AIDA Youth Programme Is Released

Published: 11/05/2020

We are happy to introduce the release of the AIDA Youth Programme, which aims at teaching water and safety skills to children and adolescents. AIDA Youth Instructor qualification is earned by passing an online course that is available to all active AIDA instructors who holds first aid certificate that includes child care. The enrollment will be free of charge for one year from the date of the release of the programme (until May 10th 2021).

The programme was developed from numerous contributors, with the very first initiative for the programme originating from AIDA France, who proposed the first edition of the standards for teaching children in 2017—a document which later became the foundation for the current AIDA Youth Standards. The document was created by Benoit Canell, Rémi Berezay, Remy Dubern and Claude Chapuis. Remy Dubern also authored the names of all the youth courses. Following this, Elena Petrushina was tasked to manage development of the AIDA Youth Programme based on the document submitted by the AIDA France team. From the very first stages the work on the programme was continuously supported by Claude Chapuis.

The Youth Commission was formed to oversee all work being done on the programme – a group of instructors experienced in teaching children who expressed their commitment to be involved in the work: approving or arguing our steps, offering ideas and correcting mistakes. The commission included Cristy Gearon, Betty Grickevica, Julia Mouce Dominguez, Timo Niessner and Claude Chapuis who kept us in touch with the whole team of French authors mentioned above. Cristy Gearon also co-authored AIDA Youth Guidelines. Trial courses with children following the proposed guidelines were run by members of the Youth Commission in 2019.

The Medical and Science Committee - Oleg Melikhov, Irina Zelenkova, Frédéric Lemaître and Juan Valdivia-Valdivia - provided list of contraindications to in-water activities for children, recommended water sessions regimen and depth/distance limitations. They reviewed all chapters related to health. Medical Officer Oleg Melikhov diligently managed his team’s work and communication between Medical and Education committees.

All legal documents were created and reviewed by law expert Nikos Kambanis. Chapters related to education science were reviewed by sports psychologist Maria Ogurtsova.

All of the exercises offered in the Youth Instructor Manual come from AIDA instructors worldwide who volunteered their methods and ideas: Dunia Quintero, Thomas Plum, Daniel Liu, Joannie Huberdeau, Philippe Beauchamp, Richard Price, Jean-Philippe Dandeneault, Francois Leduc and already mentioned Benoit Canell, Remy Dubern, Olivier Heuleu, Rémi Berezay, Claude Chapuis, Elena Petrushina, Beata Grickevica, Cristy Gearon, Timo Niessner and Julia Mouce.

Kira Markusheva designed certificates for children. Remy Dubern, Olivier Heuleu and Andrew Critchley provided photos for teaching materials, and Anna Ivanova drew the illustrations.

Sun Choi published all of the materials of this voluminous programme after they were proof-read by Cristy Gearon and Andrew Critchley. Both Andrew and Cristy gave a lot of their time to continuous discussions and exchange of ideas at every step of creating the content of the Youth materials.

Alexandru Ursu-Vlăgea and his team developed the EOS extension that allows AIDA instructors to certify children. Gaspard Garry-Gendre tested the system. Brian Crossland approved all stages of work with the Board, facilitated the work of material creators and supported the programme every step of the way.

AIDA wishes to thank all contributors to the program for their time, expertise and dedication!

The Youth Programme consists of four courses—Bronze Dolphin, Silver Dolphin, Gold Dolphin (6 to 11 years) and AIDA Junior (12 to 15 years). The courses have been thoughtfully designed to develop competence and confidence, following a natural and individual progression rate throughout the courses. One of the prerequisites for all courses in the programme is the child’s own wish and intent to learn water skills. The courses are skill oriented, and do not have any performance requirements; on the contrary, a maximum performance limitation is recommended for each course, as advised by the AIDA Medical Committee. ‘Breath holding’ and ‘freediving’ as concepts are not discussed in the programme preventing competitiveness; instead children learn ‘breath control’ among other water skills. Each course may take at least 3 or 4 days, and children can be certified at any level—as long as they meet the skill and age requirements. The courses also have a section dedicated towards educating parents on proper supervision of children and adolescents in the water.


Active AIDA Instructors can be certified as Youth Instructors by passing an e-learning course. Once certified, the Youth Instructor will have access to all the required materials online. The course material contains the Youth Instructor Manual, Youth Standards and Guidelines, liability release and medical form, slides for each course, course completion forms and Youth certificates. The certificates are designed as standard A4 diplomas that can be printed in colour by instructors or parents. This is one of the steps away from plastic cards that AIDA is taking. The Youth Instructor Manual will guide the instructor on how to teach children effectively, offering a psycho-pedagogical framework, medical and legal reference, examples of exercises and games.


The Programme was developed in response to a growing demand for courses with educational guidelines for children. By introducing these new standards and guidelines, AIDA has formed a well-researched programme with a conservative approach, creating a safe and enjoyable teaching and learning experience for instructors, children and adult guardians.

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