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Retreat to Keanae – A New Chapter for Camp Imua



Since 1976, Camp Imua has been a place where children ages 6 to16 with a range of special needs can enjoy a week-long recreational experience allowing them to be themselves in a supportive and inclusive environment free from judgment.  Approximately 60 campers accompanied by 120 high school student counselors along with other volunteers and the Imua staff came together to make Camp Imua possible.  Over the years, thousands of island keiki have enjoyed going to camp as well as thousands of high school students who gave a week of their summer break to help those who would otherwise not be able to enjoy a camp experience.


This year with the move to Keanae, Camp Imua began a new chapter and allowed for an expanded program which included Hawaiian cultural activities.  In the past, the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel provided a luau dinner for the closing day event, however this year, campers were tasked with the preparation of the luau. Food and supplies were still donated by the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, however, campers were involved in preparing an imu to roast a pig, making leis and learned about pounding kalo (taro) to make poi with the help of Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike.

The activities gave campers a sense of accomplishment and an insight of how early Hawaiians lived. The Keanae Peninsula still grows kalo in fields which are located just below the YMCA Camp Keanae.

“Moving the entire Camp Imua experience to Keanae gave us a unique opportunity to incorporate new experiences for our campers and counselors and to invite new volunteers to experience the joy of Camp Imua, such as the Hana Canoe Club, Uncle George Kahumoku, Jr. and Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike.  What a blessing to be brought into their cultural sharing and teaching. Just because our kids have special needs does not mean they should be excluded from a cultural learning experience.” – Executive Director, Dean Wong.

Activities still included the regular fun activities like horseback riding, swimming, surfing, kayaking, hiking, arts & crafts, music, dance, tumbling, an ice cream social, a glow dance party, concerts, a talent show, outdoor movies and everyone’s favorite, a helicopter tour!


The Retreat to Keanae was a great success – creating happy memories for both campers and volunteers alike and gave parents and caregivers a much needed break.  Imua staff are already working on planning for next year’s Camp Imua experience and which will hopefully exceed the fun had this year.


The staff at Imua Family Services would like to say a big mahalo to Pacific HelicoptersPacific Helicopter Tours, Deep Relief//Peak PerformanceHyatt Regency Maui Resort & SpaRoy’s Ka’anapaliThe Westin Maui Resort and SpaMarriott’s Maui Ocean ClubKa’anapali Beach HotelHana Canoe ClubJillian’s Piiholo StablesAssistance Dogs of HawaiiMaui School of Therapeutic MassageGeorge Kahumoku JrUncle Wayne and the Howling Dog BandPono Pies/Maui Breadfruit CompanyBank of the West and Minit Medical.

We would also like to say mahalo to the volunteers and athletes from Bluesmiths Paddle Imua, the Seattle Foundation, the Kind Heart Free Spirit Foundation, the Friends of Hawaii Charities, the Alexander Tulloch Trust, the NFL Foundationthe Nabavi Legacy Fund, the Wailea Community Foundation and the Hawaii Community Foundation – the Kent & Polli Smith Foundation and for all the awesome individual fundraisers for their generous support!

You help to make Camp Imua the Happiest Place on Maui!

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