Less than fifty miles from the City of Miami Gardens sits one of the nation’s premier underwater diving locations; Biscayne National Park. Thanks to a multi-agency and cross-state partnership, Miami Gardens’ youth had the opportunity to explore scuba diving and related career fields during a hands-on presentation and in-pool demonstration by Youth Diving With a Purpose (YDWP). Visiting the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex pool the afternoon of July 11, 2013, YDWP captivated the crowd of youngsters.
The Tennessee-based organization is designed to challenge and empower youth (ages 15 – 23) to pursue scuba diving skills which create limitless educational, travel and maritime career paths and foster an interest in protecting the environment.
Members of the Youth Diving With a Purpose were in South Florida conducting volunteer archeological dive trips in Biscayne National Park. As part of their visit, the group took time out to share with Miami Gardens’ teens the career opportunities available as a result of attaining scubadiving skills.
Close to fifty youngsters were on hand to experience breathing through a regulator, the weight of dive tanks and seeing first hand divers descend into water.
“Often-time youth of color are not exposed to these activity choices or career possibilities and that’s one reason I created Youth Diving With a Purpose,” explains Ken Stewart, Director of YDWP. “I wanted to create an organization of African- American divers who would travel, learn and explore together.”
City of Miami-Gardens Parks and Recreation and Events & Media departments teamed with YDWP, Miami-Dade Fire rescue and the National Parks Conservation Association to offer the three hour program, which is expected to be the first in a series of new partnerships between the agencies to provide ongoing opportunities for youngsters interested in scuba diving.
For more information about Youth Diving With a Purpose, visit www.divingwithapurpose. org and visit the City of Miami Gardens YouTube Channel to view a video of the program.