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Kids Sea Camp Inc. and Family Dive Adventures has long made a splash for travelers of all ages. And this year, the operator is celebrating 20 years of hosting family diving adventures around the world. Founded in 2000 by Margo Peyton, the company offers unique family vacations that include dive training or diving excursions.
At the time, Peyton was a single mother working 10 hours per day for a travel agency specializing in diving vacations. She says she found it impossible to find enriching summer camps for her children — so she decided to create one herself. During a work trip to the Bahamas, Peyton and colleague Carolyn Pascal — then publisher of Skin Diver magazine — had the idea to start the first Kids Sea Camp. They had just seven families book the experience in their first year.
Fast-forward to today: More than 300 families take part in Kids Sea Camp trips to 13 countries over 20-plus weeks per year. More than 7,000 kids have become certified divers through the camps, and there are now even grandparents who bring their grandchildren.
“We are doing something special, unique and memorable,” Peyton said. “It means that families trust us, and that Kids Sea Camp holds value and changes lives.”
Kids Sea Camp partners with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), which is considered the world’s leading scuba diver training organization. PADI helps Kids Sea Camp create courses for kids ages 4 to 18. The operator also partners with gear company SCUBAPro, which makes diving safer for kids by providing equipment such as tanks, fins, masks and wetsuits in sizes for children.
Without the support of these companies, Peyton says Kids Sea Camp would have never made it to 20 years in business. Many of the children and teens who have taken part in her camps go on to become instructors and even bring their own families to Kids Sea Camp to experience the adventures.
Kids Sea Camp trips are all different based on the destination — and they don’t just include dive-related adventures. For example, a week in St. Lucia at Anse Chastanet resort also includes jungle biking, paddleboarding, sunrise and sunset yoga, chocolate tasting and a spa treatment for non-divers.
These vacations provide an opportunity for travel advisors to offer clients unique experiences that will bring the whole family together. Kids Sea Camp gives agent commission for booked trips, as well as incentives for agents to try the camps out for themselves. The company also offers assistance with sales and reservations, as well as compensated group trips with a minimum of seven paying guests.
Each Kids Sea Camp destination allows for a different number of participants depending on the staff, the size of the resort, and the number of rooms and dive boats. For example, the Cayman Islands trip can accommodate 40 people; the Fiji vacation allows for 80; and the Roatan, Honduras, jaunt hosts 60.
“We take approximately 350 families per year traveling around the world with us, with a 70% repeat rate, and they stay with us for well over 10 years,” Peyton said.
Kids as young as 4 (and up to age 7) can begin with the SASY (Surface Supplied Air System) program, where they’ll learn basic snorkeling and scuba diving skills in the pool and ocean.
Children ages 8 and 9 join the PADI Seal Team, which includes diving with a PADI instructor to a depth of 12 feet after learning in a swimming pool. The program for kids 10 and up focuses on certification, while those 18 and older can take PADI pro courses to become a Dive Master and Instructor. Kids Sea Camp even offers 15 college accredited courses and other community services courses, as well as rescue diver and internship programs. The ratio of instructors for all camps is one instructor to two children.
In addition to Kids Sea Camps, Empty Nester Group Trips welcome adults whose children are over 18 and have left home.
“Empty Nester trips are for adult divers who want to get away and dive with the same top level of care we have provided their families,” Peyton said. “We offer privately chartered and hosted group trips for adult divers and family divers.”
With all the Kids Sea Camp offerings, Peyton has received overwhelming feedback from participants.
“It is difficult to overstate how pleasantly unusual this vacation was relative to all others I have taken,” said Adam Summers, a participant on a St. Lucia trip. “The difference was the structure of the experience I was able to share with my family. I watched my daughter conquer fear and physical difficulty to become a certified diver, just like her mother.”
The DetailsKids Sea Camp Inc. and Family Dive Adventureswww.familydivers.com