In January 2017, twenty-one members of the Goldfish Swim School team headed to Gales Point, Belize for a service trip. Alex Tyler (owner of Goldfish Swim School – St. Charles and Goldfish Swim School – Glen Ellyn) had visited Gales Point on two previous occasions and he wanted to bring a bigger team back with him this year in order to make a larger impact on the community. This blog post series chronicles the work of the Goldfish team during their time in Belize.
Gales Point is a village on a peninsula in the Southern Lagoon in central Belize. The community has a population of just over 300 people. Most of the families in the village have lived there for generations and they are very proud of their community. The area surrounding Gales Point is full of natural beauty, however, the local community is somewhat isolated and the inhabitants struggle economically. The people of Gales Point were incredibly welcoming to our team and we loved learning more about their lives and having the opportunity to impact the community in a positive way.
Our goals for this year’s trip included: (1) Constructing a house for a mother and her two children (2) Teaching swim lessons every day (3) Sharing a W.A.T.E.R. Safety Presentation with the kids and (4) Interacting with the kids in the village at church and school. Of course, we all wanted to have some fun together too!
The Goldfish team arrived in Belize City, Belize on January 27, 2017. Team members traveled from California, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Virginia and Ohio. After meeting at the airport, we were greeted by Kenny Welch, the Pastor of the Galilee Church in Gales Point. Together, we traveled by bus to the shore of the Southern Lagoon where we boarded a boat to take us to Gales Point.
As we approached the peninsula by boat, community members were waiting by the dock to welcome us and we quickly learned that the children were at the swimming dock eager to begin lessons.
Our team checked into the Manatee Lodge and quickly got to work. Part of our crew headed over to the construction site to begin work on building a 20×16 foot home for a mother and her two children. The rest of the team headed over to the dock to begin swim lessons. The kids were waiting for us and ready to go! We got started with lessons right away.
We were up early the next morning ready to get back to work. The construction crew spent the morning raising the walls on the house and the rest of the team spent time with the kids in the village playing games. The frisbees, footballs and soccer balls we brought with us were popular with everyone. The kids loved playing classic games including “Simon Says.” And the kids taught us a few games as well.
In the afternoon, the entire Goldfish Team met the kids at the dock for another round of swim lessons. We had over 40 kids of all ages in the water working on everything from side breaths and floating to perfecting their dolphin kick.
Check back on Wednesday, March 29th for more about our trip to Belize!