Port Authority holds summer camp

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 34            August 24, 2006

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Students learned valuable lessons during the Maritime summer camp, including vessel safety. Once back in school, these children will certainly have exciting stories to tell about what they did during their summer vacation!

Students from around Belize, including San Pedro, benefited from this Maritime camp, where they learned necessary survival skills and at the end of the course, were awarded certificates of participation. Supporting this event was Mayor Elsa Paz.

In collaboration with the Belize Port Authority, PACT (Protected Areas Conservation Trust) hosted its youth Maritime summer camp for the first time in San Pedro. A total of thirteen children completed the program and were recipients of a certificate of participation which proved they had completed the courses given over the week, August 14th to 18th. With the theme; “Strengthening the foundation and awareness of Maritime Safety and Marine Environmental Protection”, the children acquired several fundamental skills in water and boating safety.

    Instructors for the camp were PACT representatives; Gilbert Swazo, Godfrey Mckoy, Amanda Bermudez and Natalie Palen of Red Cross. The lessons taught during the course included first aid, water survival techniques, safety skills, boating safety, and emergency communications, just to name a few. A closing ceremony was conducted at the Tide Pier in San Pedro where parents, guardians, participants and the media gathered to see the results of the week’s training. Gilbert Swazo, Instructor, took to the podium to make his address, he stated, “Water is a vital part of life, but it can take lives if the right practices are not utilized. That’s why our efforts and aim is to teach our youths the basic elements in safety and some preventative measures.” The Port Authority believes that with this program, the children will be catalysts to make a change in the community.

    A total of 100 children from Corozal, Dangriga, Punta Gorda and San Pedro have benefited from this camp learning new skills which they can use to survive in the event something wrong would happen while at sea. With the recent boating disasters, it is hoped that they will use these newly acquired abilities to help alleviate the boat disasters, mishaps and culture to one that is better.

    Mayor Elsa Paz was on hand to give a brief speech on the program and the involvement of the youths in San Pedro. “I applaud your efforts for organizing a program that is educational yet very helpful. We continue to support programs like these because we believe that indeed youths are our future and we want what is best for them.” She ended by encouraging more youths to participate in programs that can be useful in everyday life.

    A few demonstrations were made after the ceremony where the youths showed the gathered several life saving techniques in the water and the results of the week’s efforts. With lifejackets on, they performed several search and rescue techniques that were learned in vessel and water.

    Overall, the camp was a success, it proved vital for the young generation by increasing their awareness of maritime safety and marine environmental protection in Belize. Through this medium, PACT Maritime summer camp team would like to thank Belize Port Authority, San Pedro Town Council, Mayor Elsa Paz, Red Cross, SP High School, Tides Resort, participants and parents for making the event a productive and useful one.

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