Stand up for island youth at the first annual Paddle Imua Fundraiser and 'Ohana Festival on Saturday, May 5. The "everyone's welcome," multi-paddle discipline fun race will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Maliko Gulch Downwind Run and end at the Hawaiian Canoe Club Hale in Kahului, where the festival will take place during and after the race.
Proceeds from Paddle Imua will benefit Imua Family Services' Camp Imua, an annual program that takes place in June at Camp Maluhia in the West Maui Mountains. For one week, 50 special needs campers and more than 100 volunteers come together for a week of crafts, games, swimming, helicopter rides and general fun, while making new friends and catching up with old. Camp Imua 2012 is scheduled for June 8 through 15.
"The week of Camp Imua is magical for the campers and youth volunteers who attend," said Camp Imua Director Maile John. "Our special campers enjoy a week of exploring their limitless potential in a supportive environment where everyone sees past medical labels."
The first annual Paddle Imua Fundraiser and ‘Ohana Festival will be held on Saturday, May 5. The “everyone’s welcome,” multi-paddle discipline fun race will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Maliko Gulch Downwind Run and end at the Hawaiian Canoe Club Hale in Kahului, where the festival will take place during and after the race. Proceeds from Paddle Imua will benefit Imua Family Services’ Camp Imua, an annual special needs program that takes place in June at Camp Maluhia in the West Maui Mountains.
Photo: Tracy Craft Leboe
In addition, she said, "Our youth volunteers come away from the week with a newfound insight and compassion for their peers with special needs, and the realization that we all are unique but also have so much in common."
Registration and check-in will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Maliko Gulch, and the race will begin promptly at 1 p.m. During the race, the community is invited to take part in the 'Ohana Festival, which will feature games and activities for keiki, as well as food and beverages from Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Flatbread Company, Whole Foods, Kona Red and Maui Brewing Company. There will also be live music and entertainment by Indio Kuali'i, Gene and Makana Argell and other special guest performers.
The daylong event will conclude with an awards presentation at 4:30 p.m., as well as prize giveaways and two grand prize drawings for an official SIC racing standup paddleboard and a pair of roundtrip tickets on Alaska Airlines. Trophies will be given to the top three finishers in each division (for specific race or division information, visit the event site at www.imuafamilyservices.org).
"Paddle Imua is an extremely exciting venture for us here at Imua Family Services," said Executive Director Dean Wong. "We're really trying to transform the organization of 65 historic years and create a physical embodiment of the Hawaiian word "imua" [to move forward], since "Paddle Imua" is meant to help move our agency forward literally. One of the unique aspects of this water competition on Maui is that the competitors will be given the opportunity to mix and mingle with our special needs children of Camp Imua at the finish of the race and give the kids some water sports exposure and opportunity."
Online registration for Paddle Imua is now available. Registration is $50 (if received on or before Tuesday, May 1); $60 if received after May 1; and $70 on the day of the event. All race fees include race entry, food, refreshments and paddle and event T-shirts from the event's title sponsor, Bluesmiths, LLC.
For more information about Imua Family Services, visit www.imuafamilyservices.org or call (808) 244-7467. For race logistics, contact Hawaiian Canoe Club Executive Director Kaimana Brummel at (808) 893-2124. To learn more about Camp Imua or the Paddle Imua event, contact Maile John at (808) 244-7567, ext. 240, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.