When Tiffany Newman and her husband took up scuba diving during a time of loss within their family, they quickly realized the healing power of the ocean.
“We immediately recognized a sense of calm and healing when we dove,” she said. “It is hard to explain the feeling other than maybe summitting a mountain except you get to share that experience with all of these alien fragile little creatures around you.”
The positive feelings were so strong, they compelled Newman to create the Into The Ocean Society, a newly founded non-profit organization based in the Cowichan Valley whose mission is to provide life-changing opportunities to underprivileged and at-risk youth.
“I started working at this in the fall of 2021,” she said of the society. “I wanted to be able to share these experiences with others who may not get an opportunity to try. The ocean heals, gives life, and gives purpose. I want to share this with as many young people as I can.”
For many, Newman said, scuba diving has been inspirational, meditative, therapeutic, fun, and of course social. Divers know that scuba diving has a unique benefit on psychological factors, affecting our state of mind, emotional regulation and how we view ourselves and our abilities (e.g. confidence and self-esteem), she said.
It’s those lessons and changes that Newman hopes to impart on youth.
“Through the fundraising efforts and volunteer work that Into the Ocean provides, we are able to introduce our youth to life in the ocean, and as a scuba diver at a critical time in their lives,” she said. “Because of our incredibly generous donors we are able to acquire and maintain the necessary equipment, organize events such as our weekly Meat Draw at the Black Swan Pub and to bridge the financial gap that holds back so many youths from reaching their full potential.”
The Society is ready to start programming for the summer season and is looking for youth between the ages of 16 to 22, from the Cowichan Valley area who would like to get involved in scuba diving but may not have the means or support to do so.
“We are offering full certification and in the future we are hoping to offer opportunities to expand into different specialties such as night diving, wreck diving etc.,” Newman said.
For further details about Into the Ocean Society, its mission, volunteer opportunities, fundraising events and how to register youth for the upcoming summer session, visit www.intotheocean.ca