I left Hawaii and one of the most powerful missions back in July. Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii serves over 15,000 youth each year on the islands of Oahu and Kauai and the kids are AMAZING. Lifting up impoverished youth is at the core of the mission and inside the Clubhouses the kids find a safe place and caring, supportive adults More importantly they develop new skills in music, art, technology and maybe most importantly social skills and self-worth.
I can’t put enough emphasis on those two skills – being able to communicate effectively in groups and to value yourself enough to evaluate the opportunities and threats life throws at you enough to say “this behavior, activity or action” isn’t who I am. Employers loved hiring our kids because of this and because they learn responsibility at the Club.
One of the more eye-opening things from my 2 years working with the Clubhouse was the many first-time experiences many of our youth took part in. You’d likely been stunned to know so many of the kids we served didn’t go to the beach and have never even tried surfing our snorkeling. Some hadn’t even been to the other side of the island!
I was always looking for partners to help us bring new experiences to the kids. Sailing Swift Sure and their crew were nice enough to take our donors and kids on sunset, whale watching and snorkeling. One of my favorite days each year was Ocean Sports and Fitness Day which taught kids to surf (a personal passion), how to paddle a canoe and volleyball. One of our partners is an amazing organization called Na Kama Kai who I volunteered with for a couple of years.
As part of Walgreen’s Red Nose Day in 2016 our Boys & Girls Club was featured and partnered with Na Kama Kai to take youth from our three Leeward Oahu clubhouses out for a great day of surfing in Ewa Beach. Check out the video! Teaching kids to surf and calling it “work” is pretty good living! Na Kama Kai and Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii’s Red Nose Day