A Leeward Beach League For Kids

Aloha Beach Volleyball volunteer coaches Jordan and Rusti Cripps, Dennis Le, Kaydee Yukawa, Chase and Shea Suzumoto, Kelli Yoshimura, Bert Hayashi, Perlas Bardouche, Keoki Shupe and Diana McKibbin. Photo from Rod Suzumoto

Rod Suzumoto and Diana McKibbin wanted to spike some interest in the sport of volleyball, particularly beach volleyball and with children, so they partnered up to launch Aloha Beach Volleyball earlier this year. The group meets on the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Maili Beach Park, and is open to youths age 7 to 17 of all skill levels, though anyone is invited to join.

About 25 to 40 participants have been showing up for their events, along with a great support team of volunteer coaches including those pictured here.

After many years of coaching volleyball, including 15 at Punahou School, McKibbin has always wanted to give back to the community.

“It’s something that has been tugging at my heart, to work with underprivileged kids who don’t have the support financially or from family,” she says.

The City and County provides permits for the group to set up its nets at the park, and Suzumoto says they hope to eventually transition from grass to the sand and maybe even one day have sand courts at Maili Beach.

“We created this program to provide an affordable and sustainable physical fitness program using beach volleyball as one of our activities for the children to fight child obesity and other health-related concerns for the Leeward communities,” adds Suzumoto. “We provide basic volleyball skills training, and our goal is to ensure everyone has fun while learning and exercising.”

Suzumoto’s 19-year-old son Chase, who serves as co-director, says the program has been rewarding for not only the children, but for the volunteers too. “I just enjoy seeing how the kids look forward to coming and seeing them develop not only as volleyball players but as individuals,” he says. “It’s a good feeling to see them coming back and enjoying it, and hopefully we can continue to give back to the community and the volleyball world.”

For more information, visit the Aloha Beach Volleyball Club Facebook page.