For untold numbers of people around the globe, adaptive scuba diving allows them to experience a world of freedom and independence without the restraints of gravity. Engaged in this active sport, adaptive divers can enjoy a spirit of camaraderie, and the immeasurable benefits of mental and physical well-being. Escaping physical confines and restrictions, these individuals are able to continue living life on their own terms; through their own talents; and through a drive fueled by personal determination and the encouragement of others.
At age 68, Jim Hoser of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, has dedicated the majority of his life to helping individuals with disabilities find comfort, solace, and excitement through the world of adaptive scuba diving. Every lifelong mission begins with a spark of inspiration, and from a young age, he witnessed the difficulties facing disabled friends who were interested in underwater exploration. At the time, adaptive diving training options were not widely available: most certification agencies did not have programs for individuals with adaptive needs, or were in a fledgling state of development. Adaptive diving needed a champion to help spread the love of scuba to a completely new audience – Jim answered the call.
Student Review: SCUBA student thinks Hilltop Diving is fantastic - I just finished a class with Hilltop Diving the instructor was Jim Hoser. I have had a fear of the water all my life and never thought I could ever be able to SCUBA dive. I called several other local shops before I chose this shop because when I talked to the instructor he assured me that he had done this many times before. The fact that they have the compassion to teach the handicapped gave me a good feeling. I couldn't be happier I finished the class and I am going on one of their dive trips to warm water for my check out dives. I have acomplished something that I never thought possable thanks to a great instructor. Give them a try you will be more than suprised what they can do to make you comfortable. - (MerchantCircle.com) November 20, 2009 -
Over 30 years ago, Jim’s passion for diving inspired him to found adaptive diving training center Hilltop Diving. Originally, the business began as a service shop for divers who had difficulties attaining equipment repairs, but quickly grew into its current incarnation. With his seasoned staff of volunteers, he trains associates on the best methods and techniques for teaching adaptive diving to disabled individuals, and works with these individuals directly to provide the utmost care, motivation, and safety.
Once a sport for only the strongest of swimmers, it is now a sport that is enjoyed from ages 'young to older', and beyond.
The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) and other agencies have agreed to a common set of minimum requirements for the safe training of individuals to achieve a rating of Open Water Diver. An Open Water Diver needs to be able to be comfortable in the water, understand the operation of his/her equipment, be able to plan dives within the limits of nitrogen decompression and be able to perform minor rescues. All agencies also offer and encourage continuing education for divers.
'Hilltop Diving' has been serving the Adaptive Diving industry for over 30 years, with over a hundred volunteers and instructors with on hands experience working with disabilities. Most of these instructors and volunteers have continued to work with our programs since the early eighties.
Student Review: Never thought it was possible! - As someone who for over 50 yrs was frightened to put her face in the water let alone SCUBA dive! I can honestly say without any doubt that Hilltop Diving's dive instructors accomplished what I never believed was possible. Their patient and experienced instructors have helped me overcome my fear of the water and I am looking forward to exploring the underwater world and enjoying it! - (MerchantCircle.com) January 11, 2009 -
Without question, 'Hilltop Diving' has trained and made available the experience of SCUBA to well over 10,000 adaptive challenged individuals. We have under construction the worlds first indoor dive training and certification facility, designed from the ground up to serve the adaptive diving industry. This facility is 40' deep and dug through solid granite. At this point of construction there are 296 cubic yards of concrete, 65 tons of rebar, and 3500 square feet of foam insulating the 'Grotto' from the surrounding ground. This 'Grotto' was completely constructed by those same dedicated volunteers that continually assist in diver training.
'Hilltop Diving' has served Camp Star for over 20 years of dedication to just this one camp, not to mention so many others that depend on us to provide a life lasting memory for so many, never dreaming they would ever get a chance to experience the freedom that SCUBA can provide.
For over 30 years 'Hilltop Diving' has provided these services without charge ... without one dime of outside funding. The entire program is funded by the founder Kenneth Hoser, (a NAUI & ADA Instructor and Course Director). Mr Hoser also designs and manufactures specialized equipment that enables persons with disabilities to dive and even obtain certifications. Mr. Hoser knows first hand the experience of being disabled having spent 6 years in a wheelchair, and because of a life changing accident eventually gained the ability to walk again.
