Thursday, December 30, 2010

Going Out with a SPLASH at Wet'n'Wild!

For the last day of the excursion program, we saved the best field trip for last and headed out to Kapolei to the Wet'n'Wild water park! Although it rained as we drove through Pearl City and Ewa, it cleared up by the time we made it there and we were lucky to have blue skies for the day. We split the youth into smaller groups so they could pick which rides they wanted to go on. The younger kids loved playing in what they called "Mario World" because of the big red and white mushroom fountain, and the older kids waited in line for almost an hour to ride the Raging River! Hunter and Kainoa both tried out "Da Flowrider" boogie boarding ride and did really well!
Bryson and AJ A. buddied up for the day and Amanda, Heather and Kelsey
hung out with them for the Raging River ride!

Hunter did great on Da Flowrider!

Maybe the most fun part was the Hawaiian Waters wave pool though, because so many members could hang out together and have fun. We had a great time taking photos of the youth underwater, we braved the strong waves together and the barrage of inner-tubes, and jumped through the waves to stay above water!

Nice underwater shaka, Heather!

Shane I. waited patiently for the wave pool to open!

This might be the best smile ever from Brandon B!

All in all, it was a great way to end the week. Youth who had never met each other made new friends throughout the entire program. By the fourth day, it didn't really matter how old you were, what school you went to, or if you were a boy or a girl--everyone just wanted to have fun with each other and found people who liked the same rides as them. We're already looking forward to the spring break program and hopefully meeting even more new youth to welcome to the BGCH!

To check out photos from the whole week, view our Picasa Album!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Venturing up to the Windward Side!

For the third day of our winter program, we headed up to the Windward side (as if it wasn't rainy enough for us in town!) to go bowling and to watch a movie. At Pali Lanes we split into small groups so everyone had plenty of time to bowl.

Ocean, Skyler, Kai and Micah are always hamming it up for the camera!

The older members broke into two teams: "Team Awesome" and "Team LIT," and worked together to try to have the highest combined scores. Team Awesome lived up to their name and won both games!
Introducing Team Awesome: Branden, Shane, AJ and Rachel!

It was also great seeing even the littlest members lifting those huge bowling balls to hit down the pins. Part of Sebastian's skill was his dance he'd do after the threw the ball to encourage it to hit the pins! Everyone had fun even when they weren't bowling--whether it was filming other kids participating, challenging Rob to a staring contest (I think Gabby won most of the time!), or just eating lunch together. And Donovan somehow broke his slipper, so he got a piggy back ride from Miss Dani for the rest of the day!

Then we headed out to Windward Mall to go watch Tangled. We had a little bit of down-time before the movie, so we played 3 games in the center court--Rob led "Follow the Leader," Bri led "Truths" and Dani led "Colors." Our staff always tries to make every last minute fun! When we made it to the theaters, groups of youth put their money together to share snacks and save some money, and then they all sat together to watch the movie. It was really hilarious and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Intersession - Ice Palace!!

Day 2 of our winter program coincided well with the "chilly" weather in Honolulu--we headed over to the Ice Palace for a day full of skating! Before we got there, we had a Crazy Sock Contest back at the club! Lots of the kids got creative and wore mismatched socks with fun patterns. Each contestant had a chance to "model" their socks--Brandon strutted the catwalk and Amanda kicked her legs high in the air to emphasize her brightly colored knee socks!

Everyone else voted on who they thought deserved a free cup of hot chocolate (prizes were given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place). Jewel and Kai tied for 2nd--Jewel had some crazy layered socks and Kai decorated his own! And Zack won by an overwhelming number of votes for his neon socks, which he borrowed from his older sister!

When we got to the Ice Palace, everyone rented their skates and hit the ice! Some youth were really skilled skaters and other were just trying for the first time, but they all managed to have a blast. One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing youth helping each other learn how to skate. The staff had plenty of fun too and skated a few laps and played tag with the youth on the ice. Gabby got some great video footage by wearing one of our smaller video cameras around her neck and in her pocket while she skated around the rink, and Rachel, AJ and Kainoa got an opportunity to learn how to use the HD camcorder as well. When the youth weren't skating, they were winning prizes in the arcade, eating lunch together, and just hanging out. At the end of the day, everyone said their favorite part was when they turned the lights out and used the disco lights!

Shantae, Justice, Naomi, Gabby and Alvin took a break from skating for a photo op!

Adrian and Kyler had fun playing together all day!

Zander and Sebastian are showing us what brotherly love is all about!

