Our OriginPort Townsend, Washington resident Zack Chambers lost his life in a swimming accident while on vacation with his wife and young sons in Sayulita, Mexico on May 18, 2010. In Zack's name a major effort to bring lifeguard and emergency services to the beaches and communities of Sayulita and San Pancho was launched. The original multi-phase project included development of lifeguard services, emergency medical, rescue, and fire services, a community CPR program, beach warning signs, and emergency number development and community outreach. After a very successful first year, connections with a major partner organization Firefighters Crossing Borders sprouted a relationship with the local fire service responsible for this remote area.
In 2011 a massive program began which involved partnerships between the fire department, local community organizations, International Rotary, and many others. Planning commenced which included the construction of four to five area fire stations, procurement of six to ten emergency vehicles from the United States, massive quantities of donated fire, rescue, and emergency medical equipment and supplies from the United States and Canada, and training development for local firefighters and lifeguards. Our foundation project coordinator Jordan Pollack joined ranks with Firefighters Crossing Borders area representative Brian Singleton (ret. Asst. Chief, Vancouver, BC) and launched a regional development program as part of Firefighters Crossing Borders.
The Bahia de Banderas Bomberos services include ambulance, rescue, fire, lifeguards. Today this agency is staffing the beaches of Sayulita and San Pancho with lifeguards from their organization. An ambulance and fire engine are stationed just outside the town of Sayulita and crews are being equipped and trained through the program.
In a very short window of two years, local emergency services have moved from two local doctors who for five years responded 24 hours a day 7 days a week to a program now with lifeguards on the beach and a staffed ambulance and fire engine, soon 24/7 once the fire station is completed. Services continue to evolve for the greater area as well which reaches from Nuevo Vallarta (just north of the City of Puerto Vallarta) all the way north of Sayulita to the town of Juan de Marcos.
With the commitment to developing emergency services for the area by both Civil Proteccion Bomberos and the regions President, a decision was made to focus the mission of the Zachary Chambers Foundation on an annual lifeguard training program for area firefighters and lifeguards. Future monies may be used to support purchase of necessary lifeguard rescue equipment for the Sayulita fire station as well.
In Zack's name our foundation strives to insure emergency services live long and prosper in this little village and beyond.
2012 Training Mission A SuccessIn a combined effort between Firefighters Crossing Borders, Zachary Chambers Foundation, and Surf Lifesaving del Sur, the 2012 Sayulita Lifeguard School was conducted this year.
28 individuals attended the three day program - seven Bahia de Banderas FD firefighters, 16 Puerto Vallarta FD lifeguards, three Sayulita surf shop employees, and two Bucarias surf shop employees. For three days, students worked hard on emergency medical and surf rescue skills - some great learning occurred. Congratulations all, these folks are now out working the beaches of the Bahia de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta region.
Some of the major happenings since the training:
- More lifeguard training in Bucarias occurred in December
- Two more lifeguard towers are being erected - Sayulita north end and San Pancho - complete with staffing and signage
- Approval and implementation of a volunteer lifeguard program for Bahia de Banderas Fire Department - for all beaches
- Continued consulting work by Firefighters Crossing Borders with both Bahia de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta fire departments on many levels - one of which is lifeguard programs for the region
The Zachary Chambers Foundation work with the guards will be moving toward training local lifeguard instructors - advancing their skills so that they can teach others. In 2013 much of our fundraising efforts will also focus on surfboards to outfit towers.
Thank you to our instructors from all three organizations who came down to conduct the lifeguard school this year, and to Mark England for his donation of homes for our crew!
Our mission is to support the development and ongoing operation of Emergency Services for the Sayulita and San Pancho area.
We are grateful for the support of the following organizations:
- Firefighters Crossing Borders
- Grupo Pro Sayulita
- The Mission to Mexico
- Sayulita Doctor
- C.J. Aquatics Rescue Products
- Highway Specialties
- Surf Lifesaving del Sur
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