LA Clippers in the Community
The Los Angeles Clippers were in Honolulu where they have held their preseason training camp for the past three years. There has been extensive coverage of the team's practice and play over the past week against the Houston Rockets and the Shanghai Sharks but I want to share with you some of the things that the Clippers have been doing off the court with Hawaii Tourism’s assistance.
A while back, the Clippers asked for our help in identifying a local public school that could benefit from a charitable donation from the organization. After hearing the Clippers' criteria, I immediately thought of Central Middle School and suggested them as an ideal fit. Last week Friday, I joined Central Middle School Principal Anne Marie Murphy and LA Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker as they unveiled a new technology and innovation hub at the Honolulu middle school. The team donated iPads, virtual reality headsets, and 3D printers that will surely help to prepare Central Middle School's students for the hi-tech job market of today.
If this wasn't enough, the Clippers also decided at the very last minute to rehabilitate the Central Middle School basketball courts. When the team arrived at the school to begin outfitting the tech hub, Zucker noticed the nearby court in disrepair. She and her team made sure that the work to patch pieces of the concrete and install new rims, backboards, and nets were done within 48 hours!
Check out this video that was posted on the Clippers' Facebook page.
On Saturday, The Clippers hosted a full day of skills clinics at Klum Gym. Kids ranging from ages 6-14 from around the state all got a chance to hone their skills under the watchful eyes of the Clippers' coaching staff. A special coaches clinic was also conducted. My deepest thanks to the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and their President Chris Tatum for providing us with the funding necessary to invite a large contingent of neighbor island players to O'ahu to reap the benefits of the LA Clippers' skills clinics. HLTA was proud to make arrangements for players from Moloka'i, Lana'i, Maui, Kaua'i, and Hawai'i Island to travel here to take part in this unique opportunity and made sure that all parts of O’ahu were represented at the clinic for the first time.
Charity Walk Check Presentations
I've been grateful to once again visit with some of our outstanding Charity Walk organizations. The two mentioned in my message this week have been strong participants over the past several years and their causes have truly reaped the benefits.
Adult Friends for Youth's mission is to halt violence in an effort to strengthen families and make communities safer. Their model focuses on several core programs which include: Neighborhood Outreach; School-Centered Counseling; Clinical C-Base Alternative Education Program and Student Anti-Bullying and Violence Conventions; and the PEARL (Promoting Peace, Empathy, Acceptance, Respect, and Love). Adult Friends for Youth serves more than 300 youth per week, many of whom have been engaged in destructive behaviors like substance abuse, fighting, and other criminal activities.
Corvette Center Ministries is based in Wai'anae and works closely with the homeless population in that area. This year, they received significant funds that will support their Zion 'Ipuka program which is a housing initiative that provides qualified applicants with a private living space, bedding, and some furniture. The residents, many of whom are elderly, share common areas including bathroom and kitchen facilities on the 2-acre property. Zion 'Ipuka members pay whatever they can afford and also maintain the property.
Mahalo to Adult Friends for Youth and Corvette Center Ministries for all that they do.
West Maui Committee Meeting
Last Tuesday, I was invited to the West Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee Meeting by Committee Chair Kai Nishiki and Maui County Council Chair Kelly King to speak on the topic of economic opportunity through innovation and collaboration via the visitor industry both on Maui and throughout the rest of the state. I deem these opportunities so important that, when having discussions centered around tourism management, visitor industry and local stakeholders MUST be at the table.
My presentation focused on eight points that are key to managing tourism that include: contributions through charitable initiatives; community engagement; affordable housing and the adoption and enforcement of local transient vacation rental laws; transportation; environment and natural resources; native Hawaiian culture; homelessness; and tourism strategic plans.
In closing, I shared some of my experiences and the takeaways that I gleaned while enacting the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Initiative in the mid-1990's. These range from a willingness to consider all points of view to how to effectively use entrance fees to improve and maintain a specific natural resource.
I also held a Q&A session, and a positive and meaningful discourse ensued that I enjoyed immensely.
HLTA Kaua'i Malama Awards
Each year, HLTA’s Kaua‘i Chapter hosts their Mālama Awards which recognizes Kaua‘i HLTA members and the Garden Isle's exceptional visitor industry employees who make Kaua‘i a top-tier destination. Jared Higashi represented me at their 22nd annual event at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i. My warmest congratulations to all of the individuals who were recognized .
I would like to give special recognition to HLTA Kaua‘i Chapter Executive Director Morgan Lopez and the Mālama Awards Planning Committee which includes Denise Wardlow, Jim Braman, Sandi Kato Klutke, and Shaun Borges. Finally, a special shout out to former Chapter President Paul Toner, and Kaua‘i Chapter President Dan King who hosted the event at his hotel.
Generational Membership Meeting
While the normal registration period has closed, you can still register to join us for our 192nd General Membership Meeting! We are less than two weeks away and I hope that you will be able to join us.
There has been a heavy focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness across the industry as of late. Staying true to this theme, on Friday evening at GMM, Hawai'i County Councilmember Rebecca Villegas will be hosting a fashion show that will showcase DIY fashion ideas that incorporate recycled materials into their creation. We encourage HLTA members who will be attending to keep in mind the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra and to show up wearing their finest "trashion" attire.
For some inspiration, please check out the photos below.
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