In August 2018, a 15 year old girl decided not to go to school one day.

Instead, she went on strike outside the Swedish Parliament. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions to take action for the future of our planet. Her name was Greta Thunburg.

That story reminds us that no one is too small to make a difference.

International Youth Day is August 12, and PADI is taking this opportunity to celebrate all the young divers who are helping protect the ocean planet. The kids blowing their first bubbles today (or perhaps slinging torpedos through hoops at the local pool), are truly the next generation of Torchbearers.

As PADI Torchbearers, we explore and protect the ocean.

We make the world more vibrant through our choices and voice. Our adventures fuel our passion, our actions support a healthier planet and our collective example shines a light of hope leading the way for others to join the movement.

Age simply isn’t a factor when it comes to protecting what we love.

For proof, you need look no further than two of our young AmbassaDivers – Riley Hathaway (from Young Ocean Explorers) and Luca Hales.

Together with her underwater videographer dad Steve, Riley’s ocean advocacy takes shape in the form of stories that inspire kids to fall in love with the ocean. Check out their TedxAuckland presentation for more info on Young Ocean Explorers.

Luca, based in Sharm el Sheikh, is a man on a mission. Or “boy” on a mission, whatever you prefer. That mission? Inspire kids in diving to be custodians for the underwater world.

Soon, we’ll be hosting an Instagram Live with these two, chatting together about conservation and how their individual contributions can make a difference. If you don’t want to miss out, make sure to follow us.

If we are to reach our goal of one billion torchbearers, we need every last one of us. The youth are no exception.

In fact, they might be the most important group of divers out there as we seek to restore balance between humans and the ocean. We need to pass the torch to this new generation of divers and get them excited about conservation so they are able to continue PADI’s mission to save the ocean for years to come.

What can you do to foster the next generation of torchbearers?

  • Be a mentor. To raise a new generation of conservation-savvy divers, we need to set an example that they can follow. Join the Torchbearer movement yourself, and in doing so get educated on ocean issues and take action to save the ocean.
  • Teach them to swim. A future in diving begins with your relationship with the water in it’s most simplest form: whether or not you can swim. It’s all about laying the foundations of a positive connection with the ocean.
  • Allow them to breath underwater. If you’re looking for a memorable gift for that special 8, 9 or 10 year old, you need look no further than a Bubblemaker experience.
  • Introduce them to the underwater world. Once those kids reach 10 years old (minimum age requirements may be higher in some locations due to local laws and regulations), it’s time to sign up for the Junior Open Water Course. It’s the exact same lifetime qualification as an adult course, only limited on maximum depth and necessity to dive with a PADI Professional or parent/guardian.
  • Show them why we must respect nature. Read age-appropriate books with them that explore of the dangers of climate change and what we can do to prevent the worst of it.
  • Include them in your dive travel. As a parent (or other guardian), introducing your kids to new underwater experiences and different cultures is one of the best things you can do to build their confidence. That confidence is what’ll allow them to stand up for what they believe in the future.

Join us as we celebrate with the next generation of PADI Torchbearers who are committed to uniting more people in their fight for a healthier ocean planet.

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