AJ, Rachel and Kainoa were a key part of the media crew today!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Excursion Program - Hanauma Bay

The first day of our Winter Excursion Program was a series of fortunate events! We rented enough snorkel gear for 34 youth the day before, knowing that the weather forecast was not promising...but we decided to take the risk and hope for the best. Around 9:00am it started pouring and we even heard some thunder! But as quickly as the rain came in, it moved on and the dark clouds parted to...lighter clouds! :) We headed out to Hanauma Bay, where we had a chance to look around the exhibits in the welcome center and then we got a special presentation from the education team there. We had a private screening of the movie that they play for guests that visit the bay, and learned some detailed information about the different types of fish in the bay. We also learned a little bit about conservation and we were shocked to learn that soup cans take about 50 years to decompose and diapers take about 450 years!

Skyler, AJ and Brandon learning about all the fishes in Hanauma Bay!

After the educational session we headed down the huge hill to the bay. Youth took turns using two new waterproof video cameras to capture footage of the fish and their friends having fun. One of the cameras can be mounted onto a head-strap, so youth had the change to take "point of view" footage. At one point, the headgear & camera went missing in the ocean...reports were that a bird took it and dropped it, or two turtles were playing with it, or even that a shark stole it! Fortunately, the youth worked together to find the camera not far from where the group was snorkeling. We can't wait to see the footage that they captured. Everyone was excited about all of the creatures they saw--huge parrotfish, eels and even an octopus!

Huli and Kelsey were expert snorkelers!

When the youth wanted to take a break from snorkeling, they had a great time splashing around in the water, burying each other in the sand, and competing in handstand contests. I'm thrilled to see that everyone was making new friends right away and having a fun time together. I know that the rest of the week will only get better!

Ja'don, Lindsey and Sara were showing off their handstand skills!

To check out more photos from the excursion program, click here!

Holiday Spirit at Aliamanu

Whew--I can't believe how quickly first semester finished! December was filled with lots of fun and excitement, and our Program Assistants Dani & Bri did a really great job coming up with creative projects to help our youth get in the spirit of the season. We watched some of our favorite holiday movies like "The Santa Clause" and "Elf," we created candy cane reindeer and gingerbread houses, and on the last day before break, we headed to the Spalding Clubhouse for their Winter Dance. Check out some of the photos from the month of December!

The youth and staff worked together to make these awesome decorations!
Each member had their own "Be Great" ornament on the tree!

Keonna was really creative and made a candy cane reindeer and a pipe worm!

Brandon, Bradley and Raphael played their ukuleles in style!

Brigina made a pretty awesome gingerbread house!

Tiana, Kiana and Jerricah danced the night away at the Spalding Clubhouse!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Candyland Christmas at the Salt Lake Shopping Center

This past Saturday our Program Assistants Bri & Dani represented the Aliamanu BGCH at the Salt Lake Shopping Center Fun Fair. They created a card-making booth for youth to create greeting cards for family members or for recovering soldiers. Over 50 children from around the community had a chance to become artistic with glitter, stickers, ribbon, holiday cut-outs and more to create beautiful holiday cards for the people that mean the most to them and for troops in our community. Dani shared "It was amazing how some kids got so creative and how making a holiday card made them so happy. I had a lot of fun and I think everyone else did too!" Bri felt that "the event was a great way for the Aliamanu BGCH to get out and help other youth give back to their community."

A big thanks to our awesome staff that did a great job reaching out to youth in Salt Lake!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Aliamanu has Gone MAD!!

Program Assistants Dani & Bri debuted a new program at the club last Friday--Mad Science! The program helps youth practice the scientific method with hands-on experiments, then asks them to evaluate the experiment afterward with a brief write-up. Here's what a few of the youth had to say:

"Hey, this is Courtney! Today we did Bottle Rockets. Just in case you didn't know, Bottle Rockets is when you put Mentos into soda and then there's a fountain of soda. We did that for our Mad Science activity. It looked awesome and I ate 3 Mentos! :) Well, I had a blast--LOL, get it, "blast,"...rockets...haha!" ~Courtney N.

"So, today I participated in a science experiment that was so totally fun and classic: Mentos in diet Coke. Well, what I have learned from my experience is that you should be fast in putting your Mentos in or you will be blasted with soda! Overall this was so super delicious fantastic--the best experiment I have done in my life!" ~Raphael L.

