Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SPTGA and CZMAI team up to promote Fly Fishing and Scuba Diving among youth of San Pedro


The San Pedro Tourist Guide Association (SPTGA) along with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI), Professional Association of Diving Instructors PADI and Hol Chan has teamed up this year to simultaneously provide two unique Summer Camps to children of San Pedro. The two camps being offered are PADI Summer Dive Camp and the Sport Fishing Camp. Both camps targeted students between the ages of 10 – 16 years old.

The Summer Dive Camp targets all primary schools in San Pedro with the aim to get a few students from each school to participate and become certified as PADI Open Water divers. According to President of the SPTGA, Phillip “Billy” Leslie, this year, the program has some 34 students participating, “The SPTGA has always embarked on programs that give back to the community. Two of the programs that we are currently going through at this moment is a summer program with kids. The largest of the two is the scuba diving program. We have gone to all of the elementary schools and offered them this program as an incentive for their kids. We don’t end up choosing the kids; the schools choose the kids as an incentive. We provide the training.

The Diving camp is a joint effort between SPTGA, Hol Chan and PADI. Upon completion of the two-week camp all participants will receive their Open Water Certification from PADI, an internationally accredited Scuba Diving Certifier.

It is the objective of the program that the students, once completing the camp will be available for community projects, “What we do is we train the kids to learn to scuba dive. After they have learned to scuba dive, we engage them in other programs such as Hol Chan, Green Reef or any other group that comes out that requires people to assist them. We train them so that they can be help in reef monitoring, reef check and reef survey, mangrove reforestation or even beach cleanup and their payment is that they learn how to dive.

The theory for the course is being held at the San Pedro Junior College while the practical is being offered by the various participating dive establishments.

The other camp being offered is the sports fishing program. This is the first year of this program and Mr. Omar Arceo, veteran fly fisherman is the instructor. Speaking of this program, Billy informed, “This program is still with school kids. We have identified 17 kids that will be taught how to make a fly, how to use a fly rod, while learning about our three most important specie for fishing which are the bone fish, tarpon and the permit.”

According to Arceo, the art of fly fishing is one that is very unique and he is taking all the time necessary to teach his students from ‘scratch’. “I’m teaching them everything I know. Exactly how I learned how to do it. Identifying the different parts of a fly rod, making sure the ratio of the line is correct, the technique of throwing the line.”

At the end of the camp, it is expected that the children will continue with their learning and Mr. Arceo will continue to train them and hopefully be able to compete in up coming tournaments.

Both programs are ongoing and will culminate on the 27th of July when certificates will be issued and a celebration will ensue for the successful participants.

Organizers would like to thank the following entities and individuals that have contributed to the continued success of the programs: PADI, Hol Chan, Mr. Omar Arceo, CZMAI, Belize Diving Adventures, Tuff e Nuff Tours, Belize Ocean Divers, Canary Cove, Action Divers Belize, Ecologic Divers, Chuck and Robbie’s, Ambergris Divers, Ramon’s Village Resort, Island Divers Belize, Roberto Canul, Everette Anderson, Guadalupe Rosado, Philip Leslie, Jody Martinez, Roberto Castillo, Gilbert Nunez, Rudy Duran, Steve Bowen, and Gilbert Nunez.

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