Canoe paddling class openings

There is still time for Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School students to sign up for a new after-school program that will teach canoe paddling with the Kaiola Canoe Club in Niumalu.

This three-year program is being funded by a grant from the state Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. Kauai Economic Opportunity (KEO) is organizing it, the first of its kind on the island.

Members of Kaiola Canoe Club will volunteer their time and the canoes to get the program started.

Learning the teamwork and leadership skills associated with Hawaiian outrigger canoeing can help create a healthy lifestyle and redirect the energy that might be used doing drugs, into something worthwhile and positive.

“This is going to be a great way for the kids to do something after school,” said Ellen Augustine Schwartz, program director from KEO.

This after-school project is sure to have positive effects, Schwartz said. There are three facets to the program: 1- homework help and tutoring; 2- life skills training, including looking at the bigger picture of how decisions affect a person’s life; and 3- participating in the canoe club three days a week.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students will go on excursions and listen to guest speakers. Participants will also learn about Hawaiian culture and will build their own canoe paddles from wood donated by a Kaiola Canoe Club member.

For kids whose parents work later hours, KEO will offer transportation via their two vans.

KEO is a nonprofit, community action agency that provides programs in employment training, meditation, nutrition, business development, emergency aid, transitional housing, early learning centers and homeless and immigrant services.

Enrollment in the after-school program is free, but students must be at least 12 years old. Priority will be given to those who are normally unsupervised after school from 1:30 – 6 p.m. There is a limit of 30 applicants per session. Session I will run from Sept. 16 – December. Session II will cover January – June 2003. Session III will go through the summer of 2003.

Applications are available at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School’s front office; KEO, 2804 Wehe Road, Lihu’e; or by calling 245-4077.

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