500 Sails and 4-H Marianas relaunched its Gamsun Project last Friday in the waters off Guma Sakman in Susupe Beach across Marianas High School.
The non-profit’s co-founder Emma Perez said the Gamsun Project is a series of free swim classes for school age youth K-12, made possible from the support of 4-H Marianas, Northern Marianas College- Cooperative Research, Extension & Education Services, and Hotel Association of the Northern Marianas Islands members.
500 Sails has a group of trained high school lifeguards and teachers who are ready to give back to the community by helping the islands’ youth learn to swim.
The swimming lessons will be offered from 2pm to 4pm last Jan. 17, Feb. 7, and Feb. 28 and participants are asked bring swim clothes, drinking water, and a towel.
Perez said they’re offering only three lessons this semester due to previous experience.
“We have learned from experience that if tides are too low, it’s not a pleasant teaching environment. In fact, we encourage everyone to start paying more attention to our natural world—especially tides, wind, and clouds,” she said.
Last session, the Gamsun Project had about 90 students register and its summer programs attracted almost 300 total youth over two weeks.
“This is the second session of Gamsun Project, which is specifically aimed at half-day Fridays. I see half-day Fridays as an opportunity to get at a lot of the community’s youth,” said Perez.
Aside from the Gamsun Project, 500 Sails will also be starting a class soon for sophomore, junior, and senior high school students interested in passing the lifeguard certification course swimming prerequisites.
Perez said of the 10 participants who got certifications last year, three are now employed as lifeguards at local hotels.
For more information on 500 Sails’ Gamsun Project, follow the non-profit organization on facebook @500Sails.