Southern offers new water safety course

This semester Missouri Southern is offering a Water Safety Instructor course, sponsored by the American Red Cross.

The course is a 40-hour training course that will instruct individuals on how to teach others about water safety. There are currently 15 participants that include high school students as well as college students. Requirements for this course include being at least 17 years of age and the individual must be a proficient swimmer.

“We try to offer one of these classes every spring,” said Darren Fullerton, director of campus recreation and instructor for this course.

Fullerton said the course is offered in the spring before the pools open, offering more jobs for lifeguards. Nikki Snow, an employee at the Joplin YMCA, is co-teaching the course.

There are several opportunities for students to put their WSI certifications to use. Programs available for young children include: Learn to Swim, for infants and preschoolers; Long Fellows Whales Tales that offers 15 different themes geared toward kindergarten through sixth grade students; and a separate program for children in first through seventh grades offering classes for beginning swimmers through advanced swimmers.

“Water habits are better learned early,” Fullerton said.

If the WSI certified individual is not interested in teaching infants, there is a water rescue course for a little older age group, geared toward Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, teaching them water safety and a water safety class that teaches different aspects of swimmer safety. The programs mentioned are not the only options that WSI certified individuals have, these are merely options offered through Southern and the Joplin YMCA.

Susan Lindeman, sophomore education major, is one of the individuals taking the WSI course.

She is taking the class to be able to teach swim lessons at the YMCA.

“There is a shortage on teachers,” Lindeman said.

Lindeman said that in the future, she wants to teach swim lessons to children and teach others to be lifeguards.