Plenty of summer camps involve a pool. This PADI scuba camp, put on by the Hernando Recreation Department, involves breathing under the pool water. Jack Farrell, a longtime scuba instructor at Sunrise Scuba in Spring Hill, hosted the weeklong PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) scuba class. For three days, participants worked in an indoor pool, then went out to the Rainbow River to put their new skills to the test. "It's a little more intense" than taking a longer class, Farrell said. "We don't cut any corners. It's a camp, so to speak, but it's concentrated on getting them certified in a week, and a lot of them are junior divers under 15, so they'll have to be with an adult anyway."
For most of the first three days at the indoor pool at Sunrise Scuba, students worked on learning to prepare equipment, how to breath off the regulator, how to clear that and their masks, how to equalize under water, how to recover a regulator, what to do if there's a cramp, how to perform different kicks, and how to get in the water with either a giant stride or backward entry.
Another aspect of the teaching is making sure that if something happens and panic sets in, students know what to do.
There's also classroom work, as well as a final exam that students must get an 80 on.
Farrell says kids take to the class so easily because they have "no fear of getting in the water."
"They adapt so well," Farrell said. "It's hard to get them to study in the classroom. You have to work to get the 80."
The camp gives kids a chance to experience something different.
"They do something totally out of their element and a lot of the kids are interested in marine biology," Farrell said.
"Hernando offers a lot of camps and this one is different because of the equipment involved and the work involved, but this is a way for them to explore one of the last great frontiers we've got out there."