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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Small Is Beautiful

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St. Kitts and Nevis (Sports Page) – The Nevis Aquatic and Sailing Center, NASC, successfully completed its season of Summer Camps with a 5 day Aquatics Camp targeted at a younger age group.

Whilst numbers were capped at 20 children to respect Covid protocols, a generous donation funded by the Robin Trevors Trust helped to finance a high instructor/participant ratio.

We were very aware parents were entrusting children as young as 5 to our care.

NASC priority has always been to educate and teach new skills whilst having fun in a safe marine environment.

The Aquatics Camp offered a curriculum of 4 core activities – Swim classes, Sail Classes, Marine Biology workshops and Beach Games. The children were organized into 4 groups – Octopus, Starfish, Turtle and Snapper. Each day Camp would begin with the “now famous” and adored Rules Song, composed by Jazzique Chiverton, which sets the framework for behaviour and respect. This was followed by a physical warm-up to music.

The groups rotated between the 4 activities throughout the day which started at 9.00 am and finished at 3.00 pm. A healthy lunch was delivered to the Center with veggie and meat options.

“The camp was one I know my 7-year-old son will never forget. He especially loved the sailing and catamaran experiences. As a curious kid, he enjoyed the marine biology sessions as well. It was very organized, with amazing coaches and volunteers, and the small group activities provided a safe environment for the children given the current pandemic. I highly recommend the Camp and look forward to the next one”

The challenge in teaching younger children is to retain their full attention over an action-packed demanding day outside.

The swim sessions achieved this by incorporating fun and games whilst introducing new techniques and swim skills. Major hits were diving for golf balls at various depths, in water handstand competitions and relays in and out of water. Speed swimming over short distances, in response to a particular word hidden in a nonsensical phrase, was a huge success. This approach introduces a positive vibe and encourages, subliminally, a comfort level and confidence in the water. Even over a week children gained diving skills and began to put in practice or improve their freestyle stroke.

“We learned, laughed, explored, built new friendships, in a fun, safe and family-orientated environment”

NASC is committed to children understanding the critical importance of the Oceans as the marine environment within which they swim and sail. The Aquatics Camp introduced key concepts impacting the health of the Beach, the Sea and the consequences for our Island community.

The campers learnt about coral reef ecology and created island reefs from gathered natural materials. Tidal pools, mangroves and their habitats were discussed and visited and the crisis of depleting swamps was explained. Fun sessions included taking on the identity of a bird for an hour, learning about species identification, feeding and nesting. The most encouraging aspect was realizing how curious and engaged our young campers are. They understood the importance of observation, practical research and interpretation in addressing the threats to Nevis’ marine environment.

Creating awareness of conservation amongst school children is an essential step on the journey to ensure Nevis becomes bio-friendly.

“Every day she came home from camp delighted to tell me about all the different marine biology sea creatures she had learnt about. She had the opportunity to sail, swim and even play a little golf”

The Aquatics Camp gave participants a taste of the fun, life skills and opportunities sailing offers. Discovery sails on Hobies, being towed in an Optimist and the thrill of capsizing exercises were hugely successful ways to teach the basics of technique – the rudder and sail, balance and wind direction.

The Camp finale was the Robin Trevors Memorial Sail – a Catamaran /snorkelling trip for all participants in our 3 week Summer Camps – Youth Sail and Aquatics, hosted by Leeward Island Charters and funded by the Robin Trevors’ Trust.

Robin Trevors was passionate about sailing for young people on Nevis.

NASC is hugely grateful to the Trevors’ family for their support in making such a difference to the quality of the programs on offer during the Youth Sail and Aquatics Summer Camps.

NASC also thanks the Department of Sport for their encouragement, visits to the Camps and invaluable help with promoting Programs.

NASC hoped by attracting a younger age group, new to the Center, an outcome would be an interest in continuing to learn to swim and/or sail. We are happy to say this has been fulfilled and parents expressed a wish to register their children on NASC Programs and future Camps.

“My daughter will absolutely be attending summer camp again next year and with such a positive experience out on the ocean, she wants to attend sailing classes in the near future. Thank you to all the team members of the Nevis Summer Aquatic Camp for the priceless experience my daughter had”

We will be running a Swim and Aquatics Program, starting September 25th, led by Elias Lee with a team of Instructors, including the experienced James Weekes. This will take place as 2 x 1 hour sessions each Saturday between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon. As the Program develops beyond the first few sessions, it will be “peppered” with opportunities to participate in kayaking, discovery sails and a practical introduction to Marine Biology, in addition to the one-hour swim classes.

Again we intend to keep to small groups with an emphasis on quality and progress in developing Swim skills and technique. Beginners and swimmers of all ages and abilities are welcome.

NASC will continue to run its Youth Sail Program on a Sunday afternoon from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm, led by Nick Dupre with a team of 4 Instructors.

We have a history of children transferring between Swim Programs and Youth Sail, meeting one of the organization’s core objectives – access to the opportunity to learn to sail for the Nevis community.

The Youth Sail Program has attracted funding from the SKN Olympic Committee.

This will contribute to the costs of developing new talent and sending young sailors showing competitive ability to regional regattas.

To register and pay for the Swim and Aquatics Program and indeed any of NASC’s Programs, please visit www.nevisaquaticandsailingcenter.com or register at the Department of Sport, Charlestown.

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