Hawaii is magnificent! Everyone arrived from the East Coast, and our first few days were spent relaxing in the sun. Once we unpacked our suitcases, we packed our backpacks and went to Kahana Beach Park, which was the site of our first pickup football game. In the end, one final catch in the makeshift end zone broke the tie game. The blue sea and skies – not to mention the windsurfers in the background – set the perfect scene for another activity: our first photo shoot! Everyone went the distance to get the perfect shots.
The community service component began with the Boys and Girls Club of Maui. The club director’s voice carried across the staff’s walkie talkies, saying: “Let’s gather everyone for a club meeting. Westcoast is here!” The members flooded in to receive us – clearly our reputation preceded us and, let me tell you, we didn’t come here to disappoint. Less than five minutes after being introduced, we jumped into the club’s programming for the day. A pair of us joined the culinary team to bake treats for snack shop (which made the entire building smell delicious), a few of us took to arts and crafts, and the remainder jumped into the game of turtle (a combination of dodgeball and capture the flag) outside.
Our second day at the club was our turn to shine. We planned programming the night before for various different interests, including musical chairs and paper-fortune making to all-club kickball and toilet tag. The afternoon water balloon toss-turned-fight was the right ending to a great service day! The fast camaraderie and friendships brought the biggest smiles to the faces of each trip member and everyone at the club.
Having met some local residents at the club, we’ve also had the chance to learn native Hawaiian culture via hula lessons with ‘Aunty Amy.’ Learning the dance was quite challenging for a lot of us, but the story of Pele (the volcano goddess) that we told through dance while wearing our handmade leis is a powerful one.
Hawaii was formed by volcanoes, so before Pele broke the surface, this area of the Pacific was like the rest: deep blue water. And that’s exactly what we got to explore on the snorkel cruise, when we sprayed the defog solution in our masks and jumped right in! Despite initial trepidations about the water or the fish swimming all around us, we – in the words of Dory – just kept swimming, swimming, swimming, and we quickly snorkeled up a storm. We were flipping and diving, and even allegedly in hot pursuit of an elusive sea turtle at one point! The story of Pele got us back to harbor safe and sound.
Our trip so far has been full of football in the quad, engaging service with the Boys and Girls Club of Maui, and exploring the natural beauty of Hawaii. We can’t wait for what’s in store during the awesome days ahead! (Stay tuned for waterfalls and beaches!)
Until Next Time,
The Westcoast Blogger
Do you want to make a difference? Volunteer with our 18-day Hawaii community service program, for an incredible opportunity to explore its islands, its people and its culture.