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Paddle for Health

Maui Canoe Club launches new program.

January 26, 2012
The Maui Weekly

Maui Canoe Club has begun a new program in partnership with University of Hawai'i Maui College (UHMC). As a result of the efforts of Maui Canoe Club (MCC) member and UHMC Professor Dr. Rafael Boritzer, UHMC has embarked on an applied research project called "Incentivizing Health Behavior Changes of at-Risk Populations on Maui: What Works?" The project, which will be commonly known as "Live Life Aloha," is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

MCC will host a special launch of the new Live Life Aloha program on Sugar Beach in Kihei on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 9 a.m., with a blessing of the canoes, demonstration of their use, canoe paddling outings, food and entertainment. Members of the community, all canoe clubs on Maui and Live Life Aloha program participants are invited to attend.

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa and other dignitaries from the county, college and state will be in attendance for the new program's inaugural event.

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Maui Canoe Club will host a special launch of the new Live Life Aloha program at their facility on Sugar Beach in Kihei on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 9 a.m.

The goal of Live Life Aloha is to help find an answer to First Lady Michelle Obama's concerns regarding how to engage the obese and at-risk population in meaningful physical exercise, thereby reducing the potential of costly and debilitating chronic illness. The Live Life Aloha program will attempt to bring this at-risk population to a state of physical and emotional well-being by utilizing a key element of the Hawaiian culture-paddling outrigger canoes.

Although the canoes normally used by clubs are not designed to accommodate participants who are full-figured, MCC has recently taken possession of three special canoes built by Hawaiian canoe master craftsman Sonny Bradley.

"The canoes are identical to several in the club's fleet-with one major difference," said MCC Vice President Michael Elam. "These canoes have been specially configured to allow current Maui Canoe Club members to train and paddle together with the at-risk participants."

MCC will provide paddling sessions for Live Life Aloha paddlers every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. during a yearlong research period. This program is open to all Maui residents at an annual cost of $1. As full members of MCC, the Live Life Aloha paddlers are also welcome to paddle during all of the club's sessions, seven days per week.

"The Maui Canoe Club board of directors believes that our club is an ideal setting for the delivery of the Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling aspects of this program," said Elam. "We are especially excited about the idea of participating in a paddling program for individuals who would otherwise have never enjoyed the ocean from the seat of a Hawaiian outrigger canoe."

At the conclusion of the one-year-long Live Life Aloha research program, the three canoes, Endeavor, Challenger and Discovery, will remain with the club as part of its fleet.

UHMC marketing students are implementing a comprehensive community health marketing and recruitment campaign directed towards the at-risk population on campus and throughout Maui County.

For more information, visit livelifealoha.org/live.htm.

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