Did you know Santa was scuba-certified? This holiday season, Bristol families and community members continued the tradition of visiting Santa, only this year, Santa looked a little different. While COVID restrictions and precautions have forced the Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth & Community Services (BPRYCS) department to suspend its annual "Santa Land Village", the aquatics division is embracing new COVID-friendly traditions, including having your underwater picture taken with Scuba Santa. As part of the Scuba Santa event on December 5th and 6th, registrants slapped on their goggles and smiles, and had their photos taken with the jolly holiday figure underwater at the Dennis Malone Aquatic Center (DMAC). The event also benefited a good cause. Registration was free with the donation of unwrapped toy to benefit the Youth & Community Services division’s Holiday Gift Giving Program, benefitting those in need within the Bristol community.
Volunteer divers from the Region 5 Dive Team,
donned a traditional Santa suit, embellished with scuba gear and fins! “We are extremely grateful for the support from the Region 5 Dive Team who generously volunteered their time to make this event possible” remarked Jaimie Clout, Aquatics Supervisor. Clout went on to say "The Scuba Santa event was an opportunity to get creative in offering a fun and safe holiday-themed event. Those that came out for the underwater photos with Santa had a wonderful time! The Aquatics Division was able to donate 25 toys to our Youth and Community Service Division, which is such a nice representation of how well our department comes together to support each other, especially during the holiday season".
Community Engagement Coordinator, Erica Benoit, expressed "It's been a challenging year and a visit with Santa is a huge part of every holiday season. I’m extremely appreciative to our Aquatics Staff and the Region 5 Dive team volunteers, who were able to put a safe spin on it and give some bit of normalcy to the kids and community.”
15-Minute increments with reservations for one family at a time ensured the safety of all participants. The Dennis Malone Aquatics Center continues to monitor local health official and state guidelines to ensure all patrons are following the proper safety precautions. DMAC unceasingly works to actively enforce masks, limit capacity, enforce social distancing, implement enhanced cleaning protocols, require reservations, and more.
Raelynn Andrews, Aquatics Coordinator for the department and DMAC affirmed the department’s gratitude, “We couldn't have done it without the coordination of our Aquatic director, the Region 5 Dive Team, our staff working the event, and the support of our community.”
The department looks forward to striking more underwater poses with Scuba Santa again next year. Be sure to like and follow Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services on Facebook or check the department website, www.BristolRec.com
, for information about upcoming programs and events.