Wednesday, March 30, 2011

LUV2Run Loves to Swing too!

During our most recent session for LUV2Run, Chynna led the group on a new path through the nearby neighborhood. We ended up passing by a park with swings, and I learned that all of the girls in the group (most of our running boys were participating in Dudes 4 Awesome that day) loved to swing just as much as I did. We took a short break to play on the swings and climb on the monkey bars before continuing our run. Days like that remind me that being open to spontaneity creates opportunities for lasting memories!

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Surfing Is..." Media Project w Coco Ho!

This past Friday, several lucky members of the BGCH spent Prince Kuhio Day surfing with Coco Ho! Zack & Nicolette from Aliamanu, Dayane from Spalding, and Tyler and Sean from the Windward Clubhouse, along with staff from all three clubs met up with Coco and her cousin Makoa to make a film about why they love to surf. It was pretty windy at Kalamas and the surf was a bit tough, but with the help of Joey from Windward, all of the kids were able to catch a few waves and get footage of them surfing with the Go Pro mounted to their board. When they weren't in the water, they were warming up on the beach! Coco interviewed all of the youth to find out exactly what it is about surfing that is just so special to them.

Here's what Dayane had to say about hanging out with Coco all day: "My favorite part with Coco Ho was when I was doing the interview with her, and I got to know a little bit about her life and what is surfing to her...I loved it! She is great! (; "

To get an idea of what some of the youth shared on camera, check out some of their responses to a questionnaire they filled out before they participated:

"Surfing is's something that you have to work for, it's not something that you're given. It's a great feeling when you get up on the board and catch the wave." ~Zack
"Surfing for me feels like I am all alone on my own, only concentrated on surfing and nothing else. I just wanna get there, do my thing and forget about everything else." ~Dayane

"My first wave... I was at Kailua beach, a short walk from my best friend's house and my little brother was showing off his "skills." I started making fun of him and he challenged me to do it myself since I had never tried before. I grabbed the board and ran right into the water and it took a few tries but eventually I caught a wave and actually stood up on it... it was the best feeling ever and at that moment I decided I was going to get my own board and start surfing on a regular basis. .... Surfing is like... well you really can't compare surfing to anything. It just gives you a rush, like a natural high. Sitting out there waiting for a perfect wave, watching the sets and memorizing their pattern, and then getting right on the crest of the wave, pulling yourself up and dropping in. It's pretty amazing (:" ~Nikki

"The first wave I caught? I was surfing a 9'0" at Castle, it was a nice day to surf. It was 1-2 feet and tons of people were out. My brother turned me around and said 'Paddle!' So I started to paddle then my brother helped push me on the wave and I stood up and surfed it all the way to shore... When I'm surfing I feel like I'm a whole new person." ~Tyler

Thanks Coco and Makoa for all of your help and for a great day!

To check out all the photos from our surf event and other events we've done with Coco, check out our Picasa album!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We Like to Go Out with a Splash!

What a great looking group of kids we got to spend time with this week!

At Aliamanu BGCH, we like to finish things on a high note, so that means that we had to end the spring break program with Wet'n'Wild. Although it was the only day that rained in the morning during the whole break, by the time we arrived in Kapolei there were blue, sunny skies. Although there were some difficulties because the Spring Break Party was also happening later during the day, we still had plenty of fun. We learned this time to go on the Raging River first so that we didn't have to wait in line for over an hour. And the kids had tons of fun with their squirt tubes, surprising their friends with a shot of cool water! Miss Dani and Miss Bri spent time in Hurricane Harbor while the youth swam and jumped through the wave pool (by now our kids were expert swimmers). And while Franz braved the Shaka with a few of the boys, Miss Natalie got tons of water dumped on her in the kiddie pool and even had fun playing on the lily pads with the kids and the little ones played Sea Monster tag with Miss Hali. All in all, it was quite an adventurous day. To check out the complete photo album, click here!

I think the kids loved that I actually asked them to squirt me for this pic!
Maria and Zack kept each other company throughout the break program.
Rachel, Franz and Shantae hanging out in the pool!
I'm 99% sure this is Joshua!

Although we were all pretty exhausted at the end of the week, it was so worth it. New friends were made, many children became more courageous through activities like laser tag and swimming in the ocean, and everyone had a chance to be artistic with photography. Its always great to spend extra time with the members that we see on an every day basis, and its even better to meet new youth who join our program for the break. Thank you to everyone who participated! We hope you had even more fun than the staff did!

Skating the Day Away at the Ice Palace

An intersession program wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Ice Palace! The chilly arena was a nice follow-up after the sunny beach excursion the day before. Staff members helped the youth tie their laces super tight so their ankles wouldn't wobble too much, and sent them out on the ice. Some more experienced skaters like Jewel helped the younger ones along and helped them get the hang of it before they tried skating on their own. For the first time, Franz and Natalie played Four Corners on the ice--unfortunately, Franz was out on the first round and Natalie was out on the second! A bunch of the kids played limbo too and Staysia and Amber were 2 of the last 3 skaters left on the ice! During breaks to resurface the ice and when the children wanted to rest a bit, they enjoyed hot cocoa and saimin together, played video games and won prizes. Kameron even won an mp4 player! It always amazes me how even after 5 full hours at the rink, the kids still dread getting off the ice at the end of the day. To check out the complete photo album, click here!

