“I am not an ocean person, so when my daughters want to venture out, I am unsure of what to do," said a mother as she handed over her daughter’s camp registration form. “I’m so glad that she may be able to gain more knowledge and confidence in the ocean from this camp.”
In ancient Hawaiʻi, men and women played specific roles in society. Regarding fishing, men were usually responsible for going out on their waʻa to fish, while women gathered limu or fished in the shallows. They were each masters of their craft. In Hāna, though, it is documented that women were unique, for they could be seen working beside men, redefining the roles of that time. Now, we aren’t suggesting gender roles (it’s quite the opposite). However, our goals for having a kai camp just for young girls are to empower them to participate in activities like their ancestors did and recognize and love their uniquely feminine ways of doing so. “Surfing like a man” is no longer the standard in the competitive scene; instead, judges must acknowledge power, style, and grace simultaneously! That is why names like Kimi Werner and Carissa Moore are known in our world; they are women who paved their way as talented athletes and role models with their own power, style, and grace.
While we hope to inspire our young wāhine with stories (and visits!) by world-class professionals and to see themselves in their role models, another aspect of YWKC is the recognition that we have a vast wealth of knowledge right here in our hometown from the women and men we see as teachers, mothers, uncles, farmers, hale builders, and more every day. It is this beautiful combination we harness during each camp. Through activities such as heʻe nalu, our traditional mālama kahakai beach clean-up, hoe waʻa, kaulana mahina, lawaiʻa pono, and kilo, we hope to empower our young women to not only push boundaries but to love and encourage their unique femininity.
YWKC has thus far been a 3-4 day, 2-3 night camp complete with closing hōʻike in which participants led the entire program from welcoming through dinner to closing while sharing their favorite learning aspects of camp throughout. Roughly 15 participants attend while approximately 40 community volunteers contribute.