Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors earned their Open Water Diver Certification at Camp Mermaid this summer. They spent half of each day not only learning how to breath on SCUBA underwater, but also problem-solve and practice skills needed to become a Professional Association Diving Instructor (PADI) certified SCUBA diver. After the girls completed a successful dive skills test in the pool, the “mermaids” got the opportunity to complete their certification the weekend after camp ended by diving in Lake Travis. Brook, Svetlana, and Arielle tell us how much fun they had and some of the struggles they faced while learning this new cool skill.
I signed up for Camp Mermaid because I’ve heard that scuba diving is such an excellent and different experience from anything else. I thought this would be an amazing opportunity for me to try something new and make many new friends at Camp Kachina.
Something I really enjoyed about learning scuba skills in the pool was that I could see everything clearly and it felt more comfortable than starting out in open water because it was a familiar environment. On the other hand, scuba diving in open water was such an incredible, interesting, and just all around cool and fun experience that I absolutely loved for many different reasons. For example, the fact that the temperature changes depending on where you go, that there are fish swimming all around you, and that the environment you’re in is much deeper than the 8-foot pool.
Of course, when learning anything new there will always be some challenges and difficulties. I think one of the most difficult skills for me to learn was putting on my Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) in the deep end of the pool. I had to do it by sitting on the BCD, since I couldn’t stand up. I was basically treading water while putting it on! The only other challenge I can think of was taking out my scuba diving weights and putting them back in (putting them back in was the hard part).
It made me feel happy and accomplished to know that I could learn all of these skills, not just the harder or more difficult skills, but even skills that seemed to come naturally for me. The best part of camp was making new friends and lots of memories with the other Mermaids and Sail Away girls. I loved learning a new skill that I will be able to use for the rest of my life!
It feels amazing to have learned something that is so cool in just one week. It is quite the accomplishment. I am so proud of myself to be a Professional Association Diving Instructor certified open water scuba diver.
Most camps are really fun, but none compare to Camp Mermaid. Since learning how to scuba dive and getting my certification, I can now travel and go scuba diving in any place of my choosing. Not only was this camp fun but it also gave me an opportunity I wouldn’t normally get as a middle schooler.
The best part of the camp/open water was when we got down to the bottom of the lake, which was 30 feet deep, and saw many species of underwater animals. It was almost like we weren’t human and were just one among the many mysterious creatures in the water.
I would tell other Girl Scouts who are thinking about scuba diving not to be scared. It is really a joy and it is a new experience that everyone should try. My favorite skill is when you tow somebody while on the surface when they are tired.
I chose Camp Mermaids scuba camp because I thought it would be really fun to do and really cool to say I’ve done it. When I was at camp, I learned a lot of new stuff. My favorites were learning how to scuba without my mask and learning how to clear my mask once it was flooded. The best part of scuba camp was getting to spend most of the 100-degree days in the pool!
The most challenging skill for me to learn was to equalize. The deeper you go, the more pressure you’re under and you have to adjust your air cavities. Most people can equalize every three feet, but I figured out I have to equalize every foot.
Our open water dives were really cool too. When I was at Lake Travis, I saw tons of fish – even a catfish! Then at the end, me and my dive buddy went down to 60 feet. It was so cold I didn’t think I’d make it all the way down.
After it all, I feel really accomplished and happy I learned to scuba. I hope to continue diving in many cool new places and I encourage everyone to give it a try!
Thank you, girls, for sharing your experience and for being a motivation to other girls to get out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves to learn a new skill. Keep an eye out for our summer camp catalog in January and please continue sharing your stories with us.