Gone are the dog days of summer where our island children run amuck in the hot and dusty streets, walking to the beach with boogie boards or riding their bikes through town. Nowadays, summer means enrichment and extracurricular activities allowing youth to absorb rays of sunshine while sharpening their creative skills.
Not surprisingly, many of our island’s summer camps are dedicated to honing sports during the summer. Rudy Huber coaches Track and Field Adventure camp in June at War Memorial Stadium to help young athletes increase their speed and agility. Tennis training at the courts in Kalama for kids four to 17 is taught by Barb Wallace and Tricia Wilstead. At Aloha Volleyball, Scottie Zucco has been teaching beach volleyball at the sand courts in Kanaha for eight years (he also coaches at Seabury Hall and King Kekaulike).
“Always talk to the instructors to find out their philosophy,” says Zucco. “If the kids don’t like the people involved, they rarely like the activity. Make sure the kids are interacting with positive people and you can’t go wrong.”
At Valley Isle Gymnastics, the young men’s competitive team gymnasts work as assistant coaches for their summer camps. Both Austin Cablay, 15, (pictured above) and Jonathan You, 14, represented Hawaii in the Regional Championships in Reno in April and plan to teach this summer in the gym.
“Teaching helps my own gymnastic skills because I see stuff that I can improve,” says Cablay, who placed 3rd on floor, 4th on rings, 6th on vault and 5th on high bar in the Level 5 Division at State Championships. “I am teaching myself as I teach.”
You says he was a rascal when he first started at Valley Isle at age seven, but he kept at it. Now he is the only Level 8 gymnast in the state. “It’s really fun to help the kids,” he says. “I tell them to just keep trying, that’s how I got to competition. You just have to try.”
Drama and dance are also great ways for the island’s youth to spend their summer. Theatre Theatre Maui has created a six-week drama camp in West Maui that culminates in an end of summer production at the Westin Maui. This year’s show, The Little Mermaid, Jr, will be directed by Kristi Scott and should be a hit after 2012’s popular Wizard of Oz. In South Maui, your little drama kings and queens can try Kamp Krazy Tales, which is a combined drama and music camp.
“Students learn fun, drama games, learn crazy scripts and build crafty costumes and and props,” says Jonathan Lehman, the artistic director for Kamp Krazy Tales. “Kim Vetterli is an exceptional musical director and children’s instructor, bringing her experience as a musical director, vocal coach and musician.”
Art instruction through the summer is another popular outlet for kids. The Maui Youth Art Outreach taught by Lahaina Arts Association has weekly no-cost art classes. At the Hui Noeau, art-intensive camps run all summer and include classes for teens like their T-shirt boot camp and aerosol mural, as well as kid camps that run weekly.
“Learning how to create will impact a child at every stage of their lives,” says Kelly McHugh, Youth Programs Director. “Making art begins with an idea–a story–an image. As you learn more about the various artistic tools at your hands you discover which of these tools will offer the key to unlocking that image for all to see (not just your own imagination).”
Body movement can also unlock the mind. Classes and camps at Alexander Dance Academy, Maui Yoga Shala and Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) all offer creative dance instruction. “Dance builds confidence and leadership,” says Danelle Watson, the Director at Alexander. “Children have loads of energy and excitement towards life. It’s an exciting process to guide them to discover something new and witnessing their aha moments of firsts.”
Our ocean offers lots of activity for the summer, and not just lounging on the sand. Discover Windsurfing Camps has three-day windsurfing instruction all summer at Kanaha for ages eight to 14. Pacific Whale Foundation has their Ocean Camp that exposes kids to marine biology and ocean environments. And Maui Surfer Girls has overnight and day surf camps for teen girls.
“It’s fun to teach kids, they learn quickly,” says Patty Cadiz of HST Windsurfing Camps. “Windsuring is a lifetime healthy sport.”
Of course, some kids focus on brainpower for the summer. The Hawaii State Library is looking for plenty of bookworms to join their “Dig into Reading” promotion that gives rewards for kids who read at least one book per week. WooHawaii Tutoring and Learning Center of Maui both provide summer learning to jump start the new school year or SAT prep.
“Multiple studies have proven beyond a doubt that children who read during the summer perform better when they return to school in the fall, score higher to standardized test and are more active and engaged in the classroom,” says Glenda Berry, the Makawao Public Library branch manager.
For special needs kids, Imua Family Services plans a weeklong overnight camp that runs June 8-13 called Camp Imua. The camp accepts children two to 20 with various special needs but also recruits more than 250 volunteers, ages 15 and up.
“Camp Imua is the only camp of its kind in the state,” says Camp Imua Coordinator Maile John. “It provides a unique and positive camping experience for children with special needs and also a meaningful volunteer experience for teens. The week is also a respite for parents of children with special needs.”
The State of Hawaii Department of Education school year ends on May 24, and starts back up again on Aug. 5. No matter what your keiki do this summer have fun and be safe.
Check our listings in this issue to find information on keiki summer activities. For more extensive information, visit Mauitime.com/summerfun.