Kids Sea Camp is so much more than that!

Scuba Diving - - Gold List - By Sophia Quast, age 17

Kids Sea Camp is for fam­ily, but it’s also the per­fect place for young adult divers ages 13-19, who are ready for some in­de­pen­dence, ad­vanced ad­ven­ture and con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion and who want to have mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences with other teens.

I’m get­ting ready for col­lege soon, and this sum­mer, I en­joyed div­ing with my fam­ily, grand­par­ents, aunt and un­cle at KSC Roatan. Spend­ing a week div­ing to­gether was one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences I have had with my en­tire fam­ily.

My dad is a mil­i­tary doc­tor, so I have grown up mov­ing around.we lived on Guam for many years, and that’s when my mom read about Kids Sea Camp and booked the Palau trip in 2012. Each year since then, my par­ents, my­self and my two younger sis­ters, 15-year-old He­len and 13-year-old Zoe, pick a KSC dive trip. Both land-based trips and live­aboards are on the ta­ble and open for dis­cus­sion.

KSC trips are in the best dive des­ti­na­tions around the world. I have been to KSC Palau three times with Sam’s Tours, KSC Fiji at Beqa La­goon Re­sort, KSC Roatan at Mayan Princess and the Sea Of Cortez, KSC’S “Cit­i­zen Science Week” on the Quino El Guardian.

There are many KSC fol­low­ers that re­turn year after year, like my fam­ily, but there are al­ways new fam­i­lies, dive staff and great peo­ple to meet.that’s the “Kids Sea Camp magic” that Margo Pey­ton cre­ated 18 years ago when she started the com­pany for her kids.

My mom en­joys un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy, and my dad seems to re­lax and en­joy the quiet of be­ing on a dive boat and sub­merged where the busi­ness of ev­ery­day life can’t reach him. My sis­ters love the wa­ter and look for­ward to these trips, as there are many things to do in ad­di­tion to div­ing.

I think we all agree hav­ing other kids our age on the trips to share ad­ven­tures and hang out with has been the best part. I love to travel with my fam­ily, but div­ing with other teens from around the world, learn­ing about new cul­tures, crea­tures and ecosys­tems, and dis­cov­er­ing my­self is why I want to keep com­ing back.

On these trips, the cell­phones get put away. Be­ing in the mo­ment is more fun than wor­ry­ing about what ev­ery­one is do­ing back home. I have found that I can eas­ily han­dle be­ing un­plugged in ex­change for ad­ven­ture.

My par­ents sur­prised me with a Quino El Guardian trip to Mex­ico this past sum­mer on a KSC “Cit­i­zen Science Week.” It was dou­bly sweet be­cause my best friend, Mo, was my room­mate and dive buddy.we had sev­eral other girls our age on board as well.

The week was full of science and cool en­coun­ters with whale­sharks and sea li­ons.

- QIX 1SQS ±1S² ,YHIW SR E ¾MKLX to KSC Palau in 2013.We bonded and be­came dive bud­dies, and later best friends.adding ship­mates to that re­la­tion­ship this sum­mer has set the bar pretty high for plan­ning our next ad­ven­ture. Our par­ents have faith and trust in Kids Sea Camp, and that GSR½HIRGI EPPS[IH YW XS IQFEVO SR our own ad­ven­ture.

Mo and I joined the live­aboard in the Sea of Cortez.the two of us jour­neyed through sev­eral air­ports and had to ½RH SYV [E] EVSYRH [MXLSYX SYV par­ents.

This trip was an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity for me to grow as an in­di­vid­ual by step­ping out of my com­fort zone and putting the years of travel train­ing Mom had pro­vided to use.

I had never been on a live­aboard be­fore, so seven days at sea was an in­spir­ing ad­ven­ture. I had the most eye-open­ing and lib­er­at­ing trip of my life, and Mo and I met some in­cred­i­ble peo­ple.

We were made to feel apart of the KSC fam­ily, as al­ways. Our dive guide was Juan, who we called “Dad” be­cause he looked after all of us like a fa­ther. KSC staff mem­ber and photo-pro Brad Hol­land be­came “Cool Un­cle Brad.” Linda Sue Din­gel, aka “Mom” from Sport Diver mag­a­zine, helped us feel at home on the ship, es­pe­cially when she busted out goody bags of Amer­i­can ¾EKW VIH [LMXI ERH FPYI XMRXIH KPEWWIW and “I love Amer­ica” signs for the 4th of July party she threw for us.

Mo and I learned so much about ma­rine an­i­mals, plank­ton and div­ing from ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist Dr. Robert Ru­bin, the “Cit­i­zen Science Week” leader.

I have many men­tors from my dive masters and in­struc­tors, all of whom have be­come part of our fam­ily. I re­mem­ber with nos­tal­gia each fab­u­lous venue and their end­less, last­ing im­pres­sions in my mind. My fa­vorite KSC mo­ments

1. One evening on The Quino El Guardian, after a day danc­ing with sea li­ons, I was qui­etly ob­serv­ing an­other ra­di­ant sun­set.then just 100 feet MR JVSRX SJ XLI WLMT E ½RFEGO [LEPI breached out of the wa­ter mak­ing a splash shim­mer­img with golds and reds ERH VI¾IGXMRK E OEPIMHSWGS­TI SJ WMQMPEV col­ors off its body as it landed.

2. I re­call night swim­ming off a moonPMX FIEGL MR 6SEXER EJXIV [EXGLMRK ½VI dancers with new friends.

3. The views speed­ing through the Rock Is­lands of Palau on the bow of our dive boat, cut­ting through the turUYSMWI [EXIVW XLEX VI¾IGXIH XLI FIEYX] of the Float­ing Is­lands.

I’m not tech­ni­cally a kid any­more. That’s why I say, “Kids Sea Camp is more than that.”

KSC also be­came the per­fect place for teen divers like me, who are ready for some in­de­pen­dence, ad­vanced div­ing ad­ven­tures, and a mem­o­rable time with friends I’ve met along the way.

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