Maui is once again reaching out to youth with an opportunity to do meaningful conservation work. Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education nonprofit organization, Kupu, is accepting applications for this summer’s Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC). The seven-week program runs from June 8 to July 24 and provides young adults 17 years or older with meaningful field service experience in the world of conservation while teaching the gratification of giving back to the community.
“Not only is this a great experience for Hawai‘i’s next generation of environmental and cultural stewards, but it’s also a win for the community at large,” said Kupu CEO John Leong. “It’s important for young people to give back to the ‘aina and in so doing, build a sense of responsibility to place while we help them become the type of leaders our world needs.”
Positions are available on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island. Participants will be paid for their service as team members or team leaders, and also receive an education award of $1,289.95, CPR/First Aid Certification, and “priceless on-the-job training.” Applications are due February 28, 2020.
No prior environmental experience is necessary. Ideal applicants should have a positive attitude, be is curious about nature, and have a desire to learn through hands-on service. Participants will serve alongside environmental and culturally focused organizations within a range of eco-systems, including wetlands, dryland forests, lo‘i kalo (taro patches), and loko i‘a (ancient Hawaiian fishponds).
HYCC alumni Kepa Barrett said they “personally experienced this program and it truly changed the trajectory of my life… I met incredible people who saw the challenges that our world is facing – and they decided to do something about it. There really isn’t anything quite like it. No matter what industry you choose to pursue after the program, this opportunity allows people to network with professionals, while developing leadership, teamwork, and decision-making skills.”
Christopher Chow, who participated in the summer program on Maui last year, said, “My experience as a team leader on Maui taught me that I’m capable of doing a lot more than I thought I could. It opened up many doors to my future career in conservation.” Chow said many people in conservation today have gotten jobs in the professional world through interning with Kupu. “If conservation is your passion and this is what you want to do in life, then Kupu is the first step,” he said.
For further information on the Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps Summer Program or to fill out the brief application, simply visit: Kupuhawaii.org/hycc-summer
Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps is being supported by Kamehameha Schools, AmeriCorps, Change Happens Foundation, USDA/HETF, Healy Foundation, and many others.
[Disclosure: Suzanne Kayian also works for Councilmember Kelly King]