People love learning about people. Publications about popular people (the premier is probably People magazine) predominate on the newsstand. It’s a human interest thing, and it’s powerful.
Then there are PADI people. A quick flick through the My PADI Stories on PADI.com introduces a number of inspiring people from all ranks of diving.
There’s PADI Open Water Diver Juan Gonzales, a retired US Marine Corps Sergeant. Scuba helps him cope with PTSD and reconnect with his family after active duty in the Middle East. Diving helps him “let go of the noise or the chaos that life brings about.”
At the other end of the PADI spectrum, another My PADI Story tells the tale of PADI Course Director Szilvia Gogh. She lived the scuba dream and forged a successful and creative career as an instructor in Thailand, only to be diagnosed with breast cancer. One way Szilvia copes is by looking forward to the next dive: “It is important to have things to look forward to,” she says. “Being underwater is my happy place. I could feel sorry for myself, and my family, but I choose to feel grateful.”
Don’t miss out on learning about any of the PADI Ambassadivers™. When she was 12 years old, Riley Hathaway completed a school project on turtles and plastic, which inspired “Young Ocean Explorers,” a television series she produces with her dad, Steve. They have created 20 episodes of the show featuring New Zealand, the Cook Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Together, they get kids around the world enthused about the beauty and diversity of Earth’s marine life.
A hemisphere away in Sweden, PADI Divemaster and Ambassadiver Birgitta Mueck is also inspiring passion for the aquatic world as an accomplished underwater camera operator and guide. With her family, Birgitta runs Crystal Water Film Production, which produces underwater films in collaboration with Scandinavian National Television. “Through my work I want to share my immense passion for the wonderful planet we are living on, to inspirit life, raise awareness and inspire others,” Birgitta says
So what’s extraordinary about these stories? Nothing actually, and that’s the point. These stories are certainly inspirational, but fundamentally they’re about ordinary people who have found something extraordinary in diving. And it’s an almost sure bet that while reading this you’ve thought of a few divers who have found something equally special while diving with you.
There’s something else. There may be no better way to build a local or social dive community than to profile some of those people you just thought about. How about a few words about a particularly helpful divemaster? Can you think of a better way to promote becoming a PADI Professional? Who’s the driving force and the passion behind your Dive Against Debris®? A couple of words and a few images or videos will go a long way toward increasing participation in the next event. Writing a few of these simple pieces profiling some of your special divers is a great way to thank them for their contributions, keep the dive centric content flowing and drive interest in diving.
Make My PADI Stories yours: Identify and honor your local heroes.