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Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. When Jack’s Diving Locker heard that Hawaii County schools would be doing remote learning, we knew we could potentially help in the learning process as well as help provide options for families most affected by the pandemic. Owner Jeff Leicher came across a CARES Act Grant that was aimed at helping the local community. He knew that even though times were tough for JDL, there was still so much we could offer. After making a few phone calls to partner with other Kona businesses, Jeff worked with the non-profit Malama Kai Foundation (MKF) to write a grant proposal. The hard work paid off as MKF was awarded over a quarter million dollars to offer scholarships to local kids for camps. MKF partnered with Jack’s Diving Locker and The Nakoa Foundation to run snorkel, scuba, and Hawaiian sailing and culture camps.
From September through December both JDL and The Nakoa Foundation were bustling with campers who were excited about their new learning opportunities. Now that our camps are done, we wanted to share with you some fun statistics from what was truly a memorable season!
- More than 265 individual kids participated.
- Between Jack’s Diving Locker and The Nakoa Foundation, the Malama Kai Foundation provided scholarships for 535 individual camp slots and an additional 55 DSD's. Many kids participated in more than one camp.
- JDL ran 56 camps from September through December, many weeks having multiple camps at a time.
- Breakdown of number of kids to each type of JDL camp:
- 52 kids participated in Keiki Sea Camp.
- 154 kids participated in 1 of 6 themes of Hawaii Sea Camp.
- 18 kids participated in PADI Seal Team or Master Seal Team.
- 81 kids participated in PADI Jr Open Water, PADI Jr Advanced Open Water, PADI Ocean Guardians, and PADI Rescue.
- JDL did 55 Discover Scuba Diving experiences in our on-site pool.
We are extremely proud and grateful for our hard-working crew during this time. Keeping this many kids safe, entertained, and educated is no small task! Instructors Toby and Casey each taught 10 camps. Katelynn came in a close 2nd with 9 camps. Countless other instructors taught multiple camps: Alli, David, Jeanne, Simone, Ron, Shannon, Matt, Zilla and Marina.
Camp included free breakfast and/or lunch and snacks provided by JDL’s Tiger Shark Deli. Whitney and Sam made countless breakfast sandwiches and bagels as well as kid and parent approved sandwiches and snacks.
Organizing the camps and campers was a dizzying task! Our JDL Education team took on this challenge, talking to every approved applicant and working with school schedules to accommodate each child. Alli, Jeanne and Angela were warriors of the spreadsheet! Day to day coordinating was no easy task. Elle coordinated classrooms, vehicles, pool time, instructors, gear up sessions and much more each week. Our retail team of Sheila, Shelby, Joe and Jimmy also provided day-to-day support. Most camps also included a day on the boat - so a big shout out to our exceptional boat captains.
And of course, we can’t forget the efforts of Jack’s Diving Locker owners, Jeff and Teri Leicher. Without their dreams and forward thinking none of this would have come to fruition.
A BIG MAHALO TO ALL THAT HELPED!!