Young Wahine Kai Camp
Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke
Grades 6-8 and 9-12
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"At the start of Kai Camp, I didn't know anyone. By the end, I was friends with everyone."
- 2022 Wāhine Participant
"The sun sinks slowly behind the misty hills of Hāna, setting the verdant landscape aglow. The sky is a clear blue, with wispy white clouds drifting across it. The traditional paddling shouts ring out over the waters of Kapueokahi, accompanied by the synchronized splash of paddles. The paddlers are determined; they are strong; they are wāhine; they are in harmony. These young women are from Wāhine Kai Camp. They have come to connect. To learn. To understand. The canoe moves as one..."
- Reflections written by one wahine participant of Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke's Young Wāhine Kai Camp 2022, in the summer newsletter of which she is the editor.
Each morning of camp since the first in 2018, young wāhine rise to oli. "E ala e," begins, hoarse and shaky at first, but stronger, clearer, as the repetition continues. Used to encourage the rising of the sun, it is our first opportunity to awaken and encourage ourselves for the coming day and all that is in store. From hoe waʻa to heʻe nalu, aloha ʻāina to mālama kino, our wāhine are exposed to various activities, mentors, leaders, and practitioners, each with a purpose: to empower them in and around the ocean to increase their self-confidence, well-being, and belief in the power to shape their future.
Young Wāhine Kai Camp 2022 (YWKC) successfully enrolled and engaged fourteen young women aged 12-15 , while an additional six aged 16-18 were engaged as youth mentors for a total of 20 youth learners. These youth mentors were paid as student apprentices of Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke's foundational apprenticeship program, and provided key assistance and perspective to the four MKHKI female staff members and 36 additional community volunteers. Thus, 60 total community members, from youth to kūpuna, were a part of this year's camp!
In addition to individual community members, many of whom are local experts volunteering their time, we partner with several fellow non-profits and small and large businesses to ensure success and safety throughout YWKC. This year's non-profit partnerships included Hōlani Hāna (the kīpuka at which YWKC was based), Hāna Canoe Club (who led canoe paddling on our first afternoon), Hāna High & Elementary School (provided bus transportation for the duration of camp), and Hāna Arts (who provided the sound and presentation equipment for Hōʻike night). This year's small and large business partnerships included: Hydroflask, mama Kuleana sunscreen, and Oshan Essentials, who supplied items for our participant goodie bags; Kilo's Kitchen, Chef-Minded Farms, and MKHKI's Kahu ʻAi Pono Program who helped with meals; and Hāna Jungle Spa and Shandelle Nakanelua, who provided a mālama kino activity and photography, respectfully.
Young Wāhine Kai Camp is a product of our community of Hāna. While we have developed a framework for activities and mentorship that is unwavering, each year is influenced by the weather, tides, pressing topics of our lāhui and world today, and our young wāhine themselves. We are grateful for the support of Kamehameha Schools and Kaulu Papahana Huakaʻi for helping us provide a safe place for our young wāhine of Hāna to learn, thrive, and grow!