National Trainers

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We are pleased to introduce our National Trainers and Trainers in Training. 

The role of a National Trainer has three key components:

  1. Preparing candidates to assume a leadership role as Lifesaving Society Trainers

  2. Assisting with program quality assurance

  3. Program related Affiliate support

Each member of the team has a lot to bring the Branch, Affiliates, Instructors and Trainers from the depth and breadth of their experience in aquatics. Please join us in welcoming the team!

 
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Louise M. Bishoff – Lower Mainland

Louise started her Lifesaving career as an adult when she realized she would not be able to help her children should they get into trouble while camping for the summer. Louise began taking lessons then achieved her National Lifeguard award in 1978.  Over the next 10 years she went on to become a Lifesaving instructor and trainer.  In 1989, Louise became the Aquatics Director for the YWCA of Regina while continuing her Lifesaving training. During the summer months she travelled the southern half of Saskatchewan conducting exams for the Lifesaving Society. Since arriving in the Lower Mainland in 1994 she has worked for Delta as Supervisor of Aquatics for 21 years, overseeing many aspects including the development of all 5 Delta facilities’ pool safety plans.  Since retiring in 2014, Louise has been teaching First Aid Instructor courses and recertifications as well as mentoring new instructors and trainers.

 
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Daniel Burgi – Vancouver Island

(MA, Disaster and Emergency Management) Danny has been a trainer in aquatics for over twenty-five years. He loves teaching and his favourite course to teach is the National Lifeguard Surf Option course - run yearly in June at Hooksum Outdoor School. As a professional first responder, Danny is a confined space and high angle technician. He has swift water rescue training and is a First Aid Instructor Trainer. He lives in Maple Ridge with his wife and four children and thrives on the west coast. In his spare time you can find him on extended biking and hiking trips, surfing with his kids, or training for his next triathlon.

 

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Jim Davies – Lower Mainland

Jim began in aquatics with the Lifesaving Society in 1977 with the Ontario branch as a Lifesaving Instructor/Examiner before moving to BC in 1978 and starting his lifeguard career in Delta at Winskill Aquatic Centre. Jim’s employment path led him to facilities in Vancouver, Delta, Richmond, Abbotsford, Prince George, UBC, SFU, and Splashdown Water Park in Tsawwassen. He has served as an Aquatic Leader, Head Lifeguard, Recreation Supervisor and Facility Manager. Jim became an NLI and FAI in 1983 and continues training lifeguards today. In 1987 Jim became an LSIT and began to pursue his passion for ‘teaching teachers’. He achieved Branch Trainer status in 1990 which provided the opportunity to travel throughout the Branch training ITs and NLIs. As an active volunteer with the Society Jim has served for 3 terms on the NL committee and been actively involved with lifeguard competition for over 20 years. Jim is currently working as a secondary school Science teacher in Mission. In 2011 he completed his Masters of Education at SFU which he has applied to the Society’s aquatic leadership programs assisting new and experienced instructors to improve and perfect their teaching craft. Jim has seen many changes to aquatics in 41 years and has worked tirelessly to advance the Society’s programs to meet these needs. 

 
 
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Ruth Depew – Vancouver Island

Ruth has always been an ‘Island girl’. She loves the water, the mountains and just about any activity that will take her outside on an adventure around “this fabulous place.” She is very excited to work with the Lifesaving Society in this National Trainer volunteer position, helping to further the continual development of aquatic leadership and drowning prevention within the Branch.

 
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Karen Hillmann – Lower Mainland

Aquatics has always been a part of her life whether it has been working, supervising or even just swimming at a pool.  With having taught all types of courses ranging from learn-to-swim, Lifesaving, National Lifeguard and various first aid and leadership (LSI, NLI, FAI and Instructor Trainer levels), Karen has learned skills that she can pass forward to further develop, coach and mentor people to work in an aquatic or first aid environments.  What she loves about teaching is in watching former students grow and develop into becoming leaders in aquatics and first aid.  “It becomes a great sense of accomplishment in watching people become great instructors who then pass on those same invaluable skills to the next generation.  The skills all move forward in the direction of learning, development, mentoring, commitment, integrity, communication and idea sharing in the world of lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership.  It allows us to take pride in what we do.”

 
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Kyle Kronebusch – North 

Kyle lives in Prince George where he works as an Aquatic Leader at the Prince George Aquatic Centre and the Four Seasons Leisure Pool. He is an active instructor and trainer in many regions around the province and was one of our most recent Branch Trainers. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Education at the University of the Fraser Valley.  Kyle is also one of the co-Chairs for the Branch’s Program Advisory Group. 

 
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Gary Lefebvre – Thompson-Okanagan

Gary Lefebvre has been an aquatic professional for 25 years and has had experience working at nine different aquatic facilities during that time. Along with his practical experience, Gary has an extensive teaching background. He has been a National Lifeguard Instructor for 15 years and has a Bachelor of Science and BC Teacher Certification from the University of Victoria. Gary has enhanced his lifesaving skills by competing in lifeguard competitions at the Provincial and National levels. He is a recipient of the Barnsley Shield, M.G.Griffiths Award, and Lifesaving Society Teaching Recognition Award. He is currently working as the Manager of Aquatics at the Vernon Aquatic Centre. Gary’s passion to end preventable drownings is infectious and he looks forward to the opportunity to share his vision with like-minded individuals throughout the Branch. 

