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Ten disadvantaged local youths get scuba diving certifications at Scuba-Fun in Key Largo

Scuba-Fun, the dive center located in the Wyland Whaling Wall building in Key Largo, has provided 10 students from Homestead with scuba diving lessons and PADI Open Water certifications. An underwater photo course at the National Geographic “Biobliz” last April sparked the 12 youths’ interest in scuba diving. However, they and their families were not able to afford scuba certification. Thus local photographer Tom Dailey, who is also their teacher, approached Scuba-Fun, who immediately agreed to provide the lessons. The youths aged 16 to 19 learned to scuba dive from August 11 to 13, sponsored by the Scuba-Fun Dive Center, PADI Americas and Ocean Divers.

Scuba-Fun instructors Robert Doyle, Douglas Gilmore and Anya Elis donated their time and expertise in teaching the youths to scuba dive, PADI (the Professional Association of Dive Instructors) sponsored the teaching materials, and the boat charters were donated for both days by Ocean Divers, also located in Key Largo. The Key Largo Conch House and Upper Crust Pizza sponsored free lunches for the youths during their course. The youths learned all they need to know to safely and comfortably scuba dive by first participating in a full day classroom session. The next day their instructors took them into a swimming pool and practised with them until the students mastered all the necessary skills. From there on the adventure of open water scuba diving began for the students with two days of diving with their instructors off Ocean Divers boats on the beautiful reefs of Key Largo’s Pennekamp State Park. Finally, after having mastered all the necessary skills in the ocean, the students received their life-long PADI Open Water Diver certification. “What a fantastic opportunity Scuba-Fun and its affiliated businesses has provided for our students! This was an experience of a  lifetime for the kids,” Tom Dailey said. He photographed the whole event.

The students were all extremely motivated and they had lots of fun! “This has changed my life, and I will remember this experience forever. Thanks so much for everything, Scuba-Fun rocks!”, Xavier said, and another student, Jesse, stated: “What an awesome experience. I can’t wait to tell everybody I know how about our cool dives and everything we saw underwater”. The Scuba-Fun instructors were very impressed with the accomplishments of the students. “They did absolutely great, and it was such a pleasure to be part of this” said Douglas Gilmore, one of the instructors. Anya Elis, the owner of Scuba-Fun, was thrilled with the opportunity to help make this experience possible: “We are always looking for ways to give back to the community, and we and our business partners are proud to have offered the youths this opportunity.”

Scuba-Fun was founded by Anya Elis in 2006 and is located at the famous Wyland Whaling Wall building in the median at mile marker 99.2 in Key Largo. Scuba-Fun offers dive and snorkel trips, scuba instruction, accommodation packages with several hotels, Everglades and Florida Bay kayak trips, sunset trips and sailing charters. Languages spoken by the staff are English, German, French and Spanish.


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