The Texarkana College Community & Business Education Center is pleased to announce the return of its lifeguard course after a two-year hiatus from March 2-5. The course takes place in the area’s only Olympic-size heated swimming pool located on TC campus in the Pinkerton Fitness & Recreation Center. At the helm of the course is Ben Stobnicki, Red Cross trainer instructor and trainer since 1977.

Stobnicki said the Red Cross lifeguard program has evolved since the organization began offering training nationwide in 1912. Every five years, he said, new information and science-based findings are released that provide greater technologies and protocols.

“Red Cross translates the new information into a skill-based class that teaches kids 15 years of age and older how to be first responders in and around the water,” Stobnicki said. “The goal is to keep people safe and to respond in the best way in the event that someone needs it.”

This course trains candidates with the skills and knowledge to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies in a pool. In order to enroll, interested students must be 15 years old by the beginning of the class and must provide proper identification to verify their ages. Students will receive a pocket mask, whistle and fanny pack provided by the class but will need to provide their own writing utensils and one-piece appropriate swim suit (girls may not wear bikinis unless they are tankinis for lifeguarding). Before beginning the course, students will need to pass a pre-course swim.

The pre-course will be the first activity done on Thursday after verification of ages. The pre-course is made up of three events: a 300 yard swim using freestyle of breast stroke, a two minute tread using legs only, and a 20 yard dive to recover a brick. After completing the pre-course requirements, students will begin the course. Thursday and Friday classes will last from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday classes will last from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with lunch and a break. The cost of the class is $300.

Ben looks forward to teaching the initial March classes and then opening up another round of classes starting in June.

“My intent is to provide the core lifeguard class and work with the owners of the local water park to offer specific water park modules, “ said Stobnicki. “From there we could possibly explore teaching other specialized modules.”

TC Community & Business Education Center Director Kristi Hart said the CBE is excited to once again offer this much-needed training.

“This class will provide local youth an opportunity to work as a lifeguard at the waterpark or pools in our community,” Hart said. “We love being a part of a program that promotes job opportunities and educates the community on the importance of a safe environment for swimmers.”

Students must register in person at the Community & Business Education Office, Monday-Thursday, 8-5 pm and Friday, 8-4 pm. For more information, contact instructor Ben Stobnicki at (903) 285-3440 or the CBE located in the Nelson Administration Building, 2500 N. Robison Road, Texarkana, Texas, (903) 823-3270.