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Lifeguards Head To Baja To Train Guards There

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Aired 9/28/09

A group of lifeguards from San Diego and New Zealand head to a small town on Mexico's Baja California peninsula this week to train lifeguards and teach kids about beach safety.

A group of lifeguards from San Diego and New Zealand head to a small town on Mexico's Baja California peninsula this week to train lifeguards and teach kids about beach safety.

The group of lifeguards plans to spend a week in Abreojos. The town is about two-thirds of the way down the Baja Peninsula, near the whale watching hotspot Laguna San Ignacio. This is the group's fourth annual trip. Aaron Quintanar is the project organizer for the Baja California Lifeguard training program.

He says the group is responding to a recent cultural shift in Baja. "15, 20 years ago, a lot of families tended to shy away from the beach areas. Now, like this happened in California in the 40's, where communities start growing. They see the advantages of going out to the beach, of having healthy recreational spaces. And as this trend is continuing, the need for lifeguards becomes clearer and clearer every year."

Quintanar says during the last three years, they've taught 225 kids in Abreojos how to get out of rip currents. They plan to teach more this year and train 17 new lifeguards.

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