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Spring Break Koʻa Camp

Hui Mālama i ke Ala ʻŪlili

Paʻauilo & Koholālele, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi

6-8, 9-12

Spring 2023

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"When we went swimming at Koholalele, I thought it was cool that even though it wasn't easy, we still found a way to enjoy the kai. I feel like in life, people miss out on amazing opportunities because they are afraid of things that don't come easily to them. Any time I hesitate to do something because it seems difficult, I will think about this experience." -Siddney


Foundational to our work is ʻāina (land) and aloha ʻāina—healthy, reciprocal relationships we develop with ʻāina by cultivating and caring for ʻāina, and sharing in its abundance. The Spring Camp was successful in elevating the relationship between the ʻōpio and the ʻāina resources and life all around them in the ahupuaʻa of Koholālele.

From day one we were harvesting produce like kale, bak choy and carrots which we quickly made into a delicious meal for lunch. We went fishing with one of the kupuna Uncle Niimi from Paauilo who taught our ʻōpio how to catch large ʻōmilu in the deep waters off the coast. The ʻōmilu became the center of our main dish for dinner. 

Day one was getting the kids fully immersed in ʻāina and seeing first hand how the health of ʻāina is directly connected to the health of people. We were able to achieve that by showing them when ʻāina is thriving with an abundance of food, we able to eat that food and survive. Healthy ʻāina means healthy food, which inevitably means healthy kānaka.


We designed the following days of the Spring Camp to anchor the ʻōpio deeper and deeper in place in Koholālele. We dove deep into moʻolelo with Uncle Noeau. He shared old and new stories with the ʻōpio about the aina of Koholālele. They learned moʻolelo like the moʻolelo of Umialiloa that clearly depicts the history of these aina dating back at least 14 generations. They also learned kaʻao, a newer version of old connections and names, that speak to the current state of our lāhui and efforts in our community to restore connections and kuleana to wai. Each ʻōpio was captivated by the stories. Many of them wrote in their reflections that they would like to tell these stories to their ʻohana.


As we closed out our Spring Camp, many of the ʻōpio expressed that they wanted to stay forever! Many of them have signed up for our Summer Camp! We find that to be a huge success. We look forward to growing our pilina with them and providing more opportunites to connect with Koholālele.

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