"Today we put Mentos in soda, and we had to see what happened. The experiment was fun because we got to see the soda explode. Plus we go to drink the soda afterward, but the soda tasted like mint." ~Chelsea F.

"The experiment today was cool. I've never done anything like that before. The experiment contained teamwork and ninja-skills. Thanks for the Mentos and soda. Miss Dani and Miss Bri rock!" ~DH W.

"I exploded a diet soda. I think it would explode more if it was regular. After it fizzed up quick then we drank it and then we all took a picture." ~Brandon B.

"Today we did a bottle rocket experiment. We had soda and Mentos. We did everything we were supposed to but it never worked. But it was still fun." ~Preston M.

Friday, December 3, 2010

All Aboard! SOMK at the Battleship Missouri

We finished November and started December with a second "Speak Out for Military Kids" media project. We had 8 boys participate in the project--6 were military and 2 were local. We began by playing games together and learning a little bit more about each other before we dove into the deep end discussing deployment. Through playing a game called "Truths," the boys were able to learn that military kids and local kids aren't all that different. For example, we found out that even the local kids weren't born in Hawaii, that most of them liked roller coasters, and they were all hesitant to admit to being afraid of the dark. The next game we played was a life-size board game (or rather room game!) called the Deployment Game. The boys took turns moving along the spaces, reading aloud different situations like "You get a surprise phone call from a loved one--move forward 2 spaces" or "You fail a math test due to stress--move back 1 space." Through the activities, they were able to feel a little more comfortable with each other and get ready for the tough part of talking about deployment the next day.

To make the task a little less nerve-wracking and more fun and interesting, we conducted the interviews and media portion of the project aboard the U.S.S. Missouri Battleship at Pearl Harbor. Thanks to the help of Chief Thompson, and education coordinators Dan and Neil, the boys were able to get some great interviews on the bow of the ship, and look around the ship for some "B-roll" (other clips to use for the movie). The boys asked each other questions like "What is deployment?," "How do you act different when your parent is deployed?," and "When going through tough times, what would make you feel supported by those around you?" Although some of the boys were camera-shy, they all warmed up and were able to talk about deployment in an honest and open way. It was a struggle at time to talk about the harder parts of deployment, but they were encouraged to be real because they knew that it would help other military kids feel less alone, and like the feelings they were experiencing were normal.

All in all, the youth had a great time putting together the project. Now comes the waiting part...editing always takes a lot longer than filming, so it'll take a little while to get the film finished and ready to watch. Of course, we'll post it up when it's finished! In the meantime, check out all the pics from the day in our Picasa album!

Monday, November 22, 2010

GRLZ 4 Change Help Hawaii's Homeless Keiki

The girls worked hard all day Friday raising money for homeless keiki! To check out more photos from the GRLZ 4 Change program, click here!

Aliamanu Program Assistants Bri and Dani have been working hard to help young girls at the BGCH to feel empowered and like they can make a difference in their community. The first major service project for our GRLZ 4 Change program was in conjunction with Project Hawaii, Inc. Project Hawaii works to provide homeless keiki on the Waianae Coast with food and other supplies. Our girls focused on asking for donations of hygiene products around the community. Club members and Aliamanu Middle School students helped donate through the week, but the girls knew that we could raise more by reaching out to others outside the club. The girls stationed themselves near Longs in the Salt Lake Shopping Center, explaining their mission to passing customers and asking for donations.

Courtney N. wrote about her experience at Longs: "Today we had an awesome time at GRLZ 4 Change. We are doing a hygiene drive and we went down by Longs and tried to raise money and hygiene products. We are raising this stuff for the homeless keiki along the Waianae Coast. I was happy I was helping the cause. I am also doing it tomorrow and I hope more people decide to donate. A lot of people donated, BUT, there were some people that just laughed and walked away. I can't wait till they do it again and we get to help."

The girls collected lots of supplies and raised $27 outside of Longs and used that money to buy more products from Longs to donate. In the end of it all, they had over 160 bottles of shampoo, bars of soap, and all sorts of other hygiene products to donate to Project Hawaii!

So, on Friday, the girls headed out to the Kapolei Shopping Center. There they presented Project Hawaii with the goods they had gathered, and then they helped to raise more money for the cause! A few of the girls that participated in the field trip wrote about their time in Kapolei:

"The purpose for the field trip was for people to donate to the homeless people. So what we did was wear the posters that said 'Donate to the homeless!' And we had a net for the people in the car to put the money in. We raised a lot of money so the homeless can EAT!" ~Sharlene T.

