Featured Volunteer: Taylor Anderson
Get to know our volunteer Taylor Anderson from Lifeguards without Borders!
When did you start lifeguarding?
I am became a lifeguard in 2002 for the American Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps. My friends in high school suggested it and I later learned my uncle had been a lifeguard for the same organization in the 1960’s. The volunteer corps is 101 years old, founded in 1912. I also work as a Lt. for the City of Jacksonville Beach, FL. I am addicted to pre-hospital care and the sense of satisfaction of being able to turn chaos into control.
What is your favorite beach in the world?
Of the beaches I have been to, The Baths in the British Virgin Islands have been my favorite.
Where have you lifeguarded around the world?
I have lifeguarded in Ecuador with Lifeguards Without Boarders during Carnival 2011. We were in Salinas on both the bay and pacific sides, it was truly epic. We worked with the fire department there and in cooperation with Project Ecuador (Paul Dunning). That is the only international work I have done other than Macedonia.
When did you start lifeguarding?
Primarily, I have always been interested in the beach. As a toddler, I would sit on the beach, naked, eating handfuls of sand and was quite content to play in the large sand castles my father would build. As I got older, I began boogie-boarding, body surfing and surfing. My parents also had a Hobie sailboat which I fell in love with and we would spend long days offshore sailing the beach. I was also a boy-scout growing up and camped often, canoed and generally spent a lot of time outside. Most often though, I was on the beach. I graduated high school shortly after becoming a lifeguard and went on to become an EMT in 2005. I worked throughout this time as a lifeguard and soon was an officer. In 2008, I received my paramedic and A.S. in EMS. In 2010, I went to fire college and in 2012 was accepted into the St. John’s County Fire/Rescue Auxiliary. I am working toward a full-time career with St. John’s County at this time and hope to achieve this in the next 2 years.
How did you first get started with ISLA?
I had only briefly heard of ISLA prior to the trip and the level of professionalism that the team members brought to the trip was refreshing. This was my first ISLA trip and I really like how the values I hold in my volunteer corps are reflected in the ISLA standards. I loved working with not only the team but the students.
What was your favorite part of the ISLA trip?
My favorite part has to be the personal connection felt with others when the concepts you are teaching are demonstrated back to you. It is the clearest time you can see the true understanding of a student. That moment is one that drives me to teach and volunteer.
What have you learned from this trip?
During the trip, I learned how easy it is for people to work together toward common goals; despite a significant language barriers!
What is the best beach food?
Best beach food is a cold Corona with a shot of Bacardi Lemon in the neck or frozen margaritas with lots of lime.
Do you have a type of favorite beach music?
If I am working, I like to listen to stand-up comedy but if I am relaxing, I am a big fan of oldies, country and a splash of indie music. If it is a beach party then reggae, old school rap and dubstep all day!
What’s your favorite piece of rescue equipment? And Why?
My favorite piece of basic equipment is a throw rope. It is simple; a bag of rope; but it can be tricky to throw. When thrown well, it is safe and effective. The perfect way to work smarter not harder; even on the beach! Hands-down favorite piece of technical equipment is an IRB. I have worked with both PWC and IRB’s and I love the versatility of an IRB. Easy launching, stable, able to carry a lot of equipment safely (dive gear) and you can do CPR on it effectively. Other than the advantage of PWC’s in heavy surf, the IRB is second only because it’s not as fun to drive. (In my humble opinion)
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Strangely excitable, & dedicated