I paid and attended the SSI course at a local Ft. Lauderdale Scuba Shop. I passed every section, but dropped out right before my open water test off Pompano. I might go back and finish but doubt it. I think it's a bit of a racket. I suppose if you're a hard core water guy or you Dive for a living like search and rescue, ok. But the money shelled out for the experience to me is not worth it.
its an expensive hobby to start out with but once you got your stuff its cheap and the gear last a long time, i got ssi open water when i was 12 years old, then when i was in guam i got nitrox from padi, then when i went to us navy dive school a guy there got us our naui master diver certs. ive always enjoyed it but only have one friend who dives with me.
PADI Jr open water diver here. So yes, I've been diving a while. Technically I still must have an adult with me when I dive or buy air but nobody has ever made a big enough deal of it to motivate me to pay the fee and get the new card.