MAGALOG21 (2021)

in Bonaire and followed with his Jr.Advanced. I had to ask his permission to touch him and clearly explain during skills why I would. For example, as I do with all kids, let him know that when he did his mask clear, I would hold him in place in case he wanted to keep his eyes close so not to get the salt water in his eyes. I also told him with the Controlled Emergency SwimmingAssent (CESA) skill, I would be holding on to him to allow him to go slow and for me to feel better.Once Jacob knew he was doing something to help me he was very eager to assist. On our first adventure dive together in Roatan Honduras, I was pleasantly surprised at how fun and interesting he made our dive. Jacob told me that when he is diving, he can pay attention because he does not have the distraction of sound; he can focus on sight. Jacob came to Palau with us this year and although some sleep meds were required for the long flight, he was excited to learn about WWI andWWII.His buoyancy, his attention, and his excitement were contagious; and, while for the most part Jacob did not interact too much with other kids or adults and kept to himself, I was proud of him. The instructors to whom I have introduced Jacob have thanked me for pairing them together.He renews your spirit and inspires you to be a better person, to take the time to care, and makes you realize that you can change someone else’s life in a positive way. Diving does that for so many kids, but for this special boy it really brought him closer to his mom, and the rest of the world he was not

wondered off and was frantically looking for him all around the resort. As she was walking past the beach volleyball game she thought to ask if anyone had seen Jacob, and there he was. She told me how this trip had indicated a moving of the needle for him. Playing volley ball, leading dives, it was all just so amazing to think about how far Jacob had come. Jacob’s journey truly has been validation for me that what I do every day does matter. LOVE OF A MOTHER I have over 6000 dives now, but diving with Jacob ranks up there in my top 10. I’ve opened my heart and my company to special needs kids. It’s a lot of responsibility and, yes, very stressful because to me each child is like my own. I want everything to be as perfect as it can be. I want to make sure that child can look at me and trust me. Since Jacob came into my life, I have enjoyed many other special kids and it has been the most challenging and most rewarding part of my career. Jacob said he will always dive with Kids Sea Camp and he even wants to become a Dive Master someday. I’m ready when he is, and almost every member of my team can’t wait to be assigned to Jacob.He has touched our lives far more than we have his. I am inspired also by the courage and love of his mother, who makes his journey her greatest joy and priority. I can’t wait to dive with Jacob in the Philippines with whale sharks next summer..

so sure he would enjoy. ThisAugust, 14-year old Jacob came to my Cayman Brac Kids Sea Camp week.He joined the kids’ boat and helped other kids, and even led the dive for him and his mom (with DM in tow). Patric, another special instructor I fly in from Switzerland to help me with special needs kids, buddied with Jacob on this trip.With emotion and pride, we watched this young, confident Advanced OpenWater Diver guide, engage with, and enjoy the company of other kids and divers. He even played volleyball with us one after- noon.We did not realize how big of a deal that was, but thought his mom was going to faint when she saw him. She had thought he who makes his journey her greatest joy and priority.” MARGO PEYTON “Jacob has touched our lives far more than we have his. I am inspired also by the courage and love of his mother, 803-419-2556 email:

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