Canadian Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety Technical Advisory Group 2018

Swimming & Water Safety Technical Advisory Group (SWSTAG)

The Canadian Red Cross Swimming & Water Safety Technical Advisory Group (SWSTAG) comprises volunteers with an extensive background and expertise in aquatics. The purpose of SWSTAG is to provide advice and recommendations to assist the Canadian Red Cross Swimming & Water Safety Program Team to enhance the growth, quality and standards of the Swimming & Water Safety Programs and resources to meet the needs of the aquatic industry in Canada.

Allison Courtney, ON

SWSTAG member since 2018

Allison Courtney headshot
Allison resides in Ottawa, ON, and works for the City of Ottawa at the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex-Orléans as the Recreation Intern. She graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2018 with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics.

Allison’s passion for aquatics is reflected in her experience. Her aquatic certification background includes Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and Ten Steps to Creating Safe Environments for Organizations and Communities. She also holds the following Lifesaving Society certifications: Standard First Aid and CPR-C with AED Skills Instructor and Examiner, National Lifeguard – Pool Option, National Lifeguard Instructor & Examiner, Lifesaving Society Instructor, Airway Management Instructor and Examiner, Advanced Lifesaving Instructor, Bronze Cross Examiner, and Aquatic Supervisor Training. Allison also teaches aqua fitness.

Allison in fluent in English and French, and enjoys yoga and swimming in her spare time.

Anne Porteous, BC

 SWSTAG member since 2014
Anne Porteous headshot
Anne lives in Nanaimo, BC, and recently retired as the Programmer at Ravensong Aquatic Centre. She has been working on contract with the Canadian Red Cross since November 2017 to assist with the My Red Cross website as well as fill in for vacant First Aid Program Representative positions in Eastern Canada. Anne has a diploma in Recreation Facility Management as well as a degree in Tourism and Recreation Management.

She has been involved with the Canadian Red Cross as a volunteer since 1986 when she first started as a Water Safety Representative for a local committee. The highlight of her volunteer career was when she was chosen to be part of the delegation that went to China to implement Red Cross water safety lessons. An amazing and life-changing experience, Anne was able to see first-hand the impact in the communities and with the people they taught.

For her commitment to volunteer service, Anne was awarded the Order of the Red Cross in 2017.

In her spare time, Anne enjoys time with her family, kayaking with her husband, and playing with her golden retriever. 

Debbie Heywood, BC

SWSTAG member since 2014

Debbie Heywood headshot
Debbie lives in Prince George, BC, with her family and currently works for the City of Prince George in a non-aquatic role, but she still loves to keep her feet wet and stay connected to the facility she previously worked at. 

She started volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross when she became a Water Safety Instructor and realized her passion for swimming and water safety played an important role in preventing water-related incidents. Debbie loves working with people in the aquatic industry and influencing others to become safer around water. As a Master Instructor Trainer (MIT) she was part of the Water Safety Instructor Trainer Recertification Committee in 2011 – 2013.

Debbie is actively involved in her community and spends time training, learning, preparing, and working with the local search and rescue team. She has many interesting stories to share! 

Debbie loves outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, climbing, and paddling.

Donna McKean, AB

SWSTAG member since 2014

Donna McKean headshot
Donna lives in Spruce Grove, AB, and works at the City of Spruce Grove Trans Alta Tri-Leisure Centre as a Lead Instructor. She has her Bachelor in Religious Studies and Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. 

Donna always had a love for water and decided to make it her career. She has taught many children and adults swimming lessons, and trained and mentored countless swimming instructors as well as lifeguards. She is also an aqua fit instructor who loves to work the class hard – everyone leaves happy after her workouts. With her passion, expertise, and ability to mentor Donna was recruited as a Lead Instructor at the facility. She assists Instructors with their lessons, monitors the swimming programs, and provides customer service to parents and guardians of participants.

Donna is active and loves to be outside. You will find her walking her dog or the two of them in a canoe paddling.

Janice Makepeace, ON

SWSTAG member since 2014

Janice Makepeace headshot
Janice lives in Niagara Falls, ON, and is semi-retired from aquatics but volunteers almost full-time! She manages the outdoor facilities near her home each year, a role that keeps her very busy from April to September. Janice has her Honours BA with a major in Recreation.

She started volunteering right after becoming a certified Water Safety Instructor in 1971 when her fellow Instructors convinced her to take on a volunteer role. Janice has held various volunteer roles within the Red Cross - working as a Master Instructor Trainer, as part of the National Committee for the Lifeguard Program, and assisting with many other swimming and water safety projects.

Janice loves spending time with her husband and two daughters. She loves travelling with her husband, especially to warm places like Costa Rica.

Janice was awarded the Order of the Red Cross in 2017 for her commitment as a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross.

Jennifer Landry, QC

SWSTAG member since 2018

Jennifer Landry headshot
Jennifer lives in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, and worked at the Cégep Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Aquatic Centre as a full-time Leisure Technician. She has a Cégep diploma in science, and two years of Bac in education (TESL).

She is a swim coach, Aqua Fitness Instructor for pre-post natal, seniors, people with arthritis, and at-risk clients. She was President of the Association of Aquatic Managers in Quebec for four years. Jennifer is also certified as a Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer and Master Instructor Trainer – Recert Conductor.
Jennifer is currently a full-time mom who enjoys reading, colouring, scrapbooking, camping, cardio and bodybuilding, water polo, and outdoor activities. Jennifer and her husband are expecting another addition to the family in August 2018.

