Each child will receive a strong dose of character-building, leadership opportunities, confidence-building, emotional management, responsibility, problem-solving, teamwork and stress-relief activities and lessons that improve empathy and initiative. In the mobile out-of-school, afterschool and summer camp programs, elementary school-aged students will learn basic fishing skills, kayaking, snorkeling, water safety, environmental awareness, problem-solving and other life skills that use fishing and other water-based activities as a means for self-improvement and social and emotional development.
Students will be taught in person. Each class will receive 12 sequential one-hour sessions and have 15 and 25 students. During the summer, each site will receive six hours of learning in a classroom and six hours on a field trip.
Each site can choose from these field trip options:
- Field trip 1: These trips are designed to engage students with a class taught exclusively on or near the water at the Riviera Beach Marina, Munyon Island or Peanut Island. Students and their chaperones will depart from the Marine Center docks and kayak or boat to various snorkeling or fishing locations off the shores of Palm Beach County, particularly off Peanut Island.
- Field trip 2: Freshwater fishing is a very popular trip for younger students, who prefer to explore local lakes and canals, often walking to their fishing spots.
- Field trip 3: These trips can be classroom-based and are designed to engage students with a squid or fish dissection.
The program will:
- Introduce students to fishing, swimming, boating and kayaking
- Teach water and boating safety
- Provide hands-on conservation education
- Teach SEL and mindfulness skills
These programs attend to the social and emotional needs of youth, leading to skill development, well-being, prosocial behavior, and improved academic performance. Benefits include higher grades, improved standardized test scores, on-time grade promotion, reduced dropout rates and increased school-day attendance.
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, is just one of the many experts to document the emotional and social benefits of water-related activities. In Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, Nichols uses the term “blue mind” to describe the “calm, peacefulness, unity, and sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” that people feel in and around water. Nichols writes that neurochemicals, which relay stress signals in the brain, recalibrate in water to low levels similar to those delivered by meditation, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting mindfulness skills.