St. Petersburg, FL
Last week 7 students from AMIkids Clay participated in the 3-day marine education program conducted by AMIkids Inc. from the Boatyard in St. Petersburg, FL. During the three days the Clay team had an opportunity to go fishing in Tampa Bay, try Scuba Diving in St. Petersburg and participated in the monthly floating classroom event near the Port of Tampa Bay.
The experience started with the Tampa Bay Fishing Experience, a half-day program designed to provide participants with hands-on experience about the species of fish in the bay and estuaries.
Complementing the floating classroom, this experience provides more in depth knowledge of our estuaries and with basic fishing skills they can replicate in the future. It also includes a hands on small boating component. All the kids took in the BoatUS Small Boating Safety Course previous to participating.
On Wednesday, the youth came back for a Discover Scuba Diving Experience. While not a scuba certification course, Discover Scuba Diving is a quick and easy introduction to what it takes to explore the underwater world and a major opportunity to achieve something most participants usually considered unheard of. A team of volunteer mentors from Apple Foundation joined the kids during this event.
The third day was dedicated to participating in the Floating Classroom. On the boat trip, Kayla Keyes, educator from Mote Marine Laboratory taught a marine biology lesson, integrating the core subjects of math and science. They then had the opportunity to learn hands-on about the ecosystem by wading in the water, collecting samples, and inspecting creatures under on-board microscopes.
Founded in 2015, AMIkids Clay County is a private nonprofit, gender specific prevention program, which creates an environment that teaches boys incarceration is not their future and shows them how to prepare for the responsibilities that come from being a strong, positive male figure in their families and community.
AMIkids Inc. helps at risk-youth and juvenile offenders through a multitude avenues. With 44 programs in 9 states, 136,000 youth and nearly 50 years in operation the organization provides programming in multiple models including marine education, alternative schools, family centered therapy, residential facilities, vocational training and job placements.