In a few short weeks, two ISLA volunteers will be chasing summer in the southern hemisphere as they participate in the 2014 Chile Lifeguard Exchange with our friends from Guardavidas SEAL in Chile.
The Chile Lifeguard Exchange is a unique opportunity for guards from different parts of the world (and country) to spend time with each other learning about different beaches, techniques of lifeguarding, and cultures. The main goal of this Lifeguard Exchange is to share, learn, and have a TON of fun!
Our hosts in Chile are the Guardavidas SEAL, a private rescue organization that covers several beaches in central Chile and offers the highest level of training through the University system in Santiago de Chile. Guardavidas SEAL is led by fearless waterman, former international banker, rescue guru, and intrepid entrepreneur, the “Big Boss” Claudio Pardenas Abarca. Claudio has a larger than life personality, and takes incredible care of his lifeguards.
In the summer months (January- March) the Guardavidas SEAL live in a large beach house knows as “El Reality,” a nuanced reference to the reality show dramas on TV as about 25 guards live, eat, and work together for three months in a small tourist beach town (not too far off from our friends in Corolla…who we plan on visiting [staying] this summer.)
The two ISLA volunteers heading down to take part in the madness for a few weeks in January are Kevin Craig from California State Parks-San Diego District, and Andrew Douglas from Ocean City Beach Patrol in Maryland. Both guards are “pumped” for the experience and excited to meet new friends, explore a new place, and ride in Claudio’s tricked out Lifeguard Unit. Kevin and Andrew will also be “decked-out” in ISLA uniform and apparel provided by Original Watermen.
In addition to living and guarding with the Guardavidas SEAL, Kevin and Andrew also have the opportunity to visit the Kraken Lifeguard School in Valparaiso, and help coordinate the aquatic safety component of the Pucon Iron Man in the southern Lakes Region of the country. The Kraken Lifeguard School is a community outreach project that teaches underprivileged and homeless children how to swim in the ocean, and then assists them in passing the national lifeguard exam and finding jobs. ISLA has been collecting used kids wetsuits to donate to the Kraken school as the water temperature in Valparaiso rarely rises above the low sixties, Kevin and Andrew will be delivering them soon!
Keep up with Kevin and Andrew as the adventure south! Look for their blog posts throughout the month of January!!!