One of Hilo’s summer stapled return to the community this week. The Jimmy Yagi Vulcans basketball camp began nearly 40 years ago, but because of the pandemic it had not been run to full capacity since 2019. Last year, they held the camp but with a very limited number of participants.

It was a welcome sight for UH-Hilo’s head men’s basketball coach, Kaniela Aiona, to see over a hundred kids back in Pana’ewa Park Gym this week for the four day camp.

“Two things really stand out to me. One, like we said the legacy and the tradition. It’s been around for so long. Half of the coaches that we have coaching this camp, you know, the high school coaches, club coaches, or whoever it is that is coming in help us with coaching this group a lot of them came through this camp, myself included,” Aiona told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida, “That legacy is great for us to be able to continue for Coach Kaneshiro on the womens side and myself. We were both Vulcan campers, so that is a big deal. Then just the sense of community because seeing these familiar faces back in the gym and their parents are excited that they are back, their coaches. It really great for all involved to have this camp going again.”

Ever since taking the Vulcans job in 2020, Aiona has stressed what it means to return to his hometown. He and women’s head coach, David Kaneshiro, were once a camper when Coach Yagi was leading the youngsters, so to be able to carry on the tradition is special for him.

Aiona is entering his 3rd season at the helm of Hilo’s men’s program.