Communities in Hawaii are unique. Some familiar ones that I can think of are hiking groups and running groups. Although these may be common in many other places as well, they are very popular here because of the active lifestyle in the islands. Other types of unique community groups are hula halaus. These groups train, perform and sometimes compete, the art of hula. I belonged to a hula group as a child, for many years. It’s a very popular type of group in the islands!
Communities in Hawaii #1: Hiking Groups
Hiking groups are popular in Hawaii because of the abundant hiking trails all around the islands. The Sierra Club has a Hawaii chapter that’s pretty popular. I’m not part of it, but I’ve heard good things about it from friends and family. There’s also the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Corp. These chapters are pretty popular. It’s always a good idea to go hiking and exploring in groups, versus on your own. There have been some pretty gnarly news stories about lonesome hikers getting lost and barely making it out alive days later. If you’re not hiking in an established hiking group, then definitely go with friends or family.
Communities in Hawaii #2: Running Groups
Running groups are also pretty popular in the islands. The warm climate year-round makes it easier for runners to train, especially during the winter months when it’s still 80 degrees outside. Training at sea level is also great for beginners. I’ve done a few races up at Tahoe at 6000′ elevation and it can be difficult training at that altitude if you’re not used to it. The lower oxygen levels can be hard on your lungs. So, if you’re thinking of training for a race or marathon, starting at sea level would be great! The Hawaii Running Project offers great resources for runners to meet up and run together. Just like with hiking, I always recommend going in groups. It’s safer and more fun!
Communities in Hawaii #3: Hula Halaus
Hula halaus are very well known, for both men and women. Although there tends to be more women involved, I know many boys that are also avid with their hula practice. I was a member of a halau as a kid and we practiced on a weekly basis and performed monthly in Waikiki. Every once in a while we had professional performances that were paid, but most of them were unpaid and just for fun. Hula is a very well-respected practice in the Hawaiian community, especially when it comes to the annual Merrie Monarch festival held on the Big Island. Hula halaus will train for months to compete at this competition, spending countless hours in training sessions. I really admire those who are selected by their Kumu Hulu (hula instructor) to compete at this prestigious competition.
Communities in Hawaii #4: Paddling Clubs
Paddling clubs are very common. Paddling, not rowing, was a recognized sport in high school and was a well-respected and popular sport. Paddling also has Hawaiian roots and is a strenuous sport. I remember the kids in high school who were on the paddling team trained so hard and were always so tan! Paddling can be an intense sport for those who have not tried it before, I know I couldn’t do it!