Kendama Tourney Aids Kapiolani

Luke and Logan Henderson (sitting at left) watch as participants perform tricks at their recent kendama tournament | Nathalie Walker photo

Luke and Logan Henderson (sitting at left) watch as participants perform tricks at their recent kendama tournament | Nathalie Walker photo

Kendamas continue to be a popular activity in Hawaii, with events happening regularly throughout the island. So when 11-year-old Luke Henderson and his 9-year-old brother Logan were brainstorming ideas for their annual fundraiser for Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network, they decided to organize a kendama tournament.

Through fliers, word of mouth, social media and email blasts, more than 100 people showed up at Paradise Soccer Club in Kailua where the tournament took place, and more than 60 people entered.

They also received numerous donations and support from friends and local businesses, which they say is really what made it all possible.

“It started pretty small until we went to Paradise Soccer Club and asked the owner, Max Anton, for kendama donations, and he said sure and that it also would be OK for us to do the tournament at his shop,” explains Logan.

The brothers, who are both homeschooled and live with parents Jenelle and Darrin in Kailua, also received pizza from Whole Foods, breadsticks from Papa John’s, gift cards from Zippy’s, a handmade pill kendama from a friend, two Sweets kendamas from Paradise Soccer Club and gift certificates from d.k. Steak House and Sansei.

“It was a lot of work, but we learned that people are willing to help us,” adds Logan. “We exceeded our expectations. We only thought we were going to raise $500, but we raised $720.”

This was the fourth fundraiser Luke and Logan organized. The first one was a lemonade stand in a neighbor’s yard where they sold the drink for just 25 cents per cup and raised $125.

The next year, they decided to take their stand to one of their Kailua Little League baseball games, adding refreshments such as Spam musubi and Rice Krispie treats. They raised more than $200, and decided to do it again the next year, raising $400.

This year, they took a break from baseball, which is why they wanted to try something different. And while it can be tempting to keep the money for themselves, they help remind each other of the reason they’re doing this to begin with.

“My mom read us this book about a lady who had cancer, and her students had a lemonade stand to raise money for her cancer treatments,” recalls Logan. “So we thought it would be good for us to do that too. At first we weren’t going to donate the money. We were going to keep it and buy Legos or do something else with it. But my mom said, do you really need all this stuff or can you donate it?

“We decided to donate it to Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network because we were both born (at Kapiolani), and we thought it would be good to give back to the community and keep it in Hawaii.”

“Also, our friend (who has been sick) goes to Kapiolani Medical Center, and last year we donated the money in his name, and we did it again this year,” adds Luke. “Some people donate to other charities, but we donate it to charities that help sick people.”