LIHUE — This is not about what the kids can do for us, but what we can do for the kids, said Teddy Arroyo on Saturday at Isenberg Field.
Arroyo is the commissioner for the Kauai Pop Warner Association, which hosted a free speed and quickness clinic for football players from all five associations.
More than 260 youth and coaches took advantage of the free day.
“This is all about keeping the kids safe,” Arroyo said. “There is an emphasis on concussions at the high school level, and it’s only a matter of time before it gets to our level. We’re being pro-active and getting the kids trained now.”
In addition to the speed and quickness drills, a tackling practice with emphasis on preventing head and neck injuries was added.
Additionally, Kauai Police Department Sgt. Rod Green presented a program on drug awareness and gang resistance.
“This is the age where things like this affect the youth,” Arroyo said. “Billy DeCosta and myself even did a skit on bullying, one of the hot topics in school.”
Kauai Pop Warner Association has been doing a lot to help the youngsters stay active and have fun, Arroyo said.
“This year, for the first time, we’ve expanded the clinic to include the cheerleaders,” he said. “Plus, after the clinic, the kids can have fun on the inflatables, which were provided by Tahina’s Tasty Treats, Kimo and Carly Balino. We also feed them lunch. It’s all for free. It’s an opportunity for everyone to come together as one.”
He said in answer to parents’ concern about the rising costs of playing football, the Kauai Pop Warner Association worked hard to keep registration fees reasonable.
“Dr. Reid Tamanaha of the Kauai Medical Clinic provided free physicals for the student-athletes in order to help out,” Arroyo said. “There are a lot of things we’re doing to keep our youth healthy and occupied.”
Pam Arroyo, Kauai Pop Warner Association president, said this year’s Pop Warner Jamboree is scheduled at Hanapepe Stadium on Aug. 31, starting at 8 a.m.
Lilane Corpuz serves as KPWA vice president/treasurer, Sherri Agosto is the KPWA cheer coordinator, Taylor Hood is the secretary and Millie Ah Hee is the scholastic chair.
“We want to take this to the next level,” Arroyo said.
Dereck Borrero, former Kauai High School coach, was in his element, his voice getting hoarse from barking commands.
“This feels good to be back with the boys, again,” Borrero said. “Next year, we should have this as a combine where all of the players can be measured and recorded. It’s so exciting to see the kids get excited about the game.”
Kauai Pop Warner Association includes associations in Kapaa, Lihue, Koloa, Hanapepe and Kekaha.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.