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Fishing, swimming, marine science at youth camp

A Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) camp from Wednesday, July 11 to Friday, July 13 hosted more than 40 kids between the ages of 8-13, who learned about Marine Environment, swimming and fishing among other things. Some of the kids camped out overnight at the Boy Scouts compound in Faga’alu.

“This year we held a ‘Catch a Smile Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Fishing Camp,” said the Information and Education Division Head for the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources Maria Vaofanua. “The aim of the whole camp was to get the kids involved about Marine Science and about different animals found in the ocean along with teaching about the joys that the ocean has to offer,” she said.

On the first day of the camp, the kids were taken down to the Utulei Beach Park, where they were taught the front crawl in swimming and about water safety, that was taught by the members of the American Samoa Aquatics Agency.  On the second day of the camp, the kids were taught about fishing and how to tie different knots on a fishing hook at the Faga’alu Park where there was a mini fishing contest as well for the campers. There was also a water and boat safety class followed by the campers being taught fisherman’s regulations and jet ski demonstrations.

One of the other things on the campers' agenda was teaching them about marine debris cleanup identifying different types of trash and how it is harmful to our marine eco-system.

“The funding was provided by ‘Sports Fish Restoration’ funding and Federal Aid and was spearheaded by the DMWR with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety, Department of Human and Social Services and the American Samoa Aquatics Agency”.

“Hopefully next year, we will put up the same camp again. This camp also served as an alternative for kids using drugs. A lot of the kids turn to ‘other’ things when they do not have things to do. This is also a way of strengthening America’s favorite pastime which is fishing. Whether it is for fun or livelihood, we are just trying to get the joys of fishing out there to the kids,” she concluded.