Built to last

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Nahe Calderon, the only female Scout in Troop 148, is ready to help Kamalei Berg and other scouting volunteers paint the hale piko created by Berg as his Eagle Scout project on the campus of the Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Troop 148 Boy Scout Kamalei Berg applies paint to the eave facia of the hale piko he created as an Eagle Scout project, Sunday at the Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Troop 148 Boy Scout Mason Martinez helps Scoutmaster Lyle Tabata erect the scaffolding for painting the hale piko created by Eagle Scout candidate Kamalei Berg at the campus of the Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Ka piko hale constructed by Eagle Scout candidate Kamalei Berg sits at the turnaround at the Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Boy Scouts from Troop 148, including Michael Yoshioka, Mason Martinez, Kamalei Berg, Destry Shibuya, Kekai Calderon, Nahe Calderon, and Carlan Castillo prepare the paint for the hale piko created by Kamalei as his Eagle Scout project.

PUHI — The building has a big impact on the school, said Devi Berg, Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School student services coordinator and academic coach.

She is also the mother of Boy Scout Kamalei Berg of Troop 148 sponsored by the Lihue Christian Church, and was among the volunteers on the Kawaikini campus Sunday to finish the 20 feet by 50 feet structure as an Eagle Scout project by Kamalei.

“We have 160 students at Kawaikini, and everyone would meet each day under the tent for morning assembly, protocol, and getting the day started on the right foot,” she said. “On rainy days, it would get muddy and the tents would fly away in the wind. This piko hale is covered with a roof, and with its cement floor and tile columns, the students are pretty safe from the wind and rain.”

Kamalei said planning for the hale started in March. He got help from his dad Jordan Berg, who owns and operates a masonry business, and Wendall Bandman.

“We took out the final permits on the day Kawaikini held its year-end hoike,” Kamalei said. “We worked on it through the summer break, and by the time school started, the hale was ready for students to use in their morning protocol. We’re just taking advantage of the fall break to finish painting and do other final touches. This has got to be one of the biggest Eagle projects on Kauai.”

Troop 148 Scoutmaster Lyle Tabata agreed.

“The hale is used for a lot of activities beside the morning assembly,” Devi said. “The papa mele students use this place to practice for their competition, and the health classes have yoga, here. This piko hale definitely impacts the school.”

Kamalei said the cost for constructing the open air hale came in at $14,500 excluding labor costs.

“I wrote a lot of letters,” Kamalei said. “I wrote to local businesses, individuals, and everyone I knew. We are grateful for all the support we got from all those people who just gave what they could afford.”

Among the volunteers, Nahe Calderon is only female in Troop 138, and one of the few female Boy Scouts on Kauai.

“When we went to the first meeting after females were allowed to join the Boy Scouts, there were three of us,” Nahe said. “But one quit, and the other stopped coming to meetings. Right now, there’s just myself, and I’m getting ready for my Board of Review that comes up soon.”

The other scouts in the troop have been helpful as she aims to qualify for her rank.

“When I joined, I was being bullied at school,” Nahe said. “My brother Kekai is a Boy Scout and he suggested I check out Boy Scouts to help with that problem. I learned about motivation and all of the other scouts are so good and very helpful. I feel that I have learned and grown in just the short time I’ve been a scout. I’m glad I listened to my brother.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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