Work hard, play hard.
The former of this phrase took hold on Day Three, as Westcoast moved to the Boys & Girls Club of Maui. Initially, many of us had questions — what would the kids be like? Would they welcome us in, or would we be intruding on their routines? Would they like us? What would the facility be like? These thoughts were in our minds as we loaded up our vehicles (most notably, the BradMobile) and headed across town on our short commute to the Boys & Girls Club.
From the second we walked in, we were adored by the kids of the Boys & Girls Club. The two days we spent at the club were nothing short of amazing. We worked each day with the keiki (children) of Maui, who ranged between the ages of 6-17. We knew coming in that many of the kids of the club live under the poverty line, but that did absolutely nothing to damper their spirits — in contrast, they actually seemed to be some of the most upbeat and personable children that we had ever worked with. If the Maui Airport captured the “ALOHA” spirit of the islands, then the Boys & Girls Club captured the “Mahalo” spirit of the islands (meaning “thank you”), as all of us were so grateful to have the opportunity to meet and interact with the kikei.
There were countless opportunities to interact with the children, some of which were already in place by the club while others were brainstormed and provided by the members of our group. Some of the highlights included a game of Sham Battle, which is a hybrid game of dodgeball that was started in Maui; a Scavenger Hunt organized by Westcoast trip members; intense games of Drip, Drip, Drop (however it was more like Drop, Drop, Dump), which is essentially the water version of Duck, Duck, Goose; a B&G vs. Westcoast game of two-hand touch football; arts & crafts; Bumper Pool, another game authentic to the Hawaiian islands; ping-pong, billiards, basketball — the list goes on and on!
The end of our time at the Boys & Girls club was an emotional one, with many kids writing letters to our trip members and waving to us in our cars as we drove away. As we reflected on our short time at the club, we talked about how tough it was to leave such great kids — but also how the fact that it was so tough meant that we did really great work, which we should be incredibly proud of. Going forward, our community service work in Maui will be environment-based work, but we already can’t wait to meet the kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Honolulu, and to have just as an amazing experience there as we did here in Maui.
Next up was a fun-filled Wednesday that would make any Hawaiian proud. We started our day by taking surfing lessons from a company based in Maui. Surfing, like everything else we’ve done so far, was amazing. When we got there, four instructors introduced themselves and jumped right into our lesson on how to surf. Once we got into the water, everything flowed together beautifully. Not only did everyone successfully stand up on their board on a wave, but some of us even caught our own waves at the end of this! The “cherry on top” were the two sea turtles that were spotted, which swam right underneath a couple of our boards as we were waiting for those perfect waves to come through.
Following surfing was lunch in Kihei (the city surfing was in) followed by an authentic Hawaiian luau at night. We knew that going to the luau wasn’t enough — we had to dress the part. Some of us picked up some “Hawaiian Dad” shirts that would make any mid-40s male proud!
Off to the luau, where we were treated to a roast, other Hawaiian cuisine and a show for the ages. The show didn’t only include the “typical” luau aspects — grass skirts and ukelele — but also provided storytelling of the Hawaiian culture in the form of song, dance and ritual. There was even a part of the show where the audience was invited to go up to the stage to learn how to “Hula” (without the hoop), and it was so great to see almost every single member of our trip eagerly get up on to the stage to strut their stuff. The show was concluded with fire twirling, sending all of us off into the night with smiles on our faces and good food in our stomachs.
Next up for us is work at “Eco Maui” where we will learn about the physical preservation of this beautiful island, and then a 4th of July celebration before we head off to Honolulu for the next part of our trip.
Mahalo for reading and aloha ‘oe!
The Westcoast Blogger