"W" is for Winners! Final 3 for the Limbo!
Caden and Miss Bri had a great time skating together...he did so well on the ice!
Vincent had a great time even though he took a few spills!
Alvin, Victoria and Kameron!
Micah, Jeremy and Kyler warming up with some video games!
Kameron and Zachary...this might have been right before Kameron won the mp4 player!
Adrian and Brandon S. hanging out on the ice.
Girls Pic! So cute with Naomi, Zeren, Jewel, Chelsea and Leslie Ann!

Honolulu Zoo & Waikiki Beach!

Gabby, Corina, Jamal and Tyler get friendly with the giraffe!
Staysia, Amber, Victoria and Miss Bri pose for a picture before they begin to explore the zoo.

On Wednesday we headed into town to explore the Honolulu Zoo with a photography scavenger hunt. The members took turns with digital cameras, taking photos of their friends, the animals and also other interesting parts of the zoo that few people see. For example, we encouraged youth to take photos of textures, sources of water, their favorite color, and more abstract unique items. The photos will be used at our end of the year media festival.
Ashley concentrates hard to compose her photograph.

Arnold, Jewel, Zeren and Ashley take a break for some refreshing shave ice!

Of course, the youth also had fun exploring the entire zoo. Some of the kids got a great show with the tigers, watching the young tigers play with a hanging ball and jumping all through their cage. The younger groups had a chance to go to the petting zoo. A greedy goat ate Jeremy's scavenger hunt list! And the kids had a great time petting the rooster and learning that when it fluffs its feathers up, it's getting angry. They also got to walk through an aquarium tank and climb through a tunnel in the center of it with huge fish swimming all around them!
After the zoo, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the lawn outside the zoo before we crossed Kalakaua Avenue to cool off at Waikiki Beach. At the beach, the children took turns with underwater cameras and a fish eye camera. Check out this shot of the kids playing in the sand!
It was really great for everyone to just relax together and play around in the gentler waters (compared to Monday). By mid-week, lots of new friendships were being forged and it was great to see youth of all ages playing games together and having fun. To check out the complete photo album, click here!

Inter-Club Fun at Rascals

On Tuesday we took a break from the sun and met up with the Spalding and Windward Clubs at Rascal's Family Fun Center. Each group rotated through four stations: laser tag, mini golf, mini bowling and a bounce house. Hands down, everyone's favorite was the laser tag! Even though it was a bit scary at first for the little ones in the dark, they all thought it was awesome and had a blast. Everyone had fun seeing which team won, who hit the most targets and basically just running around in the dark. In Bri's group, first the boys won with Brandon P. leading the team in points, but then the girls came back with a win the second time around.
Ciyana, Logan and Brandon S. had a blast together at Rascals!

While people weren't playing laser tag, their favorite place to hang out was the bounce house! It was great to see even the older kids breaking down and just having fun jumping away! It got a bit rambunctious at times and everyone had fun taking jumping pictures. My favorite were Caitlin and Julia, and Jeremy and Zachary. They're so hilarious!
In the black light mini-golf, the youth had fun with all of the pirate-themed decorations. Everyone's favorite was the shark, and Heather's "attack" was the best executed! They took turns with the mini-putt and playing mini bowling too, where the youth cheered each other on for spares and strikes.
We ate lunch in our small groups at the Dole Cannery and then headed to Regal Cinemas to check out Rango. Thanks to the manager Reed, we had a whole reserved section in the theater just for us so we could all stick together as a group! The youth pooled their money to share drinks, popcorn and other snacks. The movie was a hilarious western with some really interesting characters. It was a nice way to relax after a pretty high-energy morning. To check out the complete photo album, click here!
Skyler & AJ are friends from our last break program and had a great time hanging out again!

Hooray for Spring Break!

Amber, Staysia, Matthew and Joshua became friends right away!

Spring Break for the Aliamanu BGCH meant tons of field trips all over the island for five days straight!! Our meeting place was at the Salt Lake District Park this time around, which was great because there was plenty of space for the kids to play and have fun before we left for each adventure.

