Thompson Rivers University

Students make it their business to save lives

  Posted on: August 20, 2015

An instructor kneels beside children on the beach showing them how help an unconscious person rescued from the water.

Business student and founder of the Lifeguard Outreach Society Paul Wechselberger teaches children what to do with an unconscious person recovered from the water.

The Lifeguard Outreach Society (LOS) was formed in Spring 2015 by TRU business student Paul Wechselberger with the goal of teaching drowning prevention and providing swimming lessons in communities that aren’t served by traditional swimming lessons.

Wechselberger spent three years as a lifeguard at Kamloops’ Canada Games Pool, and many of his volunteer lifeguards are or have been employed by the City of Kamloops.

“In the time I was there I taught thousands of kids and adults how to swim — I taught everything from blowing bubbles to how to do CPR. The Canada Games Pool gets a lot of different types of visitors, and not all of them are strong swimmers. We got to see a lot of action — some very dark times — and it was a life-changing experience for me.”

“What we learned is that no matter how many people we can save by jumping in the water, the odds are so much better if we can actually teach them how to swim and how to help others who are drowning.”

Wechselberger connected to Kamloops Innovation through the TRU Generator, where he was put in touch with business professionals who helped guide him through the development of LOS. The society now includes TRU students Tim Bientjes and Deanna Keller. TRU Law Faculty member Ryan Scorgie sits on the LOS Board of Directors.

LOS is self-funded. Aside from a few donations, the volunteers pay for their own gas, food and lodging.

So far this summer, 150 children have gone through the drowning prevention program, and the goal is to have 200 children through the program by the end of summer. This fall, Wechselberger will travel to Toronto to help set up a Toronto branch of LOS, and has been invited to make a presentation at the International Drowning Prevention Conference scheduled for Vancouver for 2017.




For more information contact:

Paul Wechselberger at 250-574-9288


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