Why Every SoCal Kid & Teen Should Be a Junior Lifeguard

If you live in Southern California, chances are you’re only a few minutes from the beach or the water. The Junior Lifeguard program is a treasured summer tradition for many who live near the coast. Year after year, this popular program teaches valuable life lessons and skills to thousands of Southern California kids and teens. There’s almost too many benefits to count…


1. It teaches responsibility.

Junior lifeguards learn all the basics of what it takes to be an awesome lifeguard. It’s a great way for a young, strong swimmer to transition into more advanced aquatics and learn how to help themselves, friends, and family.


2. It prepares them for emergencies.

Junior guards are taught to be aware of their environment, especially around the water. If a situation arises, whether in the ocean or in the backyard pool, your junior guard will be equipped with the knowledge to handle the emergencies or prevent them. Life-saving skills are taught, such as CPR, first aid, and AED training.


3. They learn to respect the ocean.

The ocean is very unpredictable. Junior guards learn about coastal currents, swells, rogue waves and what to do if they or someone is caught in them. They also learn to respect the native wildlife and their habitats.


4. It builds self-confidence.

Jumping off the pier or boat at the end of a session is a time-honored tradition for junior guards. But it’s not just for fun—the goal of the jump is to make junior guards aware of everything they’ve learned. It takes a great deal of confidence (and bravery!) to make the leap to rescue someone who may be in trouble.


5. It keeps them active.

Swimming, diving, and treading water are arguably some of the best ways to keep kids fit during the summer. Most programs also teach recreational water sports like surfing, bodyboarding, paddle boards, and SUP.


6. It’s competitive and fosters camaraderie

Many Junior Lifeguard programs compete with other programs in competition events such as distance swim, distance run, run-swim-run, swim relay, beach flags, distance paddle, and rescue relay. Sportsmanship, teamwork, and camaraderie are emphasized as junior guards cheer each other on.


7. It’s tons of fun!

There’s always time for beach sports and water games! Kids will enjoy playing games like water polo, Sharks and Minnows, Capture the Flag and more. Most programs also have special events where family and friends are invited.



2021 Junior Lifeguard Programs

Many programs plan to resume this summer after canceling or downsizing their program last summer due to COVID-19. If you’re interested in any of these programs, be sure to confirm the details with the organizer. Dates are most likely tentative and are subject to change or cancelation.


California State Parks Junior Lifeguard Programs


County of Los Angeles Fire Department Junior Lifeguard Program

  • Dates: June 21 – July 16 / July 19 – August 13, 2021
  • Applications start Thursday, April 1
  • Ages: 9-17
  • Beach Locations: Avalon, Cabrillo, Torrance, Redondo, Tim Kelly, Hermosa, Manhattan, El Segundo, Venice, Santa Monica, Will Rogers, Zuma
  • fire.lacounty.gov/junior-lifeguard-program


City of San Clemente Junior Lifeguard Program

  • Dates: June 7 – August 6, 2021
  • Swim Test: 3/13, 3/14, 3/20, 3/21, 3/27, 3/28, 4/17, 4/18, 5/2
  • Ages: 9-17
  • www.san-clemente.org


City of Laguna Beach Junior Lifeguard Program


California Junior Lifeguard Programs (Dana Point – Salt Creek Beach)


Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards

  • Dates: June 28 – August 18, 2021
  • Tryouts: 4/10, 4/24, 5/5, 5/16, 6/9
  • Ages: 9-17
  • juniorguard.com


Long Beach Fire Department Junior Lifeguard Program (Belmont Shore)

  • Dates: June 28 – August 6, 2021
  • Tryouts: 3/13, 3/18, 4/10, 4/24, 5/1
  • Ages: 9-17
  • www.longbeachjgs.com


Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Program

  • Dates: June 22 – August 5, 2021
  • Swim Test: 3/14, 3/21, 3/28
  • Ages: 9-15
  • nbjg.net


OC Junior Guards (Dana Point – Strands Beach)

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