Over this past spring break, 11 students and four supervisors from Rimbey Jr/Sr High School travelled to Huatulco, Mexico, to complete the open water dives required for open water SCUBA certification. This trip was the culmination of 11 months of coursework, preparation and planning, and was the seventh such trip for our school. The program and trip is funded 100 per cent by the students themselves, with support from their parents, in many cases.
The SCUBA program began in 2009, when eight students and two supervisors from our school began SCUBA training. After some pool sessions and coursework, this small group travelled to Victoria, B.C. for their open water dives. This trip was somewhat successful, but the cold water of the north Pacific and the low visibility in the water made the final stage a bit challenging for the divers. As a result of this experience, all successive SCUBA cohorts travelled to the warmer and clearer waters of the south, to sites in Cuba, Costa Rica and most frequently, Mexico.
Most trips saw approximately 20 student participants complete their training and subsequent certification. Along the way, a significant number of students joined our group for a second trip, and pursued Advanced Open Water certification through our school. In one case, a diver went on to use his skills in a practical manner, as he is currently employed in Ontario as an underwater welder. A total of 117 students, including those who did the Advanced training, have participated in the program over the years.
The schedule on this most recent trip was very similar to previous trips, with the students spending time snorkelling in the ocean on the first couple days, followed by a number of open water dives in the ocean. This group also had the opportunity to take a short cab ride into the nearby town of La Crucecita, to shop, snack and experience an authentic Mexican town. They also spent one day on a boat excursion exploring and snorkelling seven of the bays in the Huatulco area, and were fortunate to see some whales along the way.
Many thanks go to the Wolf Creek Board of Trustees for their continued support of this program. Former superintendent, Dr. Larry Jacobs gave us our initial approval back in 2009, and we continue to receive support from our current Superintendent, Mr. Jayson Lovell. Thanks to the many parents who have supported the program over the years. As well, Kandy and Margo Froehlick and Gail Lekas have all contributed significantly to the success of the program.