Lack of pool hampers student opportunities

  • Mar. 2, 2011 1:00 p.m.
Lori Fry

Lori Fry

by Lori Fry

In today’s healthy society, it is common knowledge the benefits of an aquatic facility easily outweigh the few barriers that prevent a community from providing this year round and highly recommended form of fitness, yet the lack of a pool in the South Cariboo creates lifelong barriers to many of its residents.

Just as we all learn to walk, talk and drive a car, swimming is a necessary life skill that shouldn't be considered a privilege for a select few, but rather a right for all.

Not only can learning to swim save many lives, it also gives some the opportunity to save the lives of others. Fortunately for two South Cariboo secondary school students, this opportunity has become a reality.

At ages two and three respectively, Bo Stitch and Celine Majcher began swimming lessons in the Red Cross program, and by age 10, had completed all 10 levels. Due to an age restriction, they both had to wait until age 12 to challenge the Bronze Cross and Bronze Medallion components, as well as a fitness test and a standard First Aid course,  which are prerequisite for the National Life Saving Program (NLS).

Celine has since completed further training as a water safety instructor, which is required to teach swimming lessons, following the Assistant Water Safety Instructor course.

Bo hopes to challenge these courses this summer if he’s able to co-ordinate dates either in Vancouver or Williams Lake.  

At age 16, Bo and Celine are now qualified lifeguards. Not only is this an incredible personal accomplishment, it will also provide these students with potential job opportunities that will help pay their way through university.

As wonderful as this all sounds, neither of these students would have had the opportunity to pursue this interest if it was not for  the connection between family and friends in other communities, such as Vancouver, Powell River, Vanderhoof and Armstrong, as well as the sacrifices made by these students and their families.

Many summer vacations and spring breaks were scheduled around training times and locations; financial hardships had to be absorbed in the planning as did the separation of family members.

Even if it is possible, should residents of the South Cariboo have to disrupt or relocate their families to give their children access to basic services?  What about those who are not as fortunate to have such connections and opportunities?

The lack of a pool prevents training opportunities for students, which are available elsewhere and forces students to leave their community to pursue training. It ultimately impairs the future of the South Cariboo as a whole.  

Join the south Cariboo Aquatic Society (SCAS) in its pursuit of an aquatic centre in the south Cariboo.  

Lori Fry is the SCAS advertising and public relations director.