The 2010 West End Eco-Fishing Camp kids along with members of the Royal Bahamas Police and camp volunteers in their last group pose prior to the upcoming graduation ceremony scheduled for May 29, 2010.
WEST END, Grand Bahama – The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association (WEEFCA) and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) will hold their second annual graduation ceremony Saturday May 29, 2010, 11AM at the Church of God of Prophecy to celebrate the accomplishments of 70 kids from Pine Ridge, 8 Mile Rock, and West End. The camp program was designed to provide the children with specific subjects that would encourage and motivate them to pursue careers as ecology and bonefishing guides, aqua-culture specialists, scuba dive guides and instructors and marine biologists.
The RBPF created the camp program in 2009 as part of their neighborhood community policing initiative to deter kids away from crime and drugs. The success of the program is due to the support of a number of corporate sponsors who believe that West End will emerge as a place where the community, the police and camp volunteers have set high standards as they seek to bring renewed vitality and opportunity for all residents. Sergeant Terry Barry who forged ahead to launch the camp program states, “The past two years has proven that when the police department is closely involved with the local community a successful initiative like the eco-fishing camp can only provide inspiration in other areas of the Bahamas to start their own signature programs.”
Mrs. Pam Miller, Resident of Pine Island [Old Bahama Bay] stopped by to make a donation to Mrs. Linda Barry-Cooper, Chairman of The West End Eco-Fishing Camp Association. Donations, such as this one, is greatly appreciated and goes a long way to providing for the needs of the 70 campers.
Highlights of the 2010 camp include presentations from staff members from the Department of Fisheries on fishing regulations; BASRA shared with the kids how distressed boats or fallen airplane rescues at sea are performed; and the Grand Bahama Port Authority provided a well rounded ecology lesson that provide an in depth look at our eco-system.
The children enrolled in the West End Eco-Fishing Camp learn basic skills about first aid, water safety, swimming, boating, and fishing. A group of dedicated adult volunteers from the Grand Bahama community and officers from the West End police station keep the kids busy learning about “Esprit de Corps” or group spirit that encourages a team effort in each of the planned activities.
A major highlight of the camp occurred when two of the kids, India Culmer and Patriqo Hanna each caught a bonefish within minutes of each other. The excitement of the catch quickly moved among the campers as word spread that the “gray ghosts” were caught. Carl Rolle, expert Bonefish Guide and son of Legendary Bonefish Folley was on hand to ensure that the fish were handled carefully and released back into the sea.
It takes creative planning and a full pantry to feed 70 campers. Thanks to the numerous volunteers, it is readily done. From - left to right: Mrs. Claudine Hanna, Ms. Constance Hanna - Treasurer and Ms. Sue.
At the graduation ceremony campers will be recognized in a number of categories including – Most Fish Caught, First Bonefish Caught, Top Swimmer, and Distinguished Graduate. Measuring the most productive children is an important aspect of the program requirements in order advance the kids to the next level and become future camp leaders.
Read the Rest of the Article HERE