It's a popular program that teaches kids aged 13 to 18 important skills such as CPR, first aid application, ocean skills and more: the Junior Lifeguard program. Unfortunately, its funding has been cut by the City and County of Honolulu.
"A tough decision," said Shayne Enright, Ocean Safety spokeswoman. "It comes down to, do we have the bodies? We need to staff the towers and that's what we're doing."
But as a lifeguard would spring into action, so too did retired Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Administrator Ralph Goto. Goto called his friends at Na Kama Kai and Kama Aina Kids, and together they picked up where the city left off.
The Hawaii Lifeguard Association and the two other non-profits coordinated efforts with the City and County to host eight different sessions on Oahu this summer. They asked retired and off-duty lifeguards if they would be willing to volunteer.
"We're looking at taking a loss this year, or breaking even," said Waterman and Na Kama Kai Founder and CEO Duane DeSoto. "But we're hoping with the growth next year we can make it something that's perpetual."
While the hope of is to keep the program going, the goal is to perpetuate the knowledge.
"Being an island surrounded by the ocean, we're constituted by it," DeSoto said. "We need to provide this knowledge. We need to share it and give it to the community."