AKAHI LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
This two-week summer program created to foster authentic, adaptive leadership and activate our future makers to realize their preferred future where a peaceful human society is positively integrated into the natural world.
Our vision is to create the ‘model for our future’, a future where humans are back in touch with nature and live in a mutually beneficial way. A sanctuary for those who want to escape the modern societal pressures and reestablish confidence that our world can run on different values; love and respect for one another, a deep connection with the natural world, gratitude for this beautiful world we are in, and the spirit of collaboration. Huehue is a place that can realize this ‘new’ way of living on this planet. A beating heart of a community, paving the way to a preferred future for the generations to come.
Set in the western slope of Hualalai mountain, Huehue Ranch is home to a lush, biodynamic, organic food garden designed to foster a safe and contemplative interface with the natural elements. Students will have the opportunity to live off the land and learn basics of permaculture, nature observation, meditation and cooking. The program consists of excursions to Hawaii Island’s most innovative renewable energy center, work day on the wa’a, visits to natural landscapes unique to the island and weekly visits by community mentors working to make the world a better place. Leadership training will consist of skills particularly relevant to future women leaders, such as self-confidence, communication skills, critical thinking and emotional intelligence. The program will focus on values such as compassion, gratitude and courage to help create a peaceful future that is full of connectivity and thoughtful progress.
Program Content and Outcomes
The program consists of three interwoven developmental units: Authentic Leadership, Navigator’s Vision and Nature Connectivity. The developmental units will build upon the concept of the self as an individual, a community member, and finally as agents of the future.
The mission of the program is to connect kids with nature and help foster a meaningful relationship with the natural world and by extension ourselves and our place in the natural world. Three main elements in building a strong relationship include time spent together, effective communication, and deep sense of understanding/empathy. The program intends on focusing on these three aspects through an immersion into the natural world, an immersion into the full cycle of food and developing a communication line to read signs in nature and to give thanks.
Hawaii, being a center point between Asia and the Americas and the head of the Pacific, will play a pivotal role in the coming century to determine the ways of the world. We strive to help our participants explore who they are and become a human being who is connected, loving and caring towards the self and all forms of life, equipped to adapt to this changing world who can lead through moments of adversity with grace and commitment.
A navigator encompasses knowledge and respect for nature, as well as a capacity to lead and collaborate. With respect to the Hawaiian culture, the participants will learn the basics of navigation and learn what it means to ‘pull the land out of the sea’. Students will learn to find our place in relation to celestial bodies and learn the basics of navigation on land.
Daily work in the soil – integrating into the natural cycles mean we wake up with the sun and work in the garden to maintain a healthy soil. Students will learn the basics of regenerative farming methods and find comfort in being able to grow their own sustenance.
Nature Observation – kilo – deeply watching without disturbing. Hawaiians did this to learn about natural elements, practicing one’s patience, quieting the mind, and nature awareness. In this program we will focus on following the moon cycles and observing the weather systems as we have a commanding view of the coast line to the north.
Thanksgiving Address – mahalo – sending gratitude to everything in the world, realizing connections and all the work that goes into making life in the world continue. This particular practice was handed down through the Iroquois tradition and we will personalize it and appropriate it to the Hawaiian place. Practiced daily, this is a way to connect the students to nature through sending our most positive thoughts.
Guest mentors – bring in leading practitioners who can show the girls not only potential passions but also cutting edge information. Mentors are a great way to instill values through example. Some mentors we have lined up include: Chip Fletcher from UH Manoa, Meli James from HVCA and Mana Up, Danny Akaka from Mauna Lani, John Stokes from The Tracking Project and Hannah Springer, a local oral historian.
Lifeskill lessons – communication skills, listening skills, empathic listening, emotional intelligence and meditation. This unit focuses on giving the girls tools to better engage in the world.
Community Service – engage in local non-profit activities to get experience in doing something for the betterment of others. We will either work in restoring native forests or volunteer on the wa’a.
Futures Workshop – learn how futures are made and be empowered to make the future. We begin this unit with workshops on looking at our own past, present and future and a values workshop to see what guides us forward. The unit concludes with a group activity in envisioning a collective future and creating a narrative on how to get there.
Summit the Sacred Puuwaawaa – a guided hike up the sacred mountain by Jeff Fuchs. A physical journey intertwined with oral narratives and a lesson on the geological significance of this sacred space.
‘Ai Pono – students will learn to cook fresh from the garden from a trained chef, Samantha Smith. We will also prepare and organize the imu from start to finish and share the bounty with community members.
Week 1: Who am I? What is my nature?
Identity = values + experiences + self-perception
Workshops to define who we are and what we stand for
Week 2: What’s going on? Where do I fit in?
Community Development, Hawaii in the context of the big world.
Workshops on relational skills
Week 3: Who creates the future? What future do I create?
Community engagement activities
Week 1: Navigators must know where they come from to know where they are going. Learn to locate where we are using celestial bodies.
Week 2: How to read weather and the winds, learning about signs in nature. Learn about the moon and her cycles and what they tell us.
Week 3: Pulling the island from the sea. What does that mean and how does this relate to my life?
Week 1: Me and Nature = Mature
Develop a personal relationship with nature
Communicate with and be part of the cycle of nature
Week 2: We and Earth = Worth
Cycle of Life, Renewal
Contemplate and discuss how humans change the Earth
Week 3: Model For Our Future
Nature Inspired Art
Become a collaborator of the expression that unfolds in the natural world