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Isla PR/ The Cayman Bottom Times

Swim Program Teaches Caymanian Children Much More than Water Skills

Life Lessons and Possible Career Paths Mixed in with Fun in the Water

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, July 4, 2017 - A group of Caymanian children are learning to swim and snorkel through the West Bay ECO Warriors program hosted by Sunset House and organized by staffer Emma Jane Fisher, who has long believed in teaching kids to love the ocean and be safe in it.

“After living & working on different Caribbean Islands I found that local kids generally do not receive formal swim training as part of their school curriculum and I think that is a missed opportunity and here at Sunset House we want to change that,” said Fisher, who helps with Sunset House’s Sales/Marketing and Outreach Training.

Ten students between the ages of 8 – 10 from West Bay Primary School and John A. Cumber meet every Thursday at the Sunset House seaside swimming pool to learn skills taught through PADI swim school and the YMCA. The swim program is supported by the YMCA and the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education, and the Ministry has identified the enrollees as children at risk. The swim program gives them an activity to look forward to and water skills to make them safer, but a broader goal is to raise the kid’s awareness of ocean conservation and enhance national pride in their home and its rich seafaring heritage.

“By introducing young Caymanians to swimming and snorkeling, we want to make them aware of Cayman’s outstanding watersports tourism product, especially in watersports and diving. The hope is that they can eventually make a career for themselves in tourism,” said Ms. Fisher.

Guest speakers are part of the curriculum to educate and entertain the children, and subjects center on the marine environment and how to protect and preserve it. Fisher also speaks to classrooms during the school year to promote water safety and ocean conservation. She encourages the older students to try diving with the hope that they will continue their scuba education to become a rescue diver or divemaster. Sunset House would like to have more Caymanians on their dive staff, and the industry offers good career paths in tourism.

“The overall goal is to produce future dive tourism professionals from the Cayman Islands who are aware of and proud of their island’s beauty and marine environment, which is among the best in the world,” said Fisher.

“This program is one of many community and special projects that Sunset House and Sunset Divers are involved in, including Force Blue and Save Cayman,” added General Manager Keith Sahm.

Force Blue is a nonprofit program that engages and trains combat divers to participate in coral restoration, thus giving the men a mission to save reefs and giving our reefs much needed help. Save Cayman is a grassroots nonprofit organization that advocates for environmental stewardship and sustainable tourism in the Cayman Islands.

“Sunset House is committed to supporting our local community, the marine environment and combat veterans,” said Sahm.Emma-Jane Fisher says the swim program, which is run entirely on donations, is a vital first step in engaging children and spurring their interest in watersports, but they are facing a challenge.

“Unfortunately, the Cayman Islands Government has cut its funding for the program, so we are always running in deficit,” she said. “We’d greatly appreciate help, financial or otherwise, to keep these kids safe and lead them into further education as they grow older.”

To help the ECO Warriors Program with donations, swimming equipment, snacks or transportation contact Emma-Jane Fisher at emma@sunsethouse.com or call Sunset House at 1 (800) 854 4767.

About Sunset House

Sunset House/Sunset Divers has been welcoming divers to the Cayman Islands for more than 55 years. It is the only resort in the Cayman Islands, designed by divers, operated by divers, for divers. It’s also the only resort on Grand Cayman that has its own coral reef, with modern and ancient shipwrecks in shallow water right off shore. Underwater visibility on Sunset House’s reef can exceed 200 feet, and a remarkable variety of marine life to be seen there. Our own spectacular 9’ bronze sculpture of the mermaid Amphitrite is one of the most popular shore dive sites in the world. The resort features 52 guest rooms, including 16 deluxe Oceanview rooms, 2 spacious suites and 2 apartments with full kitchenettes. All rooms are air-conditioned, with phones and private baths. Free Hi-Speed Wireless Internet can be accessed throughout the property and a convenient computer station is located in the lobby. SeaHarvest Restaurant offers full menus for some of the healthiest breakfasts, lunch, and dinners around and is famous for its East Indian menu. My Bar a popular hangout for both locals and visitors, has been voted “Best in the Caribbean” by Caribbean Travel and Life and the Best of Cayman. Sunset House also features an inviting seaside freshwater swimming pool.

For information or reservations:
Call Toll Free: (800) 854-4767
On Grand Cayman: 345-949-7111

Web: www.sunsethouse.com
E-mail: reservations@sunsethouse.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sunsethousecayman
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sunsethouse

Media Contact: Adela Gonzales White, Adela.G.White@comcast.net