YMCA Of Honolulu holds 150th anniversary dinner
KANEOHE, Hawaii -
The YMCA of Honolulu capped off a year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary with a Ho'olaulea benefit dinner at the Ko'olau Ballrooms on Saturday. More than 600 supporters attended the celebration where guests were treated to a variety of activities and displays including smoothie making bikes, creation of a Youth Inspiration Panel, 20 panel historic exhibit, a 12-minute historical documentary film and published booklet, and the special recognition of 17 individuals and families who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to advancing the YMCA of Honolulu's mission over the past 150 years - all capped off with the famous YMCA dance!
All proceeds from the dinner, silent auction and a "Wishing Pool" donation activity will help support the YMCA of Honolulu's youth and teen programs.
The YMCA of Honolulu kicked off its year-long 150th anniversary commemoration back in January with the 68th annual YMCA Youth and Government Legislative Opening Ceremony and Luncheon at the State Capital.
Festivities continued with birthday parties at each of the YMCA Branches throughout Oahu. The YMCA of Honolulu has shared its history throughout the year through a special 20-panel historical exhibit on display at each of the Y Branches, a traveling version that has made stops at Kahala, Pearlridge and Windward Malls, and with an interactive version on its website at www.ymcahonolulu.org.
The 17 honorees at YMCA of Honolulu 150th Anniversary Ho'olaulea Dinner are:
Kawaharada was a pioneer as the first ever student board member at the Atherton Branch in the 1960’s, helping to make Atherton truly student-led. He also was an influential voice during the sale of the Atherton property. Kawaharada continues to serve as a board member today.
Camp H.R. Erdman
The Cole-Nordyke Family
In 1931, Ralph G. Cole began 10 years of service as Camp H.R. Erdman’s Executive Director. The Bell Tower was built in his memory. The Cole-Nordyke legacy of giving continued with Camp Emeritus Board member, Eleanor “Ellie” Cole-Nordyke, and her daughter, Mary Ellen Nordyke-Grace.
William “Bill” C. Maket
In 1930, Maket was elected to the Central Branch Board of Managers, where he served continuously for over 50 years. In 1952, he received the YMCA of Honolulu’s “Distinguished Service Recognition Award.” In 1988, the Central Branch building was rededicated as the William C. Maket Memorial building.
The Kosasa Family
In 1939, the Kosasa family donated a piece of land that became the Kaimuki-Waialae Branch. The Kosasa family recently donated $1 million for the new Waianae Branch building.
Philip “Phil” Chun
Chun was Kalihi Branch Executive Director from 1969 to 1994. His passion and love for the Kalihi community attracted volunteers who still serve Kalihi Branch today.
Masamitsu, CEO of the Tony Group, has been on the Leeward Branch Board for 18 years and was board chair from 2007-2008. Under his leadership, the Tony Group Foundation has played an active role in giving back to the YMCA.
Starting as a YMCA Youth Program Director, Kanemaru later became YMCA Branch Executive Director at Windward, Central and Mililani branches. During her 40 years with the Y, Kanemaru played a large part in the establishment of the Leeward Branch.
Dr. Dennis Kuwabara
The late Dr. Dennis Kuwabara was a strong volunteer. “Doc” was a key leader to raise money to build the Mililani West Oahu Branch. He also served the YMCA nationally.
James “Jimmy” Tomita
Tomita has been a selfless servant of the YMCA movement starting as a volunteer Advisor for the Farrington Hi-Y Club, a social and service club for teens. Tomita went on to serve as a volunteer instructor for swim lessons and training lifeguards. For 60 years, Tomita has nurtured the potential of the youth in our community- teaching the lifelong skill of swimming, and transforming the lives of countless youth and teens through his continual volunteer service to the Y organization.
The YMCA of Honolulu
The Atherton Family
Joseph P. Atherton, who joined the Y during its inaugural year in 1869, was one of the founders of the Nuuanu Branch. Over the years, the Atherton Family Foundation has donated over $1.5 million to the YMCA.
William “Bill” Aull
Aull joined the YMCA of Honolulu Metropolitan Board of Directors in 1961 and became Chairman in 1970, serving for 16 years. Aull was instrumental in helping with Nuuanu Branch’s expansion, and the growth of Camp H.R. Erdman and the Waianae Branch. Aull served the Y until his passing in 2009.
Dr. Michael J. Chun
A former President of Kamehameha Schools, Dr. Chun served as Chair of the Board of Directors from 1990 to 1999, where he led support to open the Leeward YMCA and acquire the Waianae Branch property. Dr. Chun continues to serve on the YMCA board.
Clark was the longest-serving leader in YMCA’s history. He joined the YMCA of Honolulu Board of Directors in 1954 and remained a board member for 55 years, serving as Chairman of the Board from 1961-1969. Henry was a generous donor and was recognized as a National Treasure in 1991.
Haig served on the YMCA Board of Directors from 1984 until 2001, becoming Chairman from 1999-2000. He played a key role in developing formal partnerships with the YMCAs of China, Singapore, and Taipei. He made some of the largest personal gifts from a board member to the YMCA of Honolulu in Y history.
August “Augie” Yee, Metro
In 1970, Yee began 48 years of service with the Metro Board of Directors. Yee helped raise funds for the expansion of Nuuanu Branch and the opening of the Mililani West Oahu Branch. He continued to serve until his passing in 2018. Yee received the Y’s highest service award, the YMCA of the USA Heritage Award.
Opening City Mill in 1899, Chung Kun Ai was one of the founders of Nuuanu Branch. His son, David Ai, continued to support Nuuanu Branch through the Chung Kun Ai Foundation, and his son, Steven Ai, has served on the YMCA Metro Board since 1995.
For more than 51 years, Nishi has taught Hawaiian culture and hula at the Nuuanu Branch. She has helped teach discipline and core values.