NAWILIWILI — Friday marked the end of the week-long Keiki &Junior Lifeguard Program at the Kalapaki Beach in Nawiliwili.
“Fridays are always the highlight day of the week,” said Junior Lifeguard Instructor Tyrus Siale. “The kids always look forward to Friday.”
But with school beckoning — the first day of class for students is on Aug 1 — Friday marked the final day of the 2022 Keiki &Junior Lifeguard Program, a free program open to all Kaua‘i Keiki between 8 through 11 years old, and Juniors from age 12 through 17.
Traditionally, the final day is usually the Kaua‘i Island Finals that determines the team that will travel to the state championships. The tradition was broken when COVID-19 decided it would come to Kaua‘i. The high competition at the state championships, this year being held at the Ala Moana Park on July 30, is whittled back to be a fun meet.
“We tried,” Siale said. “But there was too much movement with the pandemic. Instead, each week was its own championship, and we added an extra week at Kalapaki Beach.”
The Keiki and Junior Lifeguard Program demonstrates Ocean Safety awareness and lifesaving skills taught by Kaua‘i’s Ocean Safety Bureau Instructors that also provide extra ocean-related knowledge such as teamwork, problem solving, and more. The Friday meeting brings the highlight competitive activities to the forefront, such as Beach Flags, and, on Friday, a ride on the jetski.
At the program’s start, Ocean Safety Bureau leaders worried about getting 90 students.
Instead, they were greeted with sold-out classes for the five week tour that started at Salt Pond on June 13.
“That’s about a hundred people each week,” said Jaime Arreola, an avid Ocean Safety Bureau lifeguard supporter. “Five hundred people! That’s a lot of people learning, and having fun!”
The Keiki and Junior Lifeguard program is sponsored in part by the County of Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, the Hawai‘i Tourism Association, and many generous sponsors that care about Kaua‘i’s youth.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island