Jennifer is fluent in English and French.

Leslie White, NL

SWSTAG member since 2016

Leslie White headshot
Leslie lives in Torbay, NL, and works for the City of St. John’s where she is responsible for the staff, operations, and programming at four sites. She has her Bachelor of Recreation.

Leslie became involved with Canadian Red Cross when she became a First Aid Instructor. She jumped at the chance to deliver presentations for local businesses on water safety. From there it snowballed into more than she could have imagined. Leslie has been part of many program development committees, pilot courses, volunteer groups, and anything that helps her promote injury prevention and water safety. She represented the Canadian Red Cross and assisted with drowning data collection for eight years. Leslie is also a Master Instructor Trainer – Course Conductor, on the Training Partner Customer Advisory Board, and a Canadian Red Cross Atlantic Ambassador.

Leslie is a certified First Aid Instructor Trainer, Red Cross Pool Lifeguard Instructor Trainer, Waterfront Lifeguard, and a HIGH FIVE® Affiliate Master Trainer.

She enjoys swimming, going to the gym, camping, and snowboarding. She also loves to cook, organize, and attempt projects in the house. She is married and has two kids and two dogs who keep her very busy.

Lynn Kolba, MB

SWSTAG member since 2018

Lynn Kolba headshot
Lynn resides in Sandy Hook, MB, and works for the Selkirk Community Pool within the Lord Selkirk School Division and also works for the Interlake Swim Association within the Lakeshore School Division.

She is an active volunteer with Canadian Red Cross, working on the Assistant Lifeguard Instructor Technical Advisory Group, Developing Swimmer Professional Development Course development, and the Psychological First Aid pilot/program development. Her aquatic background includes Water Safety Instructor Trainer certification, Master Instructor Trainer – Recert Conductor, and Canadian Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor - Pool.

In what little free time Lynn has she enjoys writing, traveling, baking, and hanging out with her dog (who does not like to swim!).

Mélanie Fiala, ON

SWSTAG member since 2018

Melanie Fiala headshot
Mélanie resides in Ottawa, ON, and has a Bachelor’s Degree (hons) in Sciences (Sp. Human Kinetics) and an Athletic Therapy Degree. She is an Athletic Therapist with her own private practice which is located in a dance studio. She specializes in dance (ballet and acrobatic arts) but treats athletes of all disciplines. She has also held Head Therapist positions in both professional and national sport team settings and recently attended the Canada Games and Francophone Games in 2017.

She currently works with the City of Ottawa teaching as a Water Safety Instructor Trainer (WSIT), mentoring new WSITs, and running workshops and professional development for the staff.

Mélanie was a Session Presenter at the Parks and Recreation Ontario Aquatics Conference and presented on biomechanics and fluid dynamics (how our bodies move in water). She is very passionate about how the body moves and teaching people how to move in water effectively and efficiently. 

Mélanie is certified as a Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer and is also a Master Instructor Trainer – Course Conductor. She has First Responder and CPR HCP certifications, Canadian Fitness Consultant Certification (CSEP), NCCP Level 1 coaching status, and Instructor Trainer Status with the Lifesaving Society.

She enjoys ballet, playing outside, swimming, running, rock climbing, paddling, camping, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing.

Mélanie is fluent in English and French.

Simon Leblanc, NS

SWSTAG member since 2018

Simon Leblanc headshot
Simon currently resides in Halifax, NS, and works as a career firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency. He is trained as an Ice Rescue Technician and is also HAZMAT operations certified.

He has been a lifeguard since 2012 and has worked at the aquatic and sports centre in Dieppe, NB, as well as the YMCA of Greater Moncton. Simon also worked at Parlee Beach Provincial Park as a Beach Captain and Lifeguard.

Simon is certified as a Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, Pool Lifeguard Instructor and Waterfront Lifeguard Instructor. He is currently working on completing his Instructor Trainer status for both levels. He is also a First Aid Instructor, Teaching Experience Supervisor, National Lifeguard Instructor and Evaluator, and Lifesaving Sports Coach Level 1.

He attended the Canadian Surf Lifesaving Championships for three years, participated in the Canada Summer Games in sailing, went to the North American sailing championships and was athlete of the year for two years with Sailing NB.

Simon enjoys sailing, lifesaving sport, surfing, and hockey. He is fluent in both English and French.

Wayne Little, ON

SWSTAG member since 2014

Wayne Little headshot
Wayne lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, and has his Bachelor of Science from U of T, and Doctor of Dental Surgery from UWO.

He became a Water Safety Leader in 1985 due to his love of aquatics. He started his Red Cross volunteer role when he was first asked and has never looked back. Wayne has mentioned that many people in his past identified opportunities for him, opened the door, and invited him in. He has held many various volunteer roles within the swimming and water safety and first aid departments, and as a Red Cross Council Member. You can still find Wayne on the pool deck or in the water teaching swimming and water safety courses, assisting with training, or recertifying his own certifications.

When he can find down time, Wayne likes spending time with this family, especially at his cabin on the lake. He loves spending time in the aquatic community and is very passionate about his career as a dentist. Wayne recently became a grandfather and is loving every minute with his granddaughter.

Wayne was awarded the Order of the Red Cross in 2017 for his commitment as a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross.
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