By Yvette Slagle, Outreach Assistant
This weekend, several people from the Pacific Quest team volunteered at the 4th Annual Keiki Fishing Tournament at Punalu’u Beach Park, which is a famous black sand beach approximately 11 miles from our camp. The event was hosted by ‘O Ka’u Kakou, and Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program was one of many sponsors. Volunteers arrived as the sun rose over the ocean; just in time to help with registration and set up for the day’s activities. Approximately 300 kids, between the ages of one and fourteen participated in the catch and release tournament where all the children left with a prize. To get things started, the game warden announced the rules over a microphone along with a brief statement about the importance of spending time with family, being responsible stewards of the land and ocean, and the meaning of aloha. He called it “having the attitude of gratitude.”
Then the kids were given a bamboo fishing pole with bait and a bucket, and they set out with their families to find a fishing spot along the coast. Excitement filled the air! Special volunteers in charge of documenting the catch were scattered along the beach and coastline wearing yellow reflective vests. Each time someone caught a fish, a volunteer would verify the size and species and then help with the release. After two hours of fishing, lunch was served for everyone, and there was even shave ice and a local band. After the volunteers huddled to compare results of the day’s catch, awards were given for a variety of categories including biggest fish, most caught, most colorful, and even the ugliest fish! Pacific Quest wilderness program looks forward to continue promoting family events like these, and we are grateful to all the staff that took time to help make this a lasting memory for the kids.