Thursday, July 25, 2024

Kids in Action Summer Camp trains new scuba divers, fly-fishers, and snorkelers/swimmers


The 2023 Kids in Action Youth Scuba Summer Camp held a special event on Sunday, July 30th, to introduce the new young students who completed their diving, fly-fishing, and swimming program. The closing ceremony of the annual summer camp was held at the San Pedro High School. The educational camp saw the participation of 60 kids learning scuba diving, fly-fishing, snorkeling, and swimming.
Organized by the San Pedro Touring Guide Association and San Pedro Tour Operators Association, the program fosters a better appreciation and learning to protect the natural marine resources surrounding Ambergris Caye. The program also provides participants with guidance if they want to pursue a career in tourism or conservation. The kids between the ages of 12 to 15 are from different schools, and train them to dive, fish, snorkel, and swim.
After two weeks of theory and practical lessons, the aspiring divers, fly-fishers, and swimmers graduated on Sunday and were recognized in a ceremony before their parents and friends. The last day of the program included a beach clean-up and a dive at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Later in the day, at 7PM the closing ceremonies were held, and each successful participant was recognized as a diver, fly-fisher, or swimmer.
The event started with dive instructor Steve Bowen delivering the invocation. After instructor Philip ‘Billy’ Leslie invited fly-fishing instructor Omar ‘Doctor of the Flats’ Arceo and a representative from the Tour Operators Association to share a few remarks. They congratulated everyone and encouraged them to continue participating in programs such as coral monitoring and fish counts to obtain additional knowledge and skills. They told them that now they have the option to obtain advanced Open Water Diving certification for those who learned diving. Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez also attended the ceremony. “I am happy to see so many young people participating in these types of activities that benefit the community and its people. We will always support these types of programs,” he said.
In the past, some of these kids have become dive masters, marine biologist instructors, operators, and even owning their own operations. An example was the presentation provided by islander Bianca Narvaez. Some years ago, she was one of the students participating in the summer program and discovering the art of scuba diving. She is now studying marine science and is the new part-time Community Outreach Coordinator of the non-profit organization Fragments of Hope, Belize, based in the southern Placencia Peninsula. Narvaez commended everyone for their efforts and encouraged the successful participants to continue excelling in anything that makes them happy.

The formalities of the closing event included the distribution of certificates to both kids and those making the annual activity possible. These included PADI, the San Pedro Tourist Guide Association, the San Pedro Tour Operators Association, DAN, Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez, the San Pedro Town Council, Minister of Tourism Honourable Anthony Mahler, Belize Tourism Board, Ramon’s Village Resort, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Omar Arceo, Dr. Daniel Gonzalez, and many other operators and instructors who continually support this worthy cause.

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