PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLA. (WMBB) — On Saturday, the Panama City Dive Club partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Bay County to introduce local children to scuba diving. Many of the kids participating had gone through the Boys and Girls Club junior lifeguard program, and were lifeguards for the club, Hank Hill, CEO of the Bay County Boys and Girls Club said.
“Our goal today is to get the kids in the water,” Hill said. “Get them familiar with scuba diving and all the different safety things that need to go on to make that happen in an environment that can be unsafe sometimes.”
The kids were fitted with scuba suits, flippers and masks, before hitting the water before 9 a.m.
While other event took place around Bay County, Saturday’s event was the first time that the Panama City Dive Club and local Boys and Girls Club held an event in conjunction.
“I think this is very much going to be a future event,” David Aronoff, a member of the dive club said. “Definitely for our club. But this is something that through the entire state of Florida and the southeast itself would be amenable.”
Members of the Boys and Girls Club also mentioned how enjoyable the experience was for them.
“It was amazing, it was calming,” Adriana Cruz-Betancourth said. “I was really nervous at first but like once we got in the water, you can’t really think of anything else except ‘wow it’s so pretty.’”
After hours of scuba diving, the divers and teachers swam out of the water to feast on burgers that the Panama City Dive Club was grilling early in the morning. While the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience, Aronoff said the volunteers did as well.
“The members of the dive club are very excited. We’re going to have a cookout for the kids afterwards, like I mentioned all the donations that we’ve had. They’re enjoying meeting the kids and getting to know about them.”