Indian River County, Florida will be the first in the United States to test a pilot camp that includes scuba diving tp prevent teens from joining gangs. Bill Jursik, school resource officer at Sebastian Elementary School and a Sebastian police officer, recently received a nearly $10,000 grant from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to establish this camp.
The camp will begin with 25 students from the Sebastian Charter Junior High School who completed a 13-week core class. It will be held at the school from June 9 through June 20. The camp is under the direction and control of the Gang Resistance Education and Training division of the ATF.
Graduates of this new program will receive their open-water scuba diving certification. Jursik has been a certified diver since 1983. He suggested the scuba diving addition because of his love of the sport and knowing it would be a great character developer. It also helps them fight peer pressure in the area. "We live on water here, and if you are not into water sports, there’s not much to do," he said.
"When I’m stressed, I throw on a tank and get to see the most beautiful world untamed. I’d like to share that with the kids," Jursik added.
Similar camp programs have visited water parks, pools or lakes, but scuba diving in the ocean is a first. Experts add that a long range study of teen sports camps graduates conducted by the National Institute of Justice shows a reduced incidence of crime.
Source: Florida Today