Maui News

Kupu opens applications for youth conservation corps summer program

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  • During the Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps summer program, past participants worked with MauiNaMahi’ai ‘o Keanae, a nonprofit that helps the socio-economic conditions of the Keanae community, farmers, youth and their families. Photo Courtesy: Kupu
  • Kupu’s Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps summer program for 2022 is accepting applications through Feb. 25. Photo Courtesy: Kupu
  • Past participants of Kupu’s Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps summer program worked with The Nature Conservancy on Maui. Photo Courtesy: Kupu
  • The Molokaʻi Land Trust received help from past participants of Kupu’s Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps summer program. Photo courtesy: Kupu
  • While working with The Nature Conservancy, participants of Kupu’s summer program have a chance to enjoy nature in all its glory. Photo courtesy: Kupu

Applications are open for Kupu’s Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps Summer Program, which offers an intensive hands-on experience throughout the islands.

The summer program runs for seven weeks from June 7 – July 22, 2022. If selected, participants are partnered within a team of 5-7 other like-minded individuals. Each week they will get to explore and serve within a different partner site, which holds new adventures, challenges, teachings and opportunities for personal growth.

Participants will get to learn about a variety of ecosystems, natural resource management techniques and cultural practices unique to Hawai‘i.  

This year Kupu, a conservation and youth education nonprofit, is inviting applicants on Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island to apply online. The application deadline is Feb. 25. 

“There are two ways to participate, either as a Team Member or Team Leader,” said Kupu Recruiting Coordinator Graeme Lander. “Team members are typically between the ages of 17 – 22 and don’t necessarily need any prior environmental experience. The ideal applicant is someone with a positive attitude, curious about nature, interested in learning, and a desire to strengthen their community through service.” 

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Team members receive a First Aid & CPR certification, $500 monetary stipend and $1,374 AmeriCorps Education Award (similar to a scholarship). They also gain valuable experiential environmental education; build close relationships with their peers; and learn life skills relevant to any career.  

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Team Leaders must be 21 by June 7, due to car rental requirements, and have a valid driver’s license. They receive $12.50 hourly wage with fringe benefits, plus overtime as applicable. They also receive a First Aid & CPR certification and 4-5 days of specialized workshops on leadership, safety and logistics, and program/fieldwork preparation on O’ahu.

“The Team Leaders don’t mind extra responsibility,” Graeme adds. “They are the backbone for the team, responsible for assisting, coordinating and inspiring the members each day. Ideally, the leaders are 21 years and older, have experience in leading groups and have knowledge pertaining to unique Hawaiʻi native plants, and customs. They play an integral role in the success of the program and forming the experience the members have.”  

Former summer program participant Kristi Kimura of Maui said: “Being able to visit places that many are unable to, and creating a positive impact on the land and the culture that I call home was the best part of HYCC [Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps]. I learned about the many different pathways within sustainability and conservation to get a better understanding of what I would like to pursue a future career in. This program has influenced my future plans by solidifying what I would like to pursue as a career. Kupu has provided a very humbling experience that many people do not get the chance to have.” 

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Former HYCC participant Mikela Parris of Molokaʻi added:  “I think each site did a very good job of educating us about the history of the place and making us feel included. I love hearing from our elders about their past experiences and how that shaped them into the person they are today. I learned how important stewardship is and how important it is to remove invasive species so that our native ecosystems can thrive. It is hard work, but it is important.”  

For questions, email [email protected] or call 808-735-1221 x 2001. 

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