TWENTY young Biminites gained increased confidence in the water and new in-sight into its vital importance during the third annual Swim and Eco Camp hosted by Save The Bays (STB), Waterkeeper Bahamas and international group SwimTayka.
The five-day camp offered pool swim, ocean swim, science experiments, field assessments and presentations on the importance of water.
“Learning to swim with-confidence is a vital part of being able to enjoy the beauty that this country has to offer its residents,” said Joseph Darcille, chairman of STB. “Learning to appreciate the significance and fragility of our marine environment is a key part of being a Bahamian. In this year’s camp, we sought to marry water safety skills and environmental stewardship in a way that would spark enthusiasm in the next generation of conservation warriors.”
SwimTayka sends qualified instructors into developing communities around the world to teach children and adults how to swim, a skill that could one day save their life. The group also educates them about caring for the open water and how to preserve it for future generations. And they teach skills that open the door to future jobs as lifeguards and swimming instructors. This year’s team consisted of project leader Nathalie Martin, UK board trustee Lorraine Mackie and volunteer Claire Cohenuram.
The event was hosted by Rashema Ingraham, the Coastal Water-keeper for Bimini and executive director of Waterkeeper Bahamas, which is part of a global network of organisations that aim to make as much of the world’s water as possible fishable, drinkable and swimmable as possible.
Ingraham said: “It is our responsibility to monitor water quality levels and report these on a regular basis. We recognise however that the human element is central to all of our work and that in addition to clean water, we must advocate for a community that has the skills, awareness and opportunity to take advantage of it.
“For us, the marriage of water safety and environmental education is a natural one. It is not just about giving young people the skills to enjoy the water safely, but also the knowledge and sensitivity to the challenges facing our oceans so that they can help preserve these precious resources for the benefit of future generations.
“We are thrilled to partner with a group like SwimTayka, which shares these priorities.”
She gave special thanks to the board of the Bimini Sands resort, which provided the pool for training; Neal Watson Jr from Bimini Scuba Center who ferried the campers back and forth to the resort; Demetrius Wildgoose and James Pinder of Louise McDonald High School for accommodating the classroom sessions; and Dominic Cox of Dolphin House, who photographed a special Beach Olympics event.
Ingraham said the reception and enthusiasm of Biminites to the programme has led them to seek to conduct similar exercises in other communities around The Bahamas.
Article from The Punch 8th July