Importance of Community Service: ‘Giveback Day’ at OluKai Ho’olaule’a

Have you ever participated in a big event that included a component of community service? Recently, a cool paddling competition in Hawaii caught my eye, but it wasn’t the winners of the race that I was struck by. What interested me the most was Giveback Day, a day after the race was over where workers and competitors came together in a sanctioned day of community service. In an effort to preserve the environmental beauty of Hawaii as well as respect the ancient cultural tradition, I think Giveback Day was pretty cool!

OluKai Ho'olaule'a SUP Competitors 2015 Photo by Mark Kushimi

The 7th annual OluKai Hoʻolauleʻa is a three-day ocean festival that took place May 1-3, 2015. It’s a stand-up paddling competition (think paddling boarding with tons of speed) that brought tons of athletes from all over the world. The international event is one of the most elite races for this sport in the world. Have you ever been paddle boarding? Just balancing is hard enough, let alone racing!

OluKai Ho'olaule'a Travis Grant 2 by Erik Aeder

After scoring some worldwide titles, the participants put down their boards and headed into the Hawaii jungles to help out The Ama OluKai Foundation, which supports programs that focus on educating and serving Hawaii’s communities. They partner with organizations that:

OluKai Ho'olaule'a Giveback Day 2015 Taro Planting 3

  • Focus on developing quality communities and individuals in Hawaii.
  • Preserve Hawaii’s rich traditions and historical lessons, with emphasis on the arts, sciences, language, customs, morals, physical activities and educational outreach.
  • Perpetuate the aloha spirit.

OluKai Ho'olaule'a Giveback Day 2015 Floral Crown Making Photo by Mark Kushimi

I’ve been to Hawaii plenty of times and it’s easy to lose the spirit of the islands with tourists constantly going back and forth. I’m glad to hear groups like these are using the opportunity to help preserve the special islands. Next time I visit Hawaii I’m going to try and do some service projects!

Giveback Day benefitted Maui’s Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge Project. The day officially launched the new Ama OluKai Foundation which strives to support the efforts of those who preserve local cultures and traditions.

How important do you think community service is?

OluKai Ho'olaule'a Giveback Day 2015 Team at Waihe'e Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge Photo by Mark Kushimi

Photos: Ama OluKai Foundation, Erik Aeder, Mark Kushimi

PrintBy Elizabeth Adan

Elizabeth Adan is a Freelance Writer, Publicist and Brand Ambassador. Her blog Aquaberry Bliss is a unique outdoor lifestyle blog dedicated to expanding your world and inspiring your creativity. When Elizabeth isn’t traveling, you’ll find her writing, hiking or gardening. Find Elizabeth on Twitter @stillaporcupine and on LinkedIn.

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