Growing up in South Central New Jersey, Stephane’ Rebeck McCormick never dreamed her life’s work would be around water safety.
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But funny how those things work out.
McCormick has always been attached to the water. At age 14, she illegally got her water safety certification, (September birthday) and the pool director quietly waited to give that to her at the legal age of 15.
A resident of Atlanta, New York and St. Louis, McCormick has been working in and around the pools of the area for years. She’s made pool safety a career for 25 years.
Right after there was a Ladue drowning in May of 2009, she launched her own independent service Backyard Lifeguards.
This entrepreneurial company, based in Clayton offers lifeguards for backyard swim parties, safety training and other activities related to the water. The service also arranges for lifeguards for open-water events like the Lake St. Louis Triathlon and other competitive events. (This is Club BYLG for open water events).
The company targets the many homeowners who have backyard pools in central and west St. Louis communities, including Chesterfield.
From 2001 to 2009, she was aquatics director at the Center of Clayton. “We used to get calls and requests from private residents, especially in Ladue who wanted the services of lifeguards for pool parties. Because of liability issues, and other issues, we had to turn down those calls. That was always a difficult conversation to have, because I just didn’t want to say no. Non-profits cannot broker out their staffs,” she said.
So in 2009, she held her first session, though it was an unpaid one.
Though Backyard lifeguards is not the only portable professional water service in the country (others exist in New York, Florida and Northern California), they are few and far between.
“There are some privately owned swim services who offer this, but we are the only one in the Midwest that I know of.” said McCormick.
McCormick’s lifeguards tend to be a little older and more experienced, and come from other professional lines of work. This is mainly a part time position.
Parents really need these service.
Hosts who give parties can be easily distracted from pool supervision duties, preparing the food and drink for guests; greeting the guests and answering the door and socializing with the other adults at the parties.
That’s where a professional lifeguard for private events comes into play.
Those who work for Backyard Lifeguards are given pre and in service training and on-duty evaluation.
They are easily spotted by their professional uniforms. The home pool staff wears teal outfits and the open water staff wears canary yellow.
The lifeguards come fully equipped with fanny packs, rescue equipment, breathing apparatus, etc. “We are very streamlined, and very proud of what we have created," she said.
“We bring a sense of calm to the host that is busy with so many other things.”
If you would like to learn more about Backyard Lifeguards, this their website.
For information about Backyard lifeguards, call 314-330-4188 or email: smcormick@Backyard-Lifeguards.com.