Alohi Gilman and his family built it, and the masses will soon come.
The former Kahuku scholar-athlete, now a defensive back for the Los Angeles Chargers, is hosting the Empower Football Camp on Friday at Farrington’s Skippa Diaz Stadium.
The event, which requires a donation to the Hawaii Food Bank, is already filled up with more than 400 young players from 8 through high school. Gilman and his father, coach Asai Gilman, have enlisted the help of many big names from the football community: Chad Owens, John Ursua, Isaac Sopoaga, Cayman Shutter, Nate Ilaoa, Matt Faga, Robby Toma and more.
Alohi Gilman’s Ho‘omana Lifestyle Foundation is following the path set by Asai Gilman years ago.
“There was nothing like this. The only camp that (Alohi) went to was the one I did, Gameplan Football Academy at BYU-Hawaii years ago, and he was a water boy for that,” Asai Gilman said. “When Manti (Te‘o) and those guys were coming to it, (the late) Kona Schwenke, all those guys, Alohi would be the one giving water to them. Part of the reason he’s doing it is he remembers doing the camp with me.”
One of the inspirations for reviving a camp is Leo Goeas. The former NFL lineman won’t be able to coach at the camp, but will be there in spirit.
“Leo Goeas and I are the same age. He’s stuck in Colorado. He wanted to come be part of this. That’s why Alohi reached out,” Asai Gilman said.
Asai Gilman has been a part of coaching and teaching skills on and off the field for decades.
“When Education 1st was doing (Gameplan Football Academy), 400 to 600 kids were going. We were the only camp in town. Itula (Mili) was helping out when he was still in the league, all them guys would hang out. Now with all the restrictions, the rules, you can’t bring college coaches. I used to bring 30-plus coaches to get more exposure.”
Protocols will be in place. The Hawaii Food Bank will also be in the stadium, collecting donations from participants and non-participants alike.
“Those that want to donate can still donate. There will be a Hawaii Food Bank representative with their van. They’ll be collecting the food there,” Gilman said. “Even if you’re not there, if you want to participate by donating them, they would love that opportunity to serve Hawaii.”