A Playful Celebration
By Kauila Ho,
Fatherhood Coach firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday June 27, under clear skies and warm summer breezes
in Kona the West Hawaii Fatherhood Initiative, “Na Makuakane
Maika‘i O Hawaii” held its fifth annual conference. This year’s
“Celebration of Fatherhood” focused on the positive cognitive,
physical, social and emotional benefits received by fathers and
children engaging in active play together. The conference was
held at the “Swing Zone,” an outdoor venue near the Old
As with all the previous conferences, no admission was charged
to the fathers as a token of appreciation for their import role
in the lives of our communities’ children. Click
here for more photos.
The day’s program was hosted by Father Coaches
Larry Ursua and Kauila Ho.
After the opening pule offered by Billy Freitas one of
the program’s mentor fathers, Joann Bishop Freed, Executive
Director of Family Support Services of West Hawaii announced
that 2009 was the 30th anniversary of Family Support
Services, whose mission has been to support families and
communities in providing love and care for our children.
“I see the Fatherhood Initiative in its fifth year serving
another great need in our community,” Freed acknowledged, “and I
can see the day when it too will celebrate thirty years of
Mayor Billy Kenoi read a Proclamation from the County of Hawaii
acknowledging the designation of 2009 and the Year of the Family
by Governor Lingle and the Hawaii State Legislature and June,
2009 as “Father’s Month in Hawai‘i County.”
The Mayor also acknowledged the West Hawaii Fatherhood
Initiative, on behalf of the people of Hawai‘i County, for their
commitment and service to fathers over the last five years.
“Many programs spend lots of their time and energy planning ways
to engage the community,” commented the Mayor. “This program
spends its time actively engaging fathers, and that’s one of the
reasons I support this Fatherhood Initiative.”
The West Hawaii Fatherhood Initiative honored the Mayor with a
traditional pahu drum crafted by Kala Willis of
Drums of Keauhou in
appreciation of his continued support, dating back to his time
as the Executive Assistant under former Mayor Harry
Program coordinator Larry Ursua said, “The pahu is an appropriate gift
for the Mayor. The drum was a form of communication the
Hawaiians used to send important messages from one village to
another. The Mayor’s
message of Healthy Families for Healthy Communities will
continue to ring throughout our island.”
Several fathers received Certificates of Completion for their
participation in the program and their commitment to providing a
positive role model for their children and families.
The program concluded with a stirring hula performed by
Kupa‘aina, a group of the mentor fathers and their families.
Resource booths were available with information to families from
Hospital, The American Cancer Society,
and Malama I Na Keiki (a drug education program).
Bula Logan and his wife Miho Fukuda, MD, PhD. of Maui’s
Malama Na Pua, a Native Hawaiian health and wellness center,
were also there to display and educate families on the uses of
traditional Hawaiian medicinal herbs and healing practices.
From then on the outdoor activities were opened to the
attendees, which included mini golf, batting cages, Tsunami
Waterslide, a climbing wall, and the Keiki waterslide. Laughter
and joy filled the air the rest of the afternoon as wet fathers
and children cooled off in the water related activities. Chili
and rice, hot dogs, and lots of cold drinks to fight off
dehydration, were available to everyone.
Music was provided through out the day by another of the
program’s mentor fathers, Bryant Mock Chu and his band with
guest artist Nephi Brown also on hand to entertain the
The only negative comment was that many wished the event could
have gone past the 1:30pm closing.
“This looks like the beginning of a new trend for us,”
Ursua said. “We’ll be planning another event like this for next
year, only better.”