We’ve focused on the concept of restoration – in whatever form it takes – over the course of the last years because it has become obvious that it is the ‘element’ that is so needed and so lacking. That need hasn’t been dictated by ourselves so much as it has been directly infused into our thinking by youth learners who remind us of their needs. Beyond the online classrooms and brick and mortar, there is a great need for spaces (and people) that replenish.
So often, that restoration has come in simple ways and in ways that we haven’t planned. Simply providing a sanctuary and space for learners, youth, and ourselves to be communicating and interfacing with one another has often been the basis for all. As much as we like to ‘program’ schedules, it is often in the transition times and the most informal of moments that some of the ‘magic’ occurs.
While every camp we are involved with has had the element of restoration gently woven in, it is our Ho’i Ho’i camp in particular that places particular focus upon the idea of restoring the sense of value of ourselves.
Our most recent edition of Ho’i Ho’i was a joyous return of many ‘alumni’ from a year ago. Back were Jet, Jessy, River, and BJ, along with new wonderful additions. Back were the “edible leaf hunts”, the raucous debates, and with that came one of our famed “Charter Builders”. With each of our camps we encourage the participant groups to build their own charter and code of ethics guide by which they will hold each other accountable to.
One of our most vital core elements has been archery sessions with Uncle Biggie and family. It is inevitable that the sessions become something almost meditative, and something very much that develops and grows on the inside. As BJ likes to remind all who will listen, “It isn’t about how good you are, it is about how you progress and find your way”.
Always, the food and sustenance aspects are present…and the time to enjoy meals together with conversations that last for hours. In the words of one of our youth, “I’m not used to eating for this long and I’m not used to having conversations about everything I eat”.
We were blessed to have Auntie Sylvia and Auntie Karen join us for an afternoon of harvesting and an evening of preparing foods from the gardens and ‘of the land’. In the preparation and sharing of responsibilities of creating meals that one has harvested oneself; we see another aspect of restorative balance. It links in with a concept that we increasingly find kinship with – that of foraging for seasonal delicacies.
Another added bonus element was friend and motivator of local youth and local businesses, Meli James, of Mana Up, who flew in from Honolulu. Her focus is upon inspiring those with ideas to concretize and demonstrate a plan. Dreams don’t have to be simply desired things of the mind. Her message is that there are simple strategies to engage and collaborate and she brought her very typical “Meli’ness” to the day – provocative, inspiring, and approachable.
It is all about the informal as we keep learning and it is inevitably about maintaining a social dynamism and providing a kind of sanctuary to engage.
And always, we remind ourselves that “if we don’t engage our youth, how are they supposed to care”. And so, another familial edition of our Ho’i Ho’i camp at Hue Hue refreshed, and we hope, restored.