Who Is Mermaid Echo?
When I have legs most people call me Claire VanValkenburg. I am a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Journalism and Mass Communication with certificates in Digital Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. During the summer months I work as the Boating and Sailing Director at a children’s summer camp.
I started “mermaiding” as a form of exercise, and regularly practiced swimming with a monofin because it was a great full-body workout! Soon enough I discovered the “mermaid community,” a group of people dedicated to protecting our water systems and making life a little more magical.
I was inspired by their resourcefulness and creativity. They were using the extraordinary and captivating qualities of a mermaid for environmental activism! Also, I was impressed by the effectiveness of the message. What child wouldn’t listen to a mystical creature asking them to use less plastic?
After 2 years of practicing with my monofin and fabric tail, I invested in a professional hybrid-silicone mermaid tail from the tailmaker, Mertailor. I like to describe this to people as “the first car that you buy.” It’s good quality and reliable, but it’s still just a start. With this 50lb purple tail I launched Mermaid Echo Entertainment in December of 2016.
Since then, the Echo family has grown exponentially, and I am proud to have served dozens of clients, companies, and friends. I’ve loved mermaids since I first learned to swim, and I truly believe the essence of a mermaid can inspire confidence in children, be the voice for all forms of life under the surface, and prove that you should never stop chasing your dreams.
Is my child safe?
Yes. I am a Lifeguard and a YMCA camp counselor, which means I receive vigorous training each year for water safety education, boating safety education, child abuse and bullying prevention, SBS prevention, stress management education, and more. I have been working with the YMCA for 3 years and I am confident in both my childcare and water safety abilities. My certifications include:
- Lifeguard certified
- AED/First Aid certified
- Boating safety certified
- Waterfront safety certified
- Child abuse and SBS prevention
- Bullying and suicide prevention
- Stress and anger management prevention
Who helps Mermaid Echo?
Mackenzie is my right hand woman and helps to come up with new ideas, activities, and advertising initiatives.
Mackenzie is going to school for Education at UW-River Falls and has always loved the water, swimming and mermaids!
She is excited to teach kids about how we can keep our water clean and care for our oceans, lakes and rivers!