Hawaii Jr Lifeguard program.
If you have a 12 - 17 year old and EVER - EVER have the opportunity to put them in the Jr. Lifeguard program in Kona. DO IT. I don't care if your kid likes to swim or not. It will be the BEST twenty bucks you have ever spent. Even if they hate the class.
What does $20 get you?? TWO WEEKS Monday thru Friday (except first day is just a swim test to see if they can swim 200 yards). Trust me, if two of the kids there passed the test, your kid can too. It's all about water safety. Sorry, for the tangent. Two weeks, from nine until noon. CPR, Board Safety, Open Water rescue, traditional Hawaiian dance (Haku - more on that in a moment), a potluck, a competition and new friends. ALL FOR TWENTY DOLLARS.
Truly, the class is priceless. I happened to see a sign at the beach our second day here. Nolan and Lily didn't want to do the class - it was two weeks, then another class was starting the week after Duncan got here. Duncan said he wanted to do it. Only once, did he say, "I don't want to go" and then 10 minutes later he was in the main house with his bag asking what was for breakfast. Not a complaint in my book.
Then today was the "Jr Lifeguard Competition" Three teams. We were team "Kona", there was "Hapuna" (the location of the event) and the "Hilo" team (the three main areas of the island). Several events. 1000m run; Run Swim Run; Paddle Boarding; Swim; - all those skills you need in Life guarding. Broken into girls/boys - then 12, 13-14; 15-17 age groups. Duncan won the 1000m run for the 13 - 14 males.
The state championship is in Oahu next weekend - he won a free airline ticket over there, since he came in first to compete. (He's not going).
AND, I haven't even begun to tell begun to tell you about the other prizes.
Give aways. Box lunches (a box lunch here is - okay, I will have to upload this picture to do it justice, but rice, hot dogs (cut up and they are a reddish color), chicken, spam and sliced meat. Free Gatorade and Water.
No - there is no membership fee. There is no entry fee. I kept waiting for the catch.
Yes, part of it is our tax dollars at work. Yes, both National and then their tax dollars - state at work. Water safety. Public Safety.
Then sponsorships. For this event, the Alex and Duke DeRego Foundation is a big sponsor. Ironman Foundation is another sponsor. This is why today's event was "free".
Let me tell you about the Alex and Duke Foundation. Of course there was a banner and I walked up to a woman with a foundation T-shirt on and asked, "What is the Alex and Duke Foundation".
The woman explained to me that Alex had died while camping - he fell into the water and they never recovered his body. (I couldn't remember when, I was just trying to hold it together at this point of the story - tears had been forming in my eyes all day). Then just two years ago, Duke had died in a golf cart accident - teenagers being teenagers and he went flying. (more of the story on their site). Of course, by this time, I'm crying. And just gave the woman a hug and said I'm so sorry and thank you. For Duke, they donated his organs and this way, they could keep giving.
Re-thinking as I'm talking to her, and I realized she had said, "we lost" - thinking this is the vernacular the organization uses to explain their cause. Then I realize, it was their mom. I think that's when the tears began. Not sure.
It was after my son had won his medal. Before we helped clean up. And ever since.
We may be "haloe's" (white people) from the mainland, but when we find a good cause, we know it.