 
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Melina Sweezey - North

Melina has been in recreation and aquatics for many years, the last ten years in BC working as the Aquatic Coordinator for the City of Dawson Creek.  Melina has worked hard to develop a support system for the northeastern communities.  She is currently working on completing her Business Management Diploma.  Melina has a wide-range of aquatic qualifications including Pool Operator, Branch Trainer, and Instructor Trainer in National Lifeguard, First Aid and Lifesaving. As a testament to her dedication, Melina received the Teaching Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2013 and continues her work in the North not only as an Instructor but as a mentor and a volunteer in the region.

 
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Elisabeth Tanner – Thompson-Okanagan 

Elisabeth was first exposed to lifesaving during a youth leadership development program at the age of 12 and was hooked.  Now 38 years later, she is working for the City of Kelowna as an active Instructor and/or Trainer in Lifesaving, First Aid and the NL streams. Elisabeth spends much of her time mentoring new instructors and has a depth of experience working on aquatic program development. She is looking forward to working collaboratively with others in this new role.

 
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Michelle Wilcox – Lower Mainland

Michelle's passion lies in what is around the next corner.  In aquatics for over 30 years, she has worked in a wide spectrum of facilities from above-ground, small town summer pools through to big city recreation centres with over a thousand customers a day.  She has extensive experience supporting many individuals from their first day on the job as a lifeguard as part of a career trajectory to supervising and managing facilities.  Michelle has been a member of the BCRPA Ripple Effects organizing committee for over a decade and sees this National Trainer role as another opportunity to pay forward all the support and encouragement she has been gifted in her career.  Lucky to be living and working in Squamish, Michelle's free time is spent enjoying life outdoors. 

 
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Denise Yoreff – Vancouver Island

Over the past 20 years, Denise has held various positions in aquatic recreation.  She has volunteered on several committees and aquatic initiatives, some in overseas locations.  In addition to being an experienced trainer, Denise has acted in the role of Chief Auditor as part of the Lifesaving Society’s Aquatic Safety Audit Program.  She brings vast experience from her work in Ontario as a Branch Trainer and is currently the Director of Operations for the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island. 

 
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Karen Zaidan - Yukon

Karen was born and raised in Alberta, graduated from University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and then went on to study voice and music pedagogy in Hungary for 2 years before meeting her husband.  Together, they have been within the Parks Canada system in Jasper (AB), Banff (AB), Prince Albert (SK), Wood Buffalo (NWT) and have made a new home for themselves in Whitehorse with their 3 children.  While in the NWT, Karen became more involved with swimming and started up a swim team which grew from 6 to 35 kids in just a few years.  Her involvement in aquatics led her to be inspired by other Lifesaving members and found a new career path developing in front of her.  Coaching, mentoring and enabling people to learn and do well is a gift to give people and Karen thrives on seeing others achieve those goals.  She is very excited to take on this new mentorship position to the National Trainer Level and bring it to the North.

 
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Veronica Grusnick – Lower Mainland

Veronica Grusnick is an Aquatic Leader for the Township of Langley at the new Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre. She has been working in aquatics since the age of sixteen, and over those years has achieved her Lifesaving Instructor Trainer and National Lifeguard Instructor Trainer certifications. While teaching courses Veronica goes above and beyond in helping her students succeed. Even when the course is done, she will set up practice sessions to help the candidates get ready for a hiring process at the pools. Veronica took Criminology and Psychology in University and is now working on a diploma in Recreation Leadership. When Veronica isn’t at the pool working or teaching courses she can be seen at a Vancouver Canucks game as she is an avid hockey fan, or shredding powder at one of the local ski hills in the winter. She is looking forward to working with everyone on this journey as a National Trainer. 

 
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Megan Pilla - Kootenays

For as long as she can remember, water-based activities have been an integral part of Megan’s life. It started for her when she was introduced to competitive swimming at the age of three by her aunt and never looked back. She has been an active member of the BCSSA and Swim Canada for 27 years. Beginning her coaching at age 12 and proceeding to develop those skills to a national level in regular sport practice and Special Olympics. I became involved with the Lifesaving Society at 14, became a Lifesaving Instructor at 18 and pursued her advanced certifications (LSIT, FAIT, NLI) which led her to become a mentor. From there she branched out into First Response First Aid and healthcare. Her passion for mentoring shows most when a candidate perfects a skill or achieves a goal. “These ‘ah-ha’ moments created a fire inside of me that continues to motivate me and promote water safety, its culture, and enjoyment.”

 
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Craig Short – Lower Mainland

Craig is from Chilliwack and has been involved in all levels of aquatics and recreation for 18 years.  He is an active Instructor and/or Trainer in Lifesaving, First Aid and the NL streams. Craig is passionate about providing quality programs that meet the needs of the aquatic industry and he loves being involved in mentorship and training of our new instructors.  He is an active member of the Competition Committee, and the Branch’s Program Advisory Group.