Student Review: Instructors's injury spurs SCUBA crusade - Having been in a wheelchair since birth I had been told that I could not SCUBA DIVE .That might have been true until I met a remarkable SCUBA instructor by the name of JIM HOSER .Mr Hoser is the owner of HILLTOP DIVING in Schwenksville Pa. Mr. Hoser started repairing SCUBA equipment back as far as the early 1970's .In 1980 he started working with the wheelchair bound .Since that time he has given the experience of diving to thousands of wheelchair bound adults and children .This service to the best of my knowledge have been provided at his own expence out of his own pocket. Hilltop diving and their divers are so committed that they now are in the finishing stages of the worlds first wheelchair accessable designed training facility .This SCUBA facility will be totally indoors ,filtered ,heated and wheelchair accessable for safe, comfortable SCUBA certification year round. Hilltop Diving has a staff ,some of which have over 15 yrs of experience working with wheelchairs and the water. - (MerchantCircle.com) April 11, 2009 -
Our specialty is tending to the individual needs of the (prospective) diver who needs adaptive training including those who are wheelchair-bound. This includes specialized training, custom fabricated assistive equipment and under-water video taping for self-evaluation. Adaptive Diving is a training philosophy that addresses the specific needs of a prospective adaptive diver, trains to that specific need/adaption, and then prepares that individual to dive with mainstream Open Water Divers. We do this by including as many standard skills as possible and by jointly training with a Classified Buddy that can fill in the gaps for the prospective adaptive diver. These divers are a team that can dive in most locations with Open Water Divers.
Special to the Reading Eagle: Sandi Yanisko | Jim Hoser supports Beth Kase of Mohnton, who is all smiles after having the opportunity to scuba dive in the pool at The Heritage of Green Hills in Cumru Township. Amputees on the Move provided the opportunity for amputees to scuba dive at the pool with the assistance of the Adaptive Diving Association, Schwenksville, and Keystone Water Rescue, Boyertown.
Mohnton Quadruple Amputee Undaunted by SCUBA Diving Challenge
Sunday September 18, 2016 12:01 AM
By Holly Herman
The woman, 51, lost parts of her limbs because of an infection, but she hasn't lost her zest for life. Sitting on the edge of an indoor pool Saturday morning, Beth Kase, a quadruple amputee, was beaming in anticipation of learning how to SCUBA dive.
“I got a new bathing suit for this”, said 51-year-old Kase of Mohnton while waiting to put on the SCUBA diving gear at Heritage of Green Hills retirement community pool in Cumru Township.
Her mother, Janet Cannon, 80, of Flying Hills was so proud of Kase for embracing the opportunity to participate in the lessons provided by Amputees on the Move, based in Green Hills.
Kase lost her limbs a year ago as a result of an infection, but she has not lost her enthusiasm for life.
“I am really looking forward to diving”, she said, smiling at her mother.
Volunteers with Hilltop-Diving and Adaptive Diving Association, Schwenksville, Montgomery County, and Keystone Water and Rescue Inc., Boyerstown, provided lessons.
Jim Hoser, Executive Director of Hilltop-Diving, strapped SCUBA diving gear on Kase, helping her slide into the water. “Oh, this feels so good”, Kase said, as she got into the pool, “I am going to do this”.
Hoser and two other volunteers then guided Kase as she swam the 25-yards underwater. “You feel a lot lighter in the water,” said Hoser, who dedicated 30 years of his life helping people with disabilities find comfort and excitement through SCUBA diving.
Lt. Ryan Eschback of Keystone Water Rescue said Kase learned very quickly. He then put a colorful ball under the water for Kase to look at as she swam.
Mark Kray, 63, marketing director of Amputees on the Move, said he learned how to SCUBA dive last year at the group’s first SCUBA diving session. Kray, whose leg was amputated in 2009 after an infection, said once he started SCUBA diving it became his favorite pastime. “I went for two hours last year,” said Kray of Pottstown, before he got into the water to do it again Saturday.
Assistant Chief Robert J. Stichter of Keystone Water Rescue Inc. said seeing the smiling faces in the water makes it well worth it to volunteer. “Its about giving back,” Stichter said.