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Why The Y Matters: Replacing Sadness with Smiles

“For my children who experienced such huge losses in their lives, Camp Erdman was a place of healing.”
– Sanoe, Keao, Nahinu, YMCA Camp Erdman Financial Aid Recipients

Sanoe “When my wife passed away, it took a tremendous toll on my children, Keao, Nahinu and Kealohi,” Sanoe recalls, “Despite hardships, I tried to remain strong for the children and I’m proud to be their support, provider and source of stability.” But he needed help. There was still a painful hole in the children’s lives.

Sanoe remembered his mother talking about enjoying her time at Camp Erdman as a kid, as a high school leader, and now as a Camp Erdman staff member, so he asked if she could get an employee discount for the kids to attend Camp. So Grandma Jo approached Camp Erdman Executive Director, Ron Okimoto, and was shocked when he said no - they would do more. The children would attend Camp for a full week through the Y’s financial assistance program.

Camp became a transformational experience for the children. Instead of talking about their loss, they began talking about how much fun they had. “I couldn’t believe how supportive Ron and everyone at the Y were, doing what they could for my children. For my children who experienced such huge losses in their life, Camp Erdman was a place of healing. For one week, my children were able to put away painful memories of their mom and just be kids,” recounts a thankful Sanoe.