Why I Am A NAUI Green Diver
I believe we all need to act responibly regarding the environment in order to preserve the experience we have enjoyed for future generations. I like the idea of the Green Diver Initiative empowering individuals through social networking to share their discoveries and efforts preserve and protect the world's aquatic environments. Many individuals taking small positive actions can make a significant difference.
My interest in the sport of scuba diving began while watching the television series “Sea Hunt” and by the end of the first season my younger brother and I had visions of becoming underwater explorers just like Mike Nelson. We met an Instructor at a local dive shop. Most of his customers would purchase their equipment and teach themselves how to dive, but since we were so young, I was 11 and my brother was 9, he recommended that we take lessons. We attended classroom and pool once a night each week over the summer. It took the rest of the year and most of the spring for us to pass the exam and receive our scuba diver certifications.
While my enthusiasm for diving continued to grow, my brother’s did not. So, to continue diving I convinced the owner of the dive shop to let me help with classes in exchange for room and board on checkout dive trips. After twenty years of diving lakes and quarries in eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas and northern Texas, I decided to book an ocean dive trip. My trip was to Key Chapel Island, off the cost of Belize. I don’t remember one person from that trip but I remember my first ocean dive like it was yesterday.
After college a group friends and I formed a dive club so we could take quarterly dive vacations together. Eventually, several of us in the dive club put up the money to open a dive shop in a suburb about 30 miles from the old dive shop. Several of the other partners and I had full time jobs that but agreed to get certified as instructors so we could help teach part time. I later decided that I would take the steps to get credentials as a Course Director so we could teach courses up through the instructor level. As word spread that I was a Course Director, I began to recieve request to run courses in distant cities, from Chicago to California and down into Mexico, and over the next ten years that’s exactly what I did.
Over time I became friends with several of NAUI’s branch managers, field staff and a few NAUI Headquarters staff members and learned that NAUI Headquarters had an open staff position available in the training department. I applied and was lucky enough to get the job. Now, for the past 15 years, I have been able to work in an industry that I love and I have been able to do many things I never would have been able to do working anywhere else.