As children arrived at Salt Lake District Park, they were introduced to their group leaders and played name games and ice breakers to get to know each other and feel more comfortable. Miss Hali, with the youngest group, created a game where each child was given a name of a Disney character. A few of the names stuck, and Miss Hali was called "Miss Rajah," Taylor was called "Tink," and Ciyanna was called "Mushu" pretty much all week!
Brandon S. and Gordon (above) and Skyler and Ocean (below) showed me their tickets with the stencils that they found from each station.
Our first day of break was our furthest adventure, and we traveled up to Wahiawa and Haleiwa for the day. The youth were eager to explore the Dole Plantation. Their navigational skills were tested in the World's Largest Garden Maze. Children were given tickets with 8 different spots where they would stencil a design found at 8 hidden stations throughout the maze. Some children raced through the maze to find the stations, while others seemed to enjoy exploring and surprising their friends around each corner. As I walked around taking photos, at one point I got lost! I walked in circles for a few minutes before I thought to myself "I could swear I've seen this bush before!" Gabby and Shantae came to my rescue and helped me find the central part of the maze.Corina and Leslie Ann made their way through the maze, and Kyler, Brandon P., Taylor and Caden stuck together to find each of the stations!
Then I went to wait at the exit of the maze to see who would complete it first. Brandon B. and Arnold were the winners! As kids waited for the rest of the group to finish, they explored the gift shop and the pineapple garden. After all of the kids finished the maze, we boarded the bus to head to the beach. Everyone was really excited because it was so hot out, they all couldn't wait to cool off!
Our winners, Arnold and Brandon B!

The original plan was to swim at Waimea Bay, but with surf forecasts predicting 10 foot shorebreak, we changed plans and headed to Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park instead. The waves were still pretty strong there, but they were much smaller. Everyone, staff included, had a great time jumping and diving through the waves. The older kids helped keep an eye on the little ones, who were quite fearless as they swam in the waves. Others constructed walls and towers on the beach and buried each other in the sand. Everyone had a chance to play with the waterproof cameras and snapped photographs and video recorded all of the action in the water. The time flew by and soon enough we were boarding the bus again to head back to Salt Lake. What an exciting way to kick start the program! To check out the complete photo album, click here!
Bradley and Jonathan hanging out at Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park!

Zeren kept a close eye on Taylor (or "Tink") while playing in the water!

Jamal and Brandon P. had fun burying themselves in the sand!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

LUV2 Run at the Gecko Gallop 5K!

The LUV2Run program completed its first 5K race this Saturday at the 2011 Gecko Gallop. Starting at Freedom Tower at 7:00am, Bradley, Courtney, Heather, Huni, Maria, Miss Bri and Miss Natalie took off running through the scenic Hickam Air Force Base. The weather was great--sunny but cool in the morning light. For many of the youth, this was their first 5K race they ever participated in. Great job to all the youth who participated to represent Aliamanu! Here's everyone unofficial finish times (they didn't have timing chips)...see if you can beat them at the next 5K!
Bradley and Courtney: 40:55
Huni and Natalie: 41:15
Maria, Heather and Bri: 58:40

Friday, March 11, 2011

Celebrating ReaDch Readers!

At Aliamanu, we began a new program called ReaDch. ReaDch is a read-aloud, read-along program that creates a pressure-free environment for youth to read books for enjoyment. Our first book that we read together as a group was Hatchet. In the beginning, Miss Dani read most of the book aloud during each ReaDch session, and the youth quietly followed along. By listening to someone read aloud, it helps the youth improve their reading because someone else is helping them decode the words. By the end of the program, many youth were eagerly raising their hands to take turns reading aloud with Miss Dani.
As a reward for the youth who participated in at least 80% of the sessions, readers were taken on a zipline adventure at Bay View Mini Putt in Kaneohe. The adventure was chosen because it matched the "adventure" theme of the book; however, as we got to the zipline course, it became clear that it also matched the theme of the program in general. Youth were hesitant and nervous at first to try the zipline, similarly to how they felt toward reading aloud at first. But through encouragement and a pressure-free environment, everyone ended up having a great time reading the book and zipping through the air!

Check out what some of our youth had to say about the program and the field trip!

"The ReaDch program was really interesting because at first it was pretty scary and then it got fun! The book was very cool! After we finished the book we got to go to Bay View Zipline! I love this program and I hope we get to do something like this again!" ~Arii
"I had fun doing this program. I liked how I didn't have to read in front of everyone if I didn't want to. And I really liked the book. But my favorite part was the ziplining!" ~Gabby
"I think the ReaDch program helps people to get better at reading. We read the book Hatchet. Most of the time the students read aloud. What I enjoyed about the book Hatchet was that it was interesting. I like how it is mostly about a boy surviving in the woods, trying to build a fire and find food. The zipline was a great and fun experience. I was nervous at first. My heart beat was fast. But once I tried it, it was super awesome. I liked laying back, looking around, and letting my hands go. It was amazing. I enjoyed looking up at the beautiful blue sky. Hope to come back!" ~Huni
"The ReaDch program is about learning from a book as you read it. Hatchet was really mysterious. Then, we went to zipline. Once we put on our gear, we went on the zipline ride. So first I was very scared because I was scared of heights. But when we reached the end, I wasn't scared anymore. So the second time I went, I had overcome my fear and just had fun. I had so much fun today!" ~Justice

Thanks Grant & Evan for such an awesome time today at Bay View!