"Last Friday some Boys & Girls Club members and I went to Kapolei to collect money donations for the homeless keiki. A funny thing that happened was when some guy wanted to donate money to me but I couldn't grab it from his hand because it was a green light and he had to go, plus he was moving and so when the other girls tried getting it he threw it out of his car before he was about to turn left. Anyways, I had a lot of fun and it was a time I wouldn't want to miss." ~Carla T.

"On the field trip we collected money for charity. It was fun just watching everyone yell 'Donate!' Haha! I also liked the snacks they provided. Also, collecting all that money helped 1,000 kids. :) It was the bestest field trip I had this month--it was fun, funny and cool!" ~Esther S.

"The field trip was really fun. I loved the whole thing because I love yelling and I did a lot of that there to get the people in the cars attention. And I love the fact that I helped kids who really needed it. :) Plus, the kids must be really happy that we are doing this for them. And that's why I did it." ~Maria M.

Overall, I'm really excited about all of the hard work that Bri & Dani have put into this program, and I'm even more impressed with how much effort our awesome girls put into helping other youth in need on the island! Just think of how much each one of these young ladies can accomplish in just a few years when they are adults--the possibilities are inspiring!

~Natalie, Program Director

Monday, November 15, 2010

Babies are Expensive!

As part of the SMART Moves curriculum, Rob & Natalie took the LITs to Target (one of our favorite places to visit!) to send them on a quest to price out baby supplies. Our goal was to help the youth understand just how expensive it is to care for a baby--and hopefully this knowledge will help them in remaining abstinent until they are ready to support a family. First, youth priced out items such as diapers, clothing, strollers, car seats and more. Of course we didn't just send the youth out to look for supplies and wait for them...instead, we spied on them to see who of the pairs was really working and who wasn't taking the task as seriously. Then, the youth who didn't put as much effort into the first exercise received an emergency list: "Your Baby is Sick!" They had to go back to through the store with a 10 minute time limit to find other random items that a sick baby might need, pronto!

Read on to enjoy their comments about shopping for babies:

"This trip to Target was fun because we got to go walk around Target learning about how much you spend on babies. During our walk we had a list of things and we had to find out how much they cost. With all the items added up, the price was a total of $980--and that wasn't even everything! So we learned that babies cost a lot to have and to take care of." ~Shantae D.

"I've learned that when your baby is born your wife will tell you to buy all these certain things for the babies but sometimes it's so expensive! But it's gonna take a lot of work and it's gonna be very hard to take care of a baby." ~Justice M.

"What I learned is that you have to buy a lot of items for your baby and you also need a lot of money in order to pay for that. I also learned that some people might not want to help you if you have a baby as a teenager." ~Huni P.

"I learned that people use a lot of money for babies even though the price tags don't seem to be that much. I also learned that some stuff isn't in the same place. You will be busy when you have a baby!" ~Alvin M.

"It's hard to search for medicine and other things. Also this teaches me that babies require a lot of money and attention. Also, this will effect my life with my friends and girlfriend." ~Kevin C.

"Something that surprised me was how tiring the task was with the time limit. It was hard going back and forth through the store." ~Bradley S.

"I've learned that getting all the things you need for a baby is expensive and you need to have it all the time. It was a lot of work!" ~Gabby C.

Friday, November 5, 2010

BE GREAT is Makin' Waves at Aliamanu

I must admit, I'm in love with the Boys & Girls Club of America's new BE GREAT campaign! I think it's such a great way for youth to think about and articulate their unique personality characteristics and strengths. I've been trying to find ways to incorporate the new BE GREAT campaign into our clubhouse, but it's a little tough when we can't do much to decorate or change the atmosphere because we use space within the middle school. Realistically though, all that really means is that we have to be inspired to think a little bit outside of the box and come up with some creative ways to help our youth make the club feel like their own.

So for the last few years I've had a junky surfboard that barely floats sitting around in my house. I've contemplated just leaving it up on the North Shore for someone to use for part of a fence or to try to fix it up, but never got around to doing it. Thank goodness I didn't! Our clubhouse turned it into an awesome art project that encouraged many of our youth to be engaged and contribute to its design.

So I started it off by creating a blank canvas with two words written across it: BE GREAT. We gave youth a few different paint colors and just asked them to think of other things that they wanted to be! It was really interesting to see how creative the youth really can be with such little guidance--within a few hours they were swirling colors, using the back end of the paint brushes to write with thinner letters and coming up with some really unique phrases. Each child's phrase really spoke to who they were as a person and I think it really helped them value the unique aspects of themselves. I'm so excited to display the surfboard and it's messages for years to come!

