The National Association of Black Scuba Divers Visits GBI
On Monday, November 5th, the National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) made their way to Grand Bahama Island to participate in a week-long dive experience and several community service initiatives.
The group, which is made up of approximately 60 divers, planned to take several dive excursions with the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) around Grand Bahama Island.
While the intent of the trip is dual in nature, the group of 60 will be given the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Bahamian culture while an additional 20 non-divers (who travelled with the group) will be able to give back.
Ruthie Browning, Summit Chairperson, said, “The National Association of Black Scuba Divers is pleased to be back in Freeport. This is our third time around [but] the last time we were here was in 2009. [So] every year in November we all come together, and we have what we call our annual summit [but] many years ago, we decided that we could not just keep going places and not give something back to the community. So that’s how all of this got started.”
As a result, the organization connected with the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (MOTA) where officials were able to coordinate specific community service events prior to their arrival.
The acts of service were also in conjunction with Urban Renewal and the Freeport Seventh-day Adventist Church Community Services Department feeding programme.
Karenda Swain, Asst. Manager, Training & Education, MOTA, said, “We are elated to be afforded this opportunity to be the host country/island for the NABS summit, and we look forward to them sharing their experiences upon their return home.”
Thanks to the many industry partners who agreed to assist in the initiative, the group’s week-long activities will include:
* Preparing meals and serving 125 persons within the community at a soup kitchen in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Urban Renewal and the Freeport Seventh-day Adventist Church Community Services Department
* Storytelling with the students at the Beacon School
* Distribution of care packages at Raybertha’s Senior Citizens Home
* An evening at the Grand Bahama Children’s Home
* A Beach Cleanup at Williams Town Beach
The National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) was established in 1991 by Ric Powell and Dr. A. Jose Jones. Ric Powell and Dr. Jones were two of the earliest African-Americans to become certified divers, and their collaboration resulted in the creation of NABS whose purpose was to foster camaraderie among African American divers, and to address the unique problems and concerns of the African-American community. Since the formation of NABS, the organization has blossomed to over 2,000 members across the country and internationally.
NABS’ mission is to create a network of people and resources that provide educational experiences that enhance and promote an appreciation of diving and an awareness of the aquatic environment. This network will build unity and camaraderie to transfer the legacy to future generations. NABS’ vision for the future is: * To promote scuba diving, water sports skills, and environmental awareness and conservation. * To help develop educational programs that will stimulate interest and * To provide scholarships for college students studying marine and environmental sciences. * To sponsor an annual NABS convention. * To sponsor scuba trips and open water educational experiences. * To serve as a clearinghouse for scuba safety, training, and technical information.