I grew up by the water and learned to swim as a young child. As soon as I was old enough to become certified, I became a Lifeguard and Swimming Instructor so that I could pass on my love of the water to as many people as possible. I have always believed that everyone should know how to swim and that death by drowning is preventable! I began a career in aquatics and remain active in it today.
When I saw the opportunity to apply to volunteer to teach children in the Bahamas how to swim, I knew I wanted to be a part of it! It’s been many years since I have directly taught children, and I was excited at the thought of getting back to doing what I first loved – teaching swimming. When I learned more about SwimTayka and its mission of bringing together swimming instruction with environmental stewardship, I felt this was the perfect platform for me to merge my passion for the water with an opportunity to give back! I was shocked to learn of the astounding number of children in Bimini who don’t know how to swim yet grow up surrounded by and dependent upon the ocean.
My experience in Bimini was exciting, enriching, fulfilling, and humbling. Watching the children engage in their lesson each day, some frightened to go in the water yet excited to be there, was a lot of fun! Watching each of them progress in such a short time reinforced to me the power of one. One small team of volunteers can make a difference in the lives of many!
Hearing their screams of excitement as they watched the waves crash on the beach, watching their eyes grow wide as they learned about dolphins and sharks who share their waters, seeing their smiles when their name was called to go next, was priceless. A highlight for me was hearing the children saying “watch me Miss Lisa” as they showed off a new skill I had taught them!
Being a part of this program also changed me. It reminded me of the importance of doing what you love – what you believe in, and the importance of having fun and laughing every day!
I am very grateful for having had the privilege of working with wonderful volunteers, and so many wonderful children who were eager to learn! You just never know the impact you will have on someone, but in this case, it is my hope that because of this program, someone who may have drowned, won’t!
Lisa Adams (SwimTayka Volunteer)