The Lokahi Volleyball Club was founded in 1970 by Pedro "Pete" Velasco Jr. at the urging of a group of young women who wanted him as their coach. Mr. P, as he is respectfully called by his players, had completed an illustrious volleyball career, including being a captain and two-time Olympian while a long-time member of Team USA, and having been named MVP at the National Championships along with being named all-American for 10 consecutive years. He since has been recognized as an All-Time Great Volleyball Player and has been inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame and the Hawaii Hall of Fame.
Mr. P taught that group of women the techniques and system of play he developed from his many years of international, national, and collegiate play. They experienced great success, winning locally, then representing Hawaii at the National Championships where they finished in the top ten. In 1972 Mr. P first accepted men into Lokahi and they too found success. In the decades since, Mr. P has continued to teach his system and style of play to all who joined Lokahi. That system is logically thought out and based on angles and triangles. It is a simple system once mastered yet it requires years of great discipline to do so. Along with dedication and commitment, Mr. P also demands humility and compatibility among his players and that they compete with good sportsmanship.
Even while playing and coaching, Mr. P and wife Adelaide, fondly called Mrs. P, raised four sons and three daughters. Of course, all seven children learned to play volleyball and excelled in Mr. P's system. The girls led Roosevelt High School to two consecutive State Championships; only two OIA girls teams and no outer island teams have won a State Championship since then. The boys led Roosevelt to three consecutive State Championships; no OIA boys team nor any outer island team has won even a single State Championship since then. When the boys formed the core of Lokahi as young men, they won championships at the prestigious Haili Volleyball Tournament and finished high at the National Championships. Mr. and Mrs. P treated the multitudes who passed through Lokahi as extended ohana. It is not surprising then that some of them found a home at Lokahi and have stayed to give back to Lokahi, volunteering in any way they can.
In 2007, Lokahi became an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable entity. Mr. P had passed the leadership of Lokahi to eldest son Pedro Velasco III, who served as President of the non-profit as well as Director and Head Coach. Lokahi remains a family club with family members and long-time club members serving together on Lokahi's Board of Directors. Lokahi's By-Laws formalize its original purpose:
MISSION - (i) To perpetuate the volleyball system of play and skill techniques developed by founder Pedro Velasco Jr., with emphasis on competition, sportsmanship and fair play, and
(ii) To provide members opportunities and experiences that develop and strengthen leadership skills, self-esteem, discipline, teamwork, and other desirable life skills through the vehicle of competitive volleyball, and
(iii) Through use of this system and techniques, develop member's abilities so they may be able to broaden their horizons and gain opportunities and experiences that aid in their educational, career, cultural, and personal growth through exposure to and participation in national and international aspects of competitive volleyball.
True to that Mission, Lokahi has taken teams to the USAV National championships and to play in Canada. Lokahi will continue to pursue its Mission with our Junior teams, as we strive to make our Vision a reality:
Our VISION is that a core of members has attained the level of ability to perennially compete at the highest level nationally, thus attracting, then teaching, new members so that the Organization becomes self-perpetuating and able to provide guidance, structure, and purpose through peer models, kupuna (elders) and kumu (coaches) in an environment of ohana (family).
Befitting its long continuous existence, leadership of Lokahi has now passed to its third generation, with Puna Velasco, Mr. P's grandson and Pedro's son, taking the reins as President of the non-profit and as Head Coach. Puna has grown up in Lokahi so is most knowledgeable of its system and goals and has a well grounded perspective, being fortunate to have played under the coaching of both his grandfather and father. They both will remain involved with Lokahi in more of an advisory or consultant role. With Puna's leadership, Lokahi is well positioned for the future as it enters its 45th year and continues to evolve to include junior players.