Leeward YMCA

Shopping Center to Sugar Mill.

YMCA Pushes Westward

The area outside of Honolulu was considered rural before WWII, but as troops returned, the suburbs expanded—and with them came an increased need for Y services. From 1965 through 1972, the Waipahu YMCA served youth, teens, and families out of a small rented space at the Westgate Shopping Center. As suburbs pushed westward, the Waipahu YMCA followed and in 1972, joined with the Rural YMCA in Wahiawa to become the West O'ahu Branch.

Reducing the Risk for At-Risk Youth

Meanwhile in Waipahu, drug abuse and gang activity were on the rise; the community needed the Y to return. In 1989, Waipahu YMCA moved back to Westgate Shopping Center with organized youth activities. In its first year, it served 412 at-risk youth and operated multiple A+ afterschool care sites. In 1992, the Waipahu YMCA was officially chartered as the Leeward YMCA.

Ensuring a Sweeter Future

The Oahu Sugar Company Mill was built in 1898, and when it closed in 1995, an integral part of the Waipahu Plantation community was lost. But thanks to generous donors, a determined community and the Y, the remodeled mill is now home to the Leeward YMCA where multiple generations continue to thrive.

The original Oahu Sugar Mill smokestack and generator building, symbols of Waipahu’s plantation heritage, were incorporated into the heart of the Leeward YMCA’s 42,000-square-foot facility.
In February 1998, the Leeward YMCA moved into the Old Waipahu Sugar Mill building after purchasing two acres of land from Amfac for just a fraction of the cost. Amfac later donated additional acres, the historic smokestack and original mill generator building. Topped off by a successful capital campaign, a new family-focused Leeward YMCA opened on the site of the Oahu Sugar Mill in 2007.
To the left, a family enjoying KaBOOM! Playground built in 2011 by NFL, P&G, and volunteers. Above, visiting  NFL players Matt Light and Wes Welker practice teamwork exercises. 
P.J. “Jim” Aragon still lives on the street where his family’s plantation home used to be. Recalls Aragon, “When the plantation closed we felt so bad, and for years, hoped it would be restored. Now I just have to step outside and there it is… the smokestack that makes me feel nostalgic—in a good way—and grateful that our plantation ‘ohana was not forgotten.”

Mililani West Oahu ➔