Alumni Spotlight: Brooke Dougherty


Brooke is a 16-year-old adventurous junior in high school. She is from Louisville, Kentucky, but plans on spending most of her time traveling the world.

Why did you choose this program?

Broadreach has a variety of programs to offer. I was scrolling through all of the different choices and the Carribean Underwater Discoveries really caught my attention. My sister had gone on this program the year before and had nothing but positive reviews.

I knew that I was interested in scuba diving and sailing and when I heard that you live on a catamaran, I was determined to go on the trip. Looking at all of the different Carribean Islands that you would get to visit and dive near had me ecstatic. The program was my perfect fit.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Even though the program might have been the perfect fit, the cost was not. I applied for the scholarship in the fall of last year and unfortunately did not receive it. I was devastated. Broadreach later emailed my parents offering program discounts and the discount was still not big enough for us to afford. Broadreach was so accommodating in meeting our maximum amount that we could pay for and gave me a once in a lifetime experience.

I would give anything to go on another program with them.

The day finally came for me to leave and my flight out of Kentucky was delayed, causing me to miss my flight out of Atlanta to St. Maarten. We called Broadreach and they were so helpful in this chaotic situation. I left the next day and two instructors met me at the airport with a huge, warm, welcome. They drove me to the Pad and I was driven out to Miss Amanda Jones on the Mega Dinghy, which was a fun start to my trip. We blasted music and I met my best friends for the first time.

Broadreach also accommodated the fact that I am a vegetarian. All of the meals were separated from the meats and it was actually a big weight off of my shoulders that I had worried about. Basically anything that you need, Broadreach has your back.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Before the trip, I wish I would have known how much work you had to put into the trip in order to get stuff out of it. Going into the trip, I thought it was going to be a vacation. This was a learning experience, strengthening your skills in many different areas, such as leadership, group work, learning, listening, and so much more.

I am so glad that it was not “just a vacation” because I got so much out of the program. I would not change it for anything. Just know that going into the trip, you have to be willing and ready to work and learn in order to get the experience you want.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Every day has their certain rituals and leaders. The first step in starting your day was to be woken up by your LOD (Leader of the Day). The Leader of the Day was chosen the night before by our instructors and they were in charge of getting everyone motivated in each activity we did and that our dive gear, meals, messes, etc., were ready and cleaned up.

Then we had our two cooks each day that would prepare and serve three meals a day. The meals were all in the cookbook and written out for us, so everything usually went smoothly. We would start the day by eating breakfast, sloshing the deck if it was dirty, cleaning dishes and then either sailing, diving, hiking, or having a lesson. Sometimes we were offered to go kneeboarding, water skiing and wake-boarding with the “Jabronies.”

At the beginning of the trip, we had homework in our scuba diving workbooks in order to get certified. It was surprisingly fun to go out on the tramp with all your new friends and work together. The tramp is a huge bouncy net over the water on the bow of the boat and we would all stay up there talking for hours each night. It was definitely a highlight.

After our long days, the cooks would prepare and serve us our dinner. Before we ate we had to do our rituals, which included “Glums and Glows,” “the squeeze,” and “the quote of the day.” They became second nature by the end of the trip. Every day was something new and contained unforgettable memories.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going on the Carribean Underwater Discoveries program would be making friends. Going into this, I was so nervous about making friends and not fitting in.

Once I got there, all of my worries washed away, because the instructors and other students were all so happy and nice. They are all so chill and treat you like family. We were all there for the same reasons and you connect over that. As long as you are yourself you will get along with everyone and have a blast.

What is your favorite memory from the trip?

My favorite memory from the trip was cliff jumping in St. Barths. We hung out with all of the different boats and met so many great people. We were all very encouraging to each other to just go for it and jump. We shared so many laughs, mostly because of the accidental flops into the water. We all jumped over and over again and it never got old, because of how fun it was.