In 2013, underwater photographer/filmmaker, inspirational speaker and PADI MSDT Annie Crawley had an idea: get kids 10 years old and above stoked on diving in America’s Pacific Northwest and (hopefully) pay forward that enthusiasm. Working with a variety of manufacturers, she and a local dive shop created junior-sized drysuits and tested different equipment that would perform in the frigid, challenging waters of the region; then she put down her cameras for a few weeks each year to start teaching those kids to dive.
Six years later and she’s taken that idea to a new level, as Annie Crawley’s Scuba Diving Team can attest. The team is made up of more than 40 active members, kids of all ages and backgrounds who dive with Annie year-round not just in their backyard of Edmonds Underwater Park in Seattle, Washington, USA, but all over the world – from California’s Channel Islands to Indonesia, Mexico, Tonga and beyond.
Many of the kids/teens have non-diving parents who become interested after their kids learn. But it’s the kids whose passion for the underwater world shines through – these young PADI AmbassaDivers have a range of interests and dreams. Like 11-year-old Santiago Ramirez, who wants to inspire others to become scuba divers so they can help clean up the ocean; he’s already co-organized and run an underwater cleanup. Elise Foot Puchalski, just 13, wants to be a marine biologist after her experiences with the Team. And 15-year-old Kai Widmer wants to work in a dive shop.
“Creating a year-round program for our kids/teens in the Pacific Northwest teaches respect, responsibility, self-confidence, self-esteem and so much more than just how to scuba dive,” says Crawley. “I’ve been able to create ocean advocates, exposing them to a variety of marine careers and opportunities they never thought possible.”
With her strong background in multimedia, Crawley specifically focuses on storytelling. “I’m interested in building and creating a community of ocean advocates of scuba divers, snorkelers and ocean lovers who become storytellers sharing their experiences through writing, photos and videos,” says Crawley. “You do not have to be a scuba diver to join our team, you just have to agree to be the voice of our ocean as without us our ocean has no voice.”
Read more about Annie Crawley’s Scuba Diving Team, PADI’S newest AmbassaDivers here.
2020 Active Kids/Teens on Annie's Dive Team
Kai Widmer | Cameron Budnick | Elizabeth Zajaczkowski | Jaimie Valentine | Mason Tobey | Tommy Gandee IV | Tasha Lee | Brennen Lee | Abbey Dias | Claire Vossler | Elise Foot Puchalski | Daniel Dembowy | Tristen Wheaton | Asher Wheaton | Alex Peijs | Santiago Ramirez | Alinea Topacio | Eliza Street | Tyler McMaster | Dylan McMaster | Nicolo Ponnekanti | Marina Caputo | Kalid Alobaidi | Kalil Alobaidi | Hannah Barnett | Izze Peijs | Brooks Bishop | Bennett Hess | Harrison Cotton | Evan Feld | Kai Malloch | Emma Sturgill | Ryan Sturgill | Jacob Weiss | Harry Allen | Raechel Romero | Harold Bailey | Danny Stephenson | Henry Buffalo | Addie Gande
Photos by Annie Crawley and Raechel Romero.
“You do not have to be a scuba diver to join our team, you just have to agree to be the voice of our ocean."