Kids were in full scuba gear on Thursday at Father Rocco Park as Trenton Fire Department divers taught them how to descend, ascend and dive in the community pool.
“This was a legitimate course. I am a certified scuba instructor,” said Captain Mike Szabo, the master dive instructor. The Trenton Fire department filled out the paperwork and took the kids attending through an ordinary day-one course in scuba diving. “We got them in. They all did very well and were very comfortable in the water.”
The kids took turns in groups to learn how to move and swim with the gear. Maverick Henry, 10-years-old, explained that if given a chance, he would go scuba diving again.” I want to do it again, over and over. The coolest thing about it is you get to breathe underwater without drowning,” Henry said.
Zabo explained that he and his teachers are showing them how to communicate underwater using hand signals. He adds that they teach the basics like breathing through the gear and clearing water out of the regulators. “It’s all basic skills that any adult would learn, but we brought it down to the kids here,” said Szabo.
Thursday’s scuba diving lesson is just a part of the six-week long camp hosted by the Trenton Fire Department, the 1st Annual Capital City Jr Public Safety Academy. The 15 kids attending the camp are the first to work in a new program created by Director Kenneth Douglas and run by Captain Brian Roberts. “These are the first kids, they are making history. They all want to come back next year,” Captain Roberts said.
“We have given them a lot. They did CPR already; they are CPR and first aid certified,” Roberts said.
During their time, the kids learned about being in the TFD. They learned how the firehoses work, boat safety, and firefighters taught the campers how to swim. “Out of the fitting case so far, four of them already got taught how to swim, learn how to swim, and pass they swim test,” Roberts said.
Annabella Retana, 12 Years old, attended the Public Safety Camp and was in full scuba gear when she explained how much fun she was having. “It’s really fun. You can go underwater. You don’t have to come up, before, like, 30 minutes, so you can just be underwater, hang out with your friends,” Retana said.
The camp will end on August 19 with a graduation ceremony for the campers. “I’m glad we did this,” Szabo said. “I think it was good. It was definitely good for the kids.”