April 11, 2019


Aspen Ridge Preparatory School has twelve new Junior Open Water Divers! It all started last semester when we embarked on an adventure to explore the underwater world. As our TIDES I class worked through the Open Water Diver curriculum, each section we studied increased student interest, curiosity, and excitement. While the final certification exam caused some anxiety, our two pool days amplified their enthusiasm.

In order to complete our certification, we needed to practice our skills in open water. So, we spent two days diving with Ocean First at Homestead Crater in Midway, Utah. On day one, we met up with Cathy for some compass skills work, set-up our gear, and headed into the crater for our first two dives. Walking into the crater, you could hear several deep breaths and feel some nervous energy. It was incredible to watch these kiddos setting up their gear and getting excited to jump into the 95° geothermal spring. Down at 23-33’, the kids quickly realized how very important all of their training truly was. This was as real-life as it gets and they got it.

In order to include our parents in the experience, I created a REMIND group. Love scuba divingThis allowed me to send texts in order to keep them informed of our trip progress (where we were and what we were doing). One parent said, “I loved all the updates and pictures. They made me feel like I could get a feel for what was going on and made it easier to talk to my son about his experience (other than hearing “it was good”).

The student feedback was pretty incredible too. Here are just some of the details they shared:

“I loved it! TIDES was such an amazing experience, I learned so many new things. Not just about SCUBA, but about our world. When we got to the pool, I was super excited even though it wasn't the real SCUBA trip. I learned things I never would've learned if it wasn't for the class, not to mention breathing underwater was absolutely incredible. But when we got to the Crater, it was a completely different experience than diving in a pool. I got into the water and instantly I felt calm and just speechless. The dives were truly amazing and worth the wait.”

“At first, I thought TIDES was going to be very complicated and I wouldn’t like it. Later on, I learned that it was very fun and I really enjoyed it. The Aspen Ridge DiversIt was so fun to go to Utah and do our first actual dive.”

“It was really breathtaking. When I was underwater, it was just so quiet and peaceful.”

“When we went to Hawaii, my dad and I bonded over snorkeling; now that we're both SCUBA certified, it can bring that bond to a new level because you have to rely on your dive buddy all the time. So to be his dive buddy we'll get closer and closer with each dive.”

“When I was little and my Dad was certified, I always wanted to go scuba diving with him. When I first found out that my school offered scuba diving, I was so excited. I immediately wanted to try it. Now that I’m certified, me and my Dad can actually go diving somewhere.”

“I feel cool to know that I can dive anywhere with a certified adult. I cannot wait to dive in Hawaii one day! I want my family to become certified so we can dive together. And I want to take my family back to Homestead!”

As you can see, our TIDES I experience was incredible for both students and teachers. Not only did the students discover that they could do anything they put their mind to, but we have created an incredible diving community built on trust and respect. It was an amazing trip! Thank you, Cathy! Thank you, Ocean First!

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