Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Pahoa Girl Selected Youth of the Year

Meghan McGrath

Pahoa's Meghan McGrath

Being well rounded through sports participation, academics and community service are important ingredients that lead to being a productive leader in society.

    The Boys and Girls Club certainly felt the same way when they selected Meghan McGrath to be the recipient of Big Island Youth of the Year.

    During a recent open house to showcase the BGCBI Hilo Clubhouse renovations McGrath was honored in a formal ceremony.

    McGrath, a sophomore at Pahoa High School, is on the tennis team and has been taking the martial art of Kempo in Hawaiian Paradise Park for over a year.

    “I like the challenge of sports participation and both tennis and Kempo are a lot of fun,” McGrath said.

   “Taking Kempo classes teaches me self-defense and it’s a good workout with a lot of nice people. I will be testing for my blue belt next month,” she said.

   McGrath is enrolled in Pahoa’s gifted and talented classes and has been involved in numerous school activities which include her involvement in fundraising events, organizing the Homecoming Ball and various activities for Spirit Week.

   “Meghan is very outgoing and very mature for her age,” Pahoa BGC Director, Rose Bricker, said.  “She’s really good with younger kids and is very deserving of this award.”  

   McGrath has been a member of the Pahoa Unit of the BGCBI since its inception in 2004.  While with the club McGrath has taken a leading role in helping to facilitate prevention programs for younger youth.

   The Dagger helps with planning the Kick Butts Day rally for both her school and the club and she is a member of the Keystone Club, a leadership group that devotes much of their time to community service.

   “I like giving back to the community.  We did a beach cleanup at Pohiki and we counted everything we pickup and the amount we picked up.  It feels good to see the community clean and it helps to make a difference,” McGrath said.

   Four other BGCBI members were recognized as Youth of the Year from their club.  Carrisa Vallente, Pa’auilo; Sean Tamosan, Hilo; Bree-Ani Valez, Oceanview, and Konnor Kanetani from Keaau, with McGrath being selected for the Big Island Youth of the Year award.

   Before and after the presentation of the Big Island Youth of the Year award dozens of members and former members took a look at the $1.8 million in renovations done at the Hilo Club House.

Russell Hayashi
Russell Hayashi

Former BGCBI member Russell Hayashi who serves on the BGCBI board of directors was impressed with the many changes done at the clubhouse.

   “I was a member of the Boys Club from 1958 to 1963,” Hayashi said.  “”There wasn’t much to do in Hilo back then and the club afforded me the opportunity to play sports.”

   Through the Boys Club, Hayashi played Little League baseball and in 1961 was on the Boys Club team that made it all the way to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to play in the Little League World Series.

   “The Boys Club was an important aspect of my life, it helped in my developmental stage and it led to me going on to play baseball in high school and college,” he said.

   Hayashi also sits on the board of the Exchange Club and chaired the committee that brought the “Freedom Shrine” to the BGCBI which showcases 30 American Historical Documents.

Walter in front of tsunami map
Bill Walter

Also on hand was another former Boys Club member who now serves as the “Chief Volunteer Officer,” Bill Walter.

   “I was in the Boys Club back in 1957 when the club was located on Front Street,” Walter said.

“The dues back then to be a member was $5 per year and today its $10 per year as we keep it affordable so that anyone can join,” he said.

   Walter talked about how the 1960 tsunami destroyed the original club house and how the community rallied to support the building of a new club house at its current location on Haili Street.

   “After the tsunami people were giving donations and by 1962 our current facility was built. The people of Hilo are very generous and responded well in time of need,” Walter said.

   In 2005 Walter joined the BGCBI board saying, “You always want to give back and this is a wonderful organization that provides activities to our youth that are life oriented and training oriented.”

   “The BGCBI puts its focus on the kids through learning activities and in providing a safe place.  We also are providing coverage for the recent teacher furlough Fridays at no cost to our members.  We are following our mission of taking care of kids,” Walter concluded.

   For more information about the Boys and Girls Clubs on the Big Island contact Kalani Silva, chief professional officer, at 557-9001 or email at Kalani@bgcbi.com.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment