Erika Engle

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Waikoloa conventioneers’
kids whoop it up
with Kamaaina

The name Amway can bring about strong reactions. At Kamaaina Care Inc., which does business as Kamaaina Kids, the response is what Martha Stewart would call "a good thing."

Top producers in the Amway's Network 21 online sales division will gather for a convention at the Hilton Waikoloa Village July 5-11 and Kamaaina Kids has the child care contract.

Nearly 50 children age 3 to 15 will learn lei-making and Hawaiian lore, go tide-pool and petroglyph-field exploring and star-gazing while their parents attend meetings and do other boring convention stuff.

Kamaaina Kids' Big Island staff is primarily on the Hilo side so they'll have to endure a few nights at the hotel in order to be close to their young charges. There was no shortage of interested staff, according to Kathy Hew, vice president and director of Kamaaina Kids' hotel division.

The nonprofit corporation is known largely for its A-Plus after school care and summer youth programs, but has offered child care for conventioning parents for five years. Network 21 is among its repeat customers.

Fifty kids is not that big a deal for the company. "We actually did a huge program last August for the National Medical Association," Hew said. "We had 500 children.

"The following week Shaklee came with 275 children," she said. They went on excursions to attractions including the Polynesian Cultural Center and the USS Arizona Memorial. "We customized it to the needs of the children."

Kamaaina Kids usually has a year to plan for convention child care, but it has been put together in a month's time as well, Hew said.

In addition to repeat customers, Kamaaina Kids receives referrals from meetings and incentive travel planners.

Kamaaina Kids provides year-round child care programs at more than 30 hotel and timeshare operations on Maui, Kauai and Oahu. The company also provides seasonal child care at more than 15 hotel sites.

The hotel business provides 5 percent of Kamaaina Kids' revenue; the convention income is icing on that cake. The revenue mix helps to subsidize services the nonprofit offers to the community such as A-Plus after school care, according to Communications Director Tom Levy.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached


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