related skills found in the Lifesaving Society Swim for Life program. Candidates acquire proven teaching methods, planning skills, and a variety of stroke development drills and correction techniques.

Learn more about the requirements for Swim Instructor.

Members: $192+hst Non-Members: $226+hst

Lifesaving Society Lifesaving and
Emergency First Aid Instructor

Prerequisites: Minimum 15 years of age by the end of the course; Bronze Cross certification (need not be current).

The Lifesaving Instructor course prepares individuals to organize, plan, teach and evaluate lifesaving and first aid skills and resuscitation techniques in the Society’s lifesaving and first aid awards. Successful candidates receive two certifications: Lifesaving Instructor and Emergency First Aid Instructor.

The Lifesaving and Emergency First Aid Instructor course prepares instructors to teach the Lifesaving Society's:

 

  • Canadian Swim Patrol Program

  • Junior Lifeguard Club

  • Bronze Star, Bronze Medallion*, Bronze Cross*

  • Wading Pool Attendant

  • Lifesaving Fitness

  • Distinction**

  • Basic and Emergency First Aid, and CPR-A, CPR-B and CPR-C

  • Boat Rescue**, Patrol Rider**, and Safeguard**

*additional qualifications (Examiners) required to certify candidates in these courses 
**additional qualifications required to teach or certify candidates in these courses 

 

Members: $174+hst Non-Members: $205+hst

Lifesaving Society First Aid Instructor

Prerequisites: Minimum 16 years of age by the end of the course; Standard First Aid from one of these approved agencies (need not be current).

The Lifesaving Society’s First Aid Instructor course is designed to provide candidates with the knowledge and resources required to organize, plan, and deliver Lifesaving Society First Aid awards up to and including Standard First Aid and CPR -A, -B, -C. Current First Aid Instructors may teach:
 

  • Basic and Emergency First Aid

  • CPR –A, -B, and –C

  • Automated External Defibrillation (AED)

  • Standard First Aid*

  • Airway Management**, CPR-HCP**, Anaphylaxis Rescuer**


*additional qualifications (Examiners) required to certify candidates in these courses
**additional qualifications required to teach or certify candidates in these courses

Lifesaving Society Examiners Course

Prerequisites: Minimum 15 years of age, and any of; Lifesaving and Emergency First Aid Instructor, First Aid Instructor, National Lifeguard Instructor. 

 

The Examiner course is the first step in the three-step process to become certified as an Examiner for the Lifesaving Society. The Examiner course prepares candidates to apprentice successfully as an Examiner on the exam of their choice, and it builds on the evaluation experience that candidates have attained in instructor-evaluated awards and content

The course fee includes the Examiner Handbook. Candidates must also bring the current award guides related to the streams in which they wish to examine (Bronze Medal Award Guide, First Aid Award Guide, National Lifeguard Award Guide, etc.) 

Learn more about the requirements for the Examiners Course.

Lifesaving Society Aquatic Supervisor 

Prerequisites: Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor or Lifesaving Instructor, and National Lifeguard certifications (need not be current).

 

Aquatic Supervisor certification is the Lifesaving Society training standard for instructors and lifeguards who wish to assume deck-level supervisor responsibilities for overseeing instructional and recreational programs and day-to-day operations at aquatic facilities.

Aquatic Supervisor introduces participants to the knowledge, skills and tools require to effectively guide fellow staff members in the safe delivery of aquatic programs and services, and to prepare for effective emergency response.

Learn more about the requirements for the Aquatic Supervisor certification.

Which Course Should I Take?

The path to becoming a Lifeguard can be confusing - we get it! Use this quick and easy quiz to find out what your next course is.

Join Our Team

Do you have a passion for water safety that you want to share with your community? Join our team as a volunteer or staff! We have a variety of roles available across Stratford, Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, and Guelph!

When you join our team you'll gain more than just a job - Lifeguarding is an opportunity to develop leadership skills and build friendships that will last a lifetime. But, the benefits don't end there! Volunteers and staff receive a free YMCA membership and discounts on Aquatic Leadership Courses. 

Volunteer 

If you're at least 14 years old and have completed Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid with CPR-C, you can apply to become a Volunteer Assistant Swim Instructor. This position is a great opportunity to gain experience in an Aquatic environment while you work towards your certification as a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor.

Lifeguard and Swim Instructor Positions

Are you at least 16 years old and are certified as a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor? Apply today to join our Aquatic Staff team!

Advanced Instructor Positions

Are you passionate about delivering high-quality aquatic leadership courses? If you're certified as an advanced instructor (Lifesaving Instructor, Standard First Aid Instructor, or National Lifeguard Instructor) apply today to join our Aquatic Staff Team!

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