Aqua Inspiration 2023 Golfito & Quepos Costa Rica
June 5-9, 2023
Story by: Reese Bowles
After months of planning, the International Game Fish Tournament Observers (IGFTO), Junior Achievement-Costa Rica, the Marina Bahia Golfito, and Marina Pez Vela Youth career days, titled Aqua Inspiration, year two, kicked off on Monday June 5th, 2023, in Golfito.
Monday June 5th, IGFTO members along with Junior Achievement-Costa Rica met all student and school administrative participants at the CPT Golfito Carlos Manuel Vicente Castro school. All 120 participants were presented event shirts. During the visit, students were instructed by Junior Achievement-Costa Rica on critical career building skills such as team building, communication, self-presentation, and leadership.
The evening of June 5th, twenty team members and volunteers met at The Crew Lounge for a walk-through of the sequence of events and then were treated to a dinner hosted by IGFTO.
On Tuesday, June 6th, IGFTO members along with Junior Achievement-Costa Rica, Marina Bahia Golfito staff, and volunteers from Marina Pez Vela met 120 junior and senior student and school administrative participants at the Marina Bahia Golfito. All participants were provided with a healthy breakfast. A group picture was taken, and students were divided into smaller groups. Each group was assigned to 1 of 9 designated stations. The students rotated through all nine stations, accompanied by chaperones, spending 15 to 20 minutes at each station for a day of career opportunity exposure associated with Marina operations to include such topics as:
#1 Fuel Dock skills for servicing Mega Yachts
#2 FECOP Presentation
#3 Hospitality demonstration presentation
#4 Gastronomy presentation hands on
#5 Changing Tides presentation on whales
#6 Tourism Chamber presentation
#7 Super Yacht career opportunities
#8 Rod and Reel Handling
#9 Sportfishing/ Teasers and Dredges on charter boat Cazador with Captain Bobby McGuiness
All groups met downstairs in the La Playa restaurant for lunch and moved upstairs to the crew lounge for the motivational speakers wrap up and raffle prizes.
On Thursday June 8th, IGFTO, along with Maria Bakit Jimenez, from Junior- Achievement Costa Rica, met all 90 student and school administrative participants at the Cerros High School near Quepos. All participants were presented with event shirts. During the visit, students were instructed by Junior Achievement-Costa Rica on critical career building skills such as team building, communication, self-presentation, and leadership. The evening of June 8th, twenty team members and volunteers met at Koky’s for a walk-through of the sequence of events and then were treated to an IGFTO-hosted.
On Friday morning, June 9th, 90 junior and senior students arrived at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos for a day of career opportunity exposure associated with Marina operations. This included Boat Yard Repair and maintenance, Costa Rica Coast Guard, FECOP, Marine Conservation and Biology, Sport Fishing including Captain and mate opportunities, Fishing techniques, and Environmental Stewardship opportunities. The students were divided into small groups and rotated through these “stations” accompanied by chaperones. These stations were staffed by the respective experts in their field. Students rotated through these stations every 20-25 minutes. The day concluded with a provided lunch, a motivational speaker, and a raffle of donated prizes.
The students rotated through 8 stations
#1 Fuel dock master;
#2 Costa Rica Coast Guard;
#3 Yacht Yard to highlight careers associated with repair and maintenance;
#4 FECOP PRESENTATION. Marlin, sailfish, and commercial tuna fishing history. A look at the changes that have occurred to help with conservation. Highlighting marine biology opportunities by Henry Marin;
#5 Reef building presentation with living coral included and environmental stewardship. Unlimited Dive shop;
#6 First Aid/ Safety provided by Luis Fonseca CISMACR.com;
#7 Teasers and dredges use and tips by team Gypsy Girl Sportfishing. Captain Butch Carlson explained techniques and careers in sport fishing. Students were permitted on board for pictures;
#8 Rod and reel handling and maintenance hosted by Show Time Sportfishing crew. Students got hands on knowledge and understanding of angling skills / pump and crank, speed retrieve, and whisking; and
#9 Cruise Yacht experience and requirements on the Multi-Million dollar yacht Armatore.
All in all, both events were a resounding success. This was evidenced by the enthusiasm and participation of the students. Many stations reported incredible attentiveness and questions asked by the students.
Recognition needs to be given to all the volunteers, sponsors, and donors. Without these folks, the event would not have been nearly as successful: Marina Pez Vela, Junior Achievement-Costa Rica, Bobby McGuiness and Cazador Sportfishing, Quepos Tackle Shop, Unlimited Dive Shop, FECOP, Galati Yacht Sales, BB Seas Maritime and Bruce Blevins, Greg Angel and Sea Angel Fishing Team, Butch Carlson and Gypsy Girl Sportfishing, Showtime Sportfishing, Cruiser Yacht Armatore, RK Productions, CR Primo, Bayliss Boatworks, A Reel Difference, Barbara Evans, and all the staff at Cerros High School.
One never knows how much of an impact one can have in someone’s life with just one day of showing them the opportunities that await them. But the success we had with these events gives me such great hope for the future and we can’t wait to further expand this program to other marinas in Costa Rica. Year one was a good start, Year two, this year, was a great success, but Year three could be something really special.
We look forward to your continued support of our program.
Other IGFTO on-site assistance: Maria Bakit Jimenez, Neil Harris, Alcides Alfaro, Evan A. Hipsley, Jr.