Dive Project Cornwall, the ambitious scheme which aims to introduce 400 lucky secondary school pupils from around the country to the world of diving and the underwater realm, has conducted its first ‘school week' – and the feedback defied all expectations.
Dive Project Cornwall, founded by Andrew Forster and operating out of a purpose-built base camp near Porthkerris on the Lizard Peninsula, has been running a nationwide competition open to all secondary schools to win this experience of a lifetime – a six-day trip to Cornwall where the attendees will learn to scuba dive, enjoy outdoors adventures, take up beach-related activities and attend presentations from leading marine industry experts.
A total of 20 students from Sir James Smith School, which is part of North Cornwall Learning Trust, took part in the first ‘school week', which acted as a ‘trial run' for all of the organisers of the project, and as can be seen from the below testimonial from Deputy Head Ed McGuffie, the results were nothing short of life-affirming.
‘We have just returned from what has been the most-amazing week of school ever. 20 of our students are now fully fledged ‘Ocean Influencers', having completed the pilot week of Dive Project Cornwall (DPC). It is hard to describe how fantastic the DPC staff were – every one of them were superb. Andy, Darren and Gary (from Orca Scuba) were calm, patient and excellent instructors. The support given by Gabe, Jo, Rachael and Roz was so reassuring for the students. Without their patience, the students would not have made such enormous strides in their confidence and diving ability. Tamsyn and Steve were the most-brilliant camp hosts, producing the most-amazing food – bbq steak on the first night set the tone for what was to become an unbelievable week!
‘The students have returned as completely different individuals. They have become more resilient and have developed their social skills in a way they would not have achieved in the traditional classroom. Every young person that attended Dive Project Cornwall developed huge confidence in the water – many arrived nervous and unsure of themselves on the Sunday. By the time we left Porthkerris, every student had overcome barriers and challenges they had never faced before.
‘In my 16 years of teaching, I have led day and residential trips in the UK, France and Italy. Dive Project Cornwall has been the best trip I have had the privilege of leading in my career. From a personal point of view, it has been the most-rewarding week of my career – from seeing students overcome challenges and achieving success in so many different ways to working with an amazing group of people.
‘It has been an absolute pleasure working with Dive Project Cornwall and I would highly recommend the trip to any young people. This is just the start of our journey – the students and staff are really excited to take our Ocean Influencer status to the next level.'