YMCA Lifeguard Leadership Academy

New Summer 2023! The YMCA Lifeguard Leadership Academy opening within Centre Branch YMCA. This training academy is to grow our new leaders with independence and opportunities to learn & use their skills. We have dedicated classrooms and pool set ups to help our candidates and leaders have an exceptional experience geared for them and their success.

Find a Course

Getting certified is the first step towards working as an aquatics leader. After you have finished your courses, you will be qualified to work at the YMCA (and many other organizations that recognize our Lifesaving Society credentials). Throughout the aquatic leadership courses, you will receive the knowledge you need to guard or teach effectively and you will also have opportunities to increase your leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

Don’t forget, Leadership classes are INCLUDED with a YMCA Everything Membership!

Lifesaving Society is the national governing organization for lifeguard standards. The YMCA conducts their courses to certify candidates to be ready to work confidently as a lifeguard. Below is the order the courses must* be taken to gain the foundational knowledge before moving onto advanced rescue techniques.

*Standard First Aid & CPR-C (SFA) can be taken before any course, and a prerequisite for National Lifeguard. Some courses may be combined for timing or pool space availability.

Lifeguards standing at pool
1. Bronze Medallion
Bronze Medallion
This program teaches an understanding of the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water-rescue education: judgment, knowledge, skill, and fitness. Rescuers learn tows and carries, defense methods, and releases in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a 400m timed swim.
Prerequisite: Participants must be a minimum of 13 years of age by end of course OR have Bronze Star certification.
2. Bronze Cross
Bronze Cross
This program starts the transition from lifesaving to lifeguarding and prepares candidates for responsibilities as an assistant Lifeguard.  Candidates will 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.  
Prerequisite is Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid with CPR-B or Standard First Aid with CPR-C (need not be current).
3. Standard First Aid
Standard First Aid
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.
4. National Lifeguard
National Lifeguard
This course is required to become a certified lifeguard. You learn various lifesaving techniques and take part in practical situations.
This certification is current for 2 years and is recertified by completing a National Lifeguard Recertification Exam.
Prerequisite: Bronze Cross, Current Standard First Aid with CPR 'C', 15 years of age and older. Please note there is an additional charge for the manual.
5. Swim Instructor
Swim Instructor
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.
Required References: Swim Instructor Pack (includes Instructor Manual, Swim for Life Award Guide, Teaching Swim for Life and Leadership Binder)
Prerequisites: 15 years of age by the end of the course, Bronze Cross (need not be current)
6. Lifesaving Instructor
Lifesaving Instructor
The Lifesaving Instructor course prepared instructors to teach the Lifesaving Society’s Canadian Swim Patrol Program, Bronze Star, Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, Lifesaving Fitness, Distinction, CPR-A, CPR-B, CPR-C, Basic and Emergency First Aid.
Required References: Lifesaving Instructor Pack (includes Instructor Manual, Swim Patrol Award Guide, Bronze Medals Award Guide, First Aid Award Guide, Leadership Binder)
  • 100% attendance is required at all courses to be a successful candidate
  • Must provide proof of prerequisites on the first day of class
  • Candidates are to conduct themselves using YMCA values
  • Curriculum for each course can be found here under Test Sheets

Lending Library

The YMCA Lifeguard Leadership Academy offers a lending library for most manuals required in courses. This means no extra cost for our participants! *some resources require purchase at higher qualifications* For advanced leadership courses manuals will require purchase example: Lifesaving Instructors will require the purchase of the Bronze and First Aid Award Guides, but all other supporting manuals at this level will be available through the lending library.


Parking is available on site.

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