~Natalie, Program Director

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Fun at the Club!

To start off the Halloween week and get in the spirit of the fun holiday, the youth had the chance to try their skills at bobbing for apples and showed off their artistic personalities while painting mini-pumpkins. It was great to see so many youth participating and having fun together! Enjoy the accounts of a few members for today's festivities!

"Wow, bobbing for apples was so much fun! Although I took like 7 seconds to do it. And besides that, I got apple stuck in my braces but it was so much fun! Hope I get to do it again!" ~Sarah G., 7th Grade

"Bobbing for apples is very hard to play and a little disgusting! First you dump your head into a bucket of water. Second, you try to chase the apple. Last, bite the apple and take it out!" ~Patrick S., 7th Grade

"Today's game was about apples. The rules were to try and bite the apple without using your hands. Also the apples were in the water. Some people were really quick!" ~Caitlin M., 7th Grade

"My pumpkin painting was fun. I made a pumpkin with a happy face and a hat. After I was done Miss Dani said that it was nice and that I was artistic! After we painted, I helped clean up the table and the floor and earned extra Power Hour points for community service." ~Brian A., 7th Grade

"Hey...this is Courtney! Today I am going to talk about the pumpkin painting. Everybody had a blast! We mixed colors to paint cool looking pumpkins. I had a really mini one that I painted teal green and a bigger one that I painted blue and black. There were a lot of cool looking pumpkins that other kids painted. :) I hope we can do other art projects that are similar to this one! :)" ~Courtney N., 7th Grade

To check out more photos from today, view our Picasa Album!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pinhole Fun at the UH Photo Lab

Our photo program provided our youth with a really unique experience this month. At the club, Sandra helped our youth create pinhole cameras out of shoe boxes! We made the boxes completely light-tight by taping all of the edges. We also spray painted the insides black so that there wouldn't be any light reflection inside the box. Then we made apertures with pinholes on pieces of heavy-duty foil. After two program sessions of preparation, the shoe boxes were ready for the trip to the UH photo lab.

The lab supervisor Mike gave us a tour of the photo lab, including the film developing room, the darkroom with the enlargers and trays for developing photos, and the room with all of the drying racks. He also showed us some unique photographs and cameras too. When we were in the darkroom at the photo lab, we were able to load the cameras with a sheet of light-sensitive photographic paper and then we used the cameras to take photos on the UH Manoa campus.

Alvin M., 8th Grade, took this photo of a tree in the morning light.
The image on the left is the negative and the positive is shown on the right.

The youth then went back to the lab to see their photographs appear in the developing tray. The photos they made were actually "negatives," so they had to turn them into a positive by reprinting them over another sheet of paper. After this part, the youth then used plants they found outside to make photograms. Basically, for a photogram, youth placed objects on top of the light sensitive paper and then exposed the paper with the enlarger. The objects blocked the light from hitting parts of the paper, making interesting white shapes on a black background.

Sharlene T., 7th Grade, created this simple but elegant photogram.

Thank you to Mike and all of the other helpers at the UH Manoa Photo Lab for making this field trip possible!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Speak Out for Military Kids Premier!

This Wednesday we hosted a small premier at the Aliamanu BGCH Media Lab for our Operation: Military Kids Speak Out for Military Kids media project. Several representatives from OMK made the effort to stop by after work to view the film that the youth had worked on for a week to create, as well as the some of the youth from the film and their families. It was really special because it was the first time that the youth had seen the completed project as well!

BGCH staff commented that the film brought tears to their eyes as they saw the youth being very honest on film, but also having a lot of fun together.

OMK representatives noted that it seemed like the youth had known each other for years the way they interacted on camera, but really they had just become so close throughout the project.

What I thought was most remarkable about the film was that even though the youth all spoke to the challenges and obstacles of being a military youth, it was evident that they are all well-adjusted and happy children. Hearing the youth share their stories helped me to see how much we adults really do have to learn from our kids, if we only take the time to listen.

SOMK Staff Jennifer, Brianna B., Courtney N., BGCH Media Mentor Franz, Aleigha B. and Zackary H. posed at the premier and then insisted on a silly picture!

Please enjoy viewing the film and pass the link on to others so that they, too, can hear the message that these talented youth have to share!

~Natalie, Program Director

Speak Out Military Kids - Aliamanu BGCH from Franz Schmutzer on Vimeo.