Get ready for summer fun with Kamaaina Kids

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It’s time for summer fun with Kamaaina Kids. 

Through their lease of Heeia State Park, they’re able to offer a variety of waterfront programs. Kamaaina Kids offer boating and ocean safety as well as kayak and sailing instructional programs for local keiki.

The group has their summer day camp waterfront program, which gets over 2000 local keiki out on the bay and out to the sandbar each summer to learn paddling, sailing, and ocean safety.

They offer educational eco-tours and kayak and snorkel rentals to kids of all ages. They are also certified to teach the State’s boating safety awareness course, which is required by law in Hawaii for anybody operating a powerboat.

“The State of Hawaii leases some of its state parks to awarded lessees in order to manage,” said Kamaaina Kids President Ray Sanborn. “This model is really a win-win for everybody involved because the State doesn’t have to provide any budget, funding, staffing, or resources towards the maintenance, upkeep, and restoration of the park and its facilities.”

According to Sanborn, the lessee does those things. In return, the lessee is allowed to run certain programs and activities in order to fund the park.

In 2010, the lease for Heeia State Park became available. The group’s first ever waterfront program for local kids was run from Heeia State Park’s waterfront in 1987.

“We wanted to manage the park,” Sanborn said. “So we could make it a better resource for the community and offer our programs regularly from the park’s waterfront. So, we submitted a proposal to the State for how we would manage it, how we would fund it, and the State of Hawaii accepted our proposal and awarded Kamaaina Kids a 25-year lease.”

“The waterfront programs that we are able to offer from Heeia, including our summer day camp program, actually don’t fund the State Park at all. In our lease with the State of Hawaii, we specified two ways that we could generate revenue to fund the park.”

Sanborn says that one is by managing Heeia State Park’s banquet hall reservations. The banquet hall has been an awesome community resource for decades as a venue that can accommodate up to 300 people for weddings, birthday parties, baby luaus, graduations, banquets, etc. But that only represents a small percentage of the revenue necessary to fund the park.

The majority comes from our educational eco-tour activities and being able to offer waterfront activities to locals and visitors of all ages.

“This not only enables us as a nonprofit organization to single-handedly fund and manage the State Park, but it makes possible all the programs we are able to offer for keiki,” said Sanborn. 

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