Fishing tournament demonstrates goodwill

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (12/23/00)
By Ray Pendleton

Christmas is the season of giving. So what better time to be able to share a story of gift giving in O`ahu's boating community?

The gift Iım referring to was a $1,000 check from the Hoolea Fishing Tournament and payable to the Goodwill Industries of Hawaii.

The check was presented last week by Mike House, the chairman of the tournament, to Goodwill's Karen Sternan. The tournament is an annual event organized by the Waikiki and Hawaii yacht clubs.

The gift perhaps also demonstrated more than just an act of giving. It also showed how a win-win, or in this instance, a win-win-win-win situation can evolve.

For the past 11 years, the Hawaii Yacht Club has sponsored its annual Goodwill Fishing Tournament, one of the warmest and fuzziest events Iıve ever witnessed.

The tournament invites Goodwill's 'clients' for a day of fishing and feasting.

They are people of all ages who have been personally challenged by barriers to employment such as developmental, physical, emotional or mental disabilities.

They may also have economic or vocational barriers related to welfare dependency, limited work experience or job layoffs.

Once these people have been referred to Goodwill, most of them will receive occupational training in computer operation, food service, industrial-custodial operations and retail sales.

They may also gain valuable work experience in transportation, processing, warehouse and sewing operations, due to Goodwill's distinctive donated goods and retail store operations.

Goodwill gives its clients an opportunity to learn job skills. The fishing tournament gives them an opportunity to socialize and interact together in a unique and fun setting.

Some 50 or more clients are taken offshore on volunteered boats for a couple of hours of reef fishing. That is followed by a dockside barbecue picnic where awards are given out to those who have caught fish in various comedic categories.

Volunteers for the Goodwill tournament are abundant, but the event requires operating funding, and that's where sponsors get involved.

Local businesses, such as the shipping company CSX Lines (previously Sea-Land), have generously provided funding. In return, the corporations receive a bit of good publicity. Win-win.

This year, corporate donations have allowed the Hoolea tournament to use all entry fee funds as prize money. No other tournament in Hawai`i offers that.

This and many other factors has attracted more participants to the Hoolea tournament each year, in turn increasing its appeal to its many sponsors. Bigger fishing tournaments naturally attract more media attention for the sponsors. Another win-win situation.

Coming full circle, the Hoolea Fishing Tournament, with more sponsors and larger donations from them, now has the ability to give back to the community with its own donation to help the Goodwill Industries' tournament thrive.

Sounds like a win to me.

Mele Kalikimaka.

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