Ho’olana I Nā Keiki o Ke Kai is a day of bonding and inclusion, celebration the ocean that surrounds us. It is a fun and adaptive event for children and adults with developmental disabilities, allowing them the opportunity to experience ocean activities like SUP and outrigger canoe paddling with Maui’s top professional water athletes. It will be hosted by Lae Ula O Kai outrigger canoe club at Kanaha beach park.
Ho’olana was inspired by Andrea Moller’s vision to offer Camp Imua kids a way to enjoy one-on-one time with an ocean athlete. A day focused exclusively on children with special needs to participate in watersports in a supervised, safe environment.
It first started as “Imua Keiki Kai” with about ten kids and twenty volunteers. Most of them were Andrea’s friends helping her enact her vision. They arrived on the beach early, each friend with a personal board to take a kid paddling. Hawaiian Canoe Club helped with a double hull canoe and paddles for the kids. It was a simple day with huge results.
The kids had a blast paddling in Kahului harbor with close supervision by Maui’s elite waterwomen and men. They were lit up with joy as they played in the ocean – paddle boarding, paddling a canoe, and jet ski rides. All these activities, the kids may have never imagined doing or even had a chance of doing before Imua Keiki Kai.
Every single person that showed up left with a bigger heart. Those volunteers returned every single year after that. And they have become family, the core of a beautiful gathering.
The event quadrupled the size in the past six years. Families mentioned their kids look forward to meeting the athletes and playing in the water. The athletes became more and more eager to help and make a difference. Our community grew. That’s when “Ho’olana I Nā Keiki” was formed.
Today we invite all ages and disabilities and work side by side with Special Olympics Maui, Imua Family Services and MDA Hawaii. We invite our community to come together and benefit from a day in the ocean.
FUN. Everyone plays together.
OCEAN. Give those that don’t have access and/or are not comfortable in the water an opportunity to play in the ocean.
EMPOWER and learn about each other. Advocate love and respect of special needs children.
SAFETY. 3:1 participant/volunteer ratio. Experienced water athletes and safety patrol on site.
COMMUNITY. Have families gather and exchange happiness together.
ENVIRONMENT. We provide drinking water for people to refill their bottles. Beach clean up before and after the event
2019 Event Schedule
Saturday May 18, 2019
8:00am – 1:00pm
Kanaha – Lae Ula O Kai
Set up Tents
Set up water buoys
Paddles and life jackets pick up
Pair child with volunteer
Beach clean up
Trash pick up and dispose
Final check that Park is left clean