BLUE LAGOON ISLAND, BAHAMAS – A group of 12thgrade boys from RM Bailey Senior High School gained a greater appreciation for marine animals and the role Bahamians play in protecting their environment when they spent a day at Blue Lagoon Island.
The young men are participants in the Guide Rightprogram sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Each week the fraternity men spend time with the students to provide mentorship and guidance as they prepare to transition from high school into college or the real world.
In order to provide a holistic program, the fraternity enlists the support and generosity of corporate partners like Blue Lagoon Island to offer unique opportunities and exposure to experiences the young men might otherwise not get to do.
The 25 students and 4 fraternity chaperones spent the morning participating in Blue Lagoon Island’s Sea Camp, one of numerous educational programs offered by the company whose mission is to inspire and engage guests to learn more about marine animals and preserve and protect the Bahamas’ extraordinary ocean environment through educational, sustainable, interactive, authentic Bahamian experiences.
They took part in an island scavenger hunt that helped them learn about the environment and then competed in a game that demonstrated the very real danger of overfishing in Bahamian waters.
For RM Bailey 12thgrader Stanley Munnings, the entire Blue Lagoon Island experience solidified his desire to study marine biology and demonstrated how internationally accredited attractions like Blue Lagoon Island offer far more than just vacation entertainment.
“With places like these that can actually bring tourists out and make people open their eyes to new things that we could be able to clean up the Bahamas to make it a better place to be able to conserve and save these animals,” he explained.
The highlight for him and most of his classmates, was the opportunity to do the Dolphin Encounter. He was surprised to see how high they can jump, learn how much they each and witness for himself their intelligence.
Fellow RM Bailey 12thgrader Jaleel Brown felt the same way. Unlike most of the group, he had been to Blue Lagoon Island before, but this was his first time interacting with the dolphins in their all natural habitat.
“I actually got to touch a dolphin. And it feels like a hard-boiled egg. It actually has a rubbery substance when you touch the belly. It’s quite soft. It has a weird feeling,” he laughed, adding that he felt that he and Shawn the Dolphin shared a special bond, “He liked to splash me from time to time. Out of everybody who went to touch him, I feel as though he connected with me more.”
The group also enjoyed lunch in Shifting Tides restaurant and then spent the afternoon playing on Nassau’s largest inflatable aqua park nestled in the calm private island lagoon.
Fraternity member Jerome Sawyer was excited by what such a unique field trip could mean for the group that he and his fraternity brothers have been working with since the start of the semester.
“I would hope that it’s an awakening. And when I say an awakening – to be able to co-exist at a facility like this with tourists and feel that you have a stake in it as a Bahamian. To know that these things exist in your country. To understand the importance of the environment that we live in, to look after the things and the creatures and the places that we have. Because this is how we live. Tourism is our life,” he said, adding “So I’m hoping that at the end of the day not only was it fun for them, but they came away enriched and they came away better than when they arrived.”
With their next steps weighing heavily on their minds, a number of the young men were inspired by what they learned about the company and industry to enquire about job opportunities at Blue Lagoon Island.
“I was actually thinking that I was going to come back here and see if I could get a job here because I just like marine life,” explained Jaleel. “I like dolphins, I like all types of sea creatures. I like sharks.”
Jerome expressed gratitude on behalf of the students and the fraternity for the opportunity provided by Blue Lagoon Island.
“I really have to say hats off to the folks here at Blue Lagoon Island for sponsoring this for us and for allowing these young men to experience this. It is so very vital that programs like this are funded, are sponsored, are recognized, are facilitated by Bahamian companies because these men are future employees. These men one day are going to bring their families here. These men are one day going to promote this business. But more importantly, these young men have an appreciation for what this is.”
Each year more than 6,000 students from New Providence benefit from the many marine education field trips and outreach programs offered by Blue Lagoon Island through the Education Department.
To encourage more Bahamians to visit the island and develop a greater appreciation for the marine environment and animals, Blue Lagoon Island offers specially discounted residents’ rates on all its programs.