Honouring Canadian Red Cross Swimming & Water Safety Program Volunteers

By Caitlin Simpson, Canadian Red Cross Digital Volunteer
The Canadian Red Cross is constantly adapting and pivoting to the changing needs in communities. For this reason, after a long successful stretch, the Swimming & Water Safety and Lifeguard training programs are now winding now. Amongst surging humanitarian demands, such as disaster response, pandemic response, opioid harm reduction, and caregiving for seniors - resources are best suited to surging demands in these areas.
During 2022, Red Cross is supporting its current Training Partners in making the transition to the swimming, lifeguarding, and aquatic leadership programs of the Lifesaving Society of Canada. As the transition is underway, the Canadian Red Cross looks back on the program and the volunteers who contributed to it with gratitude and acknowledgement of their life changing work.
Thank you to the generations of staff and volunteers who dedicated themselves to this high standard and quality program for over 75 years. Here we spotlight a special group of volunteers who are recipients of the Order of Red Cross - Red Cross’ highest award, recognizing individuals who have dedicated decades of service to the organization.
A woman with light brown hair smiling at the camera
Anne Porteous has been a tireless advocate of the Red Cross and a champion for drowning prevention initiatives in Canada and around the world.  The impact of her efforts has been felt in pools throughout the country and far beyond our borders.
From all who have worked alongside her, Anne’s passion for the Red Cross and water safety is infectious.  As a Master Instructor Trainer, her enthusiasm has left an indelible mark on the instructors she trains, an attitude that has flowed through to the many thousands of children those instructors have gone on to teach.
Thank you Anne.
A man with light brown hair and a beard smiling at the camera
Joshua Koke was an amazing volunteer on the team.  He volunteered his time as an Ambassador, Conference Speaker, was a SWS Master Instructor Trainer, and facilitated the Aquatic Programmer Course throughout Alberta and Canada.

He really took the time to mentor new volunteers, represent the Canadian Red Cross whenever possible, and was one of the first people to volunteer to assist in program development and revisions.
Thank you Joshua.
A woman with short white hair holding a bouquet of flowers standing beside a large framed award.Donna McKean has been a loyal and dedicated volunteer with the Edmonton branch and the national office of the Canadian Red Cross Society for over 35 years. 
Donna worked on several projects including: The Aquatic Safety Plan and Operational Best Practices, Swimming & Water Safety Instructor Emergency Response research, Breaths-First CPR , Rescue Tubes, Red Cross Lifeguard Training for Dealing with the Public and Enforcing Facility Rules, and many more.
Donna’s commitment to excellence helped make our Water Safety Leadership programs of the highest quality.
Thank you Donna. 
A woman with light short-cropped hair wearing a Red Cross pin smiling at the camera
Janice Makepeace has been a loyal and dedicated volunteer of the program for over 28 years. As a Master Instructor Trainer, she has mentored many Instructors and Instructor Trainers.
Janice was a member of the lifeguard technical advisory committee and was instrumental in the creation of the Lifeguard and Assistant Lifeguard program. Her role as a volunteer in the program saw her facing many new projects, which she met and delivered with ease.
Thank you Janet.
A man in glasses and checkered shirt with a Red Cross pin smiles at the camera
Wayne Little has been a volunteer with the program for over 33 years. He continually served on a number of programs and projects, as well as in leadership.
Wayne served as the chair of the Swimming & Water Safety Technical Committee, where his quick wit and passion inspired the group to make the program what itcame to be.

Wayne’s experience on many committees including the Volunteer Advisory Council, The Lifeguard Committee, The WSIT Committee, and the Injury Prevention Advisory Committee helped structure the program and ultimately save lives.
Thank you Wayne.
The Canadian Red Cross is so proud these long-term volunteers and what they have accomplished for the program. The legacy will carry on.
The Canadian Red Cross Swimming & Water Safety and Lifeguard Programs will no longer be offered as of January 1, 2023. We are committed to supporting the transition of all Training Partners, and all current and aspiring Red Cross Swimming & Water Safety and Red Cross Lifeguard certificate holders to the Lifesaving Society.

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