Growing Up Diving: Turning a Childhood Passion into a Career


TODAY Growing up scuba diving by Lisa Niver

Thank you TODAY Show and TODAY Parenting team for publishing my article: “Growing Up Diving: A Childhood Passion Becomes A Career” for Father’s Day” Parenting Team Parenting Contributor

Parents often wonder what is the greatest gift they can give their child. In my case, I gave a great gift to my father! So for Father’s Day I wanted to share this idea with you!

My friend, Rainer Jenss, is a PADI Open Water Diver, president and founder of Family Travel Association and took his family of four traveling for a year. He believes, “sharing the world with your children is one of the best gifts you can give them.” PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) cultivates its own path for families to explore the world through adventure and travel, inviting children as young as eight years of age to begin their scuba journey.

I saw this journey in action recently at Beaches Turks and Caicos. My divemaster, Mark Young, learned to dive at the same resort as a child with his brother and uncle. Every year they would return from Canada to the Caribbean and over time he acquired the next level of certification. As we know, a family vacation is a great time to try new experiences and build memories together but for Mark it also turned into his passion and career path.

As divers, we are able to see the world above and underwater and have unforgettable adventures. In my case, my father learned to dive because I fell in love with scuba. There are more than 6,600 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts globally and PADI operates in 186 countries and territories. I have been diving around the world and I felt that the dive team at Beaches Turks and Caicos was fantastic. In fact, Beaches® Resorts were voted by PADI among the Top 5 Dive Operations in the Western Hemisphere! They have received the PADI Award of Outstanding Achievement for achieving more than 100,000 PADI certifications across both Sandals and Beaches Resorts since Sandals Resorts International’s (SRI) membership with PADI began in 1997. “Issuing over 100,000 PADI certifications is a monumental accomplishment,” said Erica Wedepohl, PADI Worldwide, Territory Director for Caribbean & Latin America. “In fact, Sandals and Beaches Resorts are among the few elite resorts worldwide to accomplish this tremendous achievement.”

At Beaches all of the guests can participate in the PADI® certified dive program and they have introductory experiences for kids including PADI Bubblemaker which is a one day program in a pool or confined water for children eight and older, with a max depth of two meters/six feet. PADI Seal Team is a more extensive pool program for kids eight and older that covers basic scuba diving skills in addition to fun activities such as taking underwater photos, practicing buoyancy and learning environmental awareness.

I was very impressed with the dedicated pool area for classes and the high quality equipment. The entire dive team was very professional and friendly. I personally loved the daily scuba diving for certified divers which is always included at Beaches and Sandals Resorts. I was diving at Sandals Montego Bay in February and at Beaches Turks and Caicos in April.

I hope to return again soon with my dad and highly recommend the diving and the classes. I loved meeting Mark and learning how his journey went from a dive with his family to a career after college. I wish I had the opportunity to scuba dive as a child. I know that learning new skills and being more comfortable underwater would have been great for me as a kid.

Are you wondering if your child is ready for scuba certification? If you can answer yes to the following questions, your child might be ready to enroll in a PADI scuba diving certification course.

Is your child medically fit to dive?

Is your child comfortable in the water, and can swim?

Does your child have a sufficient attention span to listen to and learn from class discussions, pool and open-water briefings and debriefings, and other interactions with an instructor?

Can your child follow directions?

Can your child learn, remember and apply multiple safety rules and principles?

Are your child’s reading skills sufficient to learn from adult-level material (allowing for extra reading time and help the child might request)?

Can your child feel comfortable telling an unfamiliar adult (instructor or divemaster) about any discomfort or not understanding something?

If so, it might be time to take the plunge and explore the wonders of the underwater world together as divers.

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Lisa Niver's article on TODAY.comVideo of my dives at Beaches Turks and Caicos with dive-master Mark Young:

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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