Hawai'i High School Community Service

On the Big Island of Hawaii, the powerful forces behind Earth’s creation are on full display, with active volcanoes adding new layers to an expanding archipelago. These ever- changing landscapes are fragile, and their ecosystems are easily disrupted by human impact. Help preserve the island’s volcanic and marine environments through eco-service projects, and cap off the trip with snorkeling, hiking, and camping on Maui.

June 29 – July 12, 2019
July 15 – 28, 2019
Airfare is not included. We have arranged group flights from Los Angeles to Kailua-Kona, Kailua-Kona to Maui, and Maui to Los Angeles.

Trip Highlights

  • Witness active lava flows and steam vents and work to preserve the geothermal landscapes of Volcanoes National Park.
  • Partner with native Hawaiian organizations to work on important agricultural conservation efforts.
  • Meet researchers from the Maui Ocean Center who are working to rehabilitate sea turtles and sharks.
  • Learn to surf in Maui’s aquamarine waters and snorkel on nearby reefs.

Itinerary | 14 days

Days 1 and 2

Our program begins with two days of orientation and exploration along the Kona Coast. Set out to discover ancient lava flows, learn about regional coffee cultivation, or snorkel amid coral reefs. We’ll immerse ourselves in Hawaiian culture and learn about environmental threats facing local ecosystems as we prepare for our service projects.

Days 3–9

Travel to Volcanoes National Park and settle into our dormitory, located within the park borders. Work alongside conservationists on a variety of park preservation initiatives aimed at restoring the natural balance of its habitats. Get your hands dirty planting native vegetation and weeding out invasive species, and educate other visitors about environmental threats facing the island. In the afternoons and evenings, explore the island’s geothermal landscapes. Witness Kilauea’s lava flows, hike through cavernous lava tubes deep within the jungle, and stargaze from the slopes of of Mauna Kea— considered the Earth’s largest volcano.

Head to Waimea and partner with Ulu Mau Puanui on sustainability efforts that also help to preserve ancient Hawaiian agricultural practices. Conduct beach cleanups, collect scientific data to monitor the health of the Kohala watershed, help plant native ‘uala (sweet potato) and ko (sugarcane), or educate visitors on the conservation of native coral and fish species. Spend a day with the Kailapa Community Association learning about traditional Hawaiian communities and assisting with their outreach programs. In the afternoons, take a break from your projects to visit sacred Hawaiian sites hidden in the rainforest or catch a wave at a nearby surf break.

As you contribute to these conservation initiatives, record your work in journal entries, photographs, or videos. Create a story that captures your experience, the challenges facing local conservation organizations, or the impact of your work.

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Days 10–14

Fly to Maui for our final adventures under the Hawaiian sun. Meet with researchers at the Maui Ocean Center, and hear about their work rehabilitating turtle and shark species native to Hawaiian waters. Embark on a full-day snorkel adventure along the remote bays of West Maui—or over the lava caves on the remote island of Lana’i. Catch the sunset from the slopes of the Haleakalā volcano. Cap the trip off with a family-stype Hawaiian barbecue with activists from the local community, and reflect on the important work you’ve done to preserve these fragile ecosystems.

Our community service trips are for students in grades 9-12. Students settle into a community and get involved with collaborative service projects that focus on infrastructure, education, or sustainability. Students work alongside local people, and document their experience through photos, journals, and video. Collaborative community projects provide an opportunity for deeper cultural interactions and insight into daily life in our host communities. Students travel alongside a team of highly-qualified trip leaders—college graduates with extensive experience in the field, who love working with students. Our community service trips are limited to 18 participants, and the student-to-trip-leader ratio is usually between six and eight to one and never more than nine to one.
On this program, students will spend an estimated 35–40 hours on community service projects. At the end of the program, students will receive a certificate stating the number of service hours completed. Projects described in this itinerary are examples and vary depending on the needs of the community.
At our community service sites, the group sleeps in simple but comfortable dormitory-style accommodations. Boys and girls share a sleeping area and bathroom with other students of the same gender. On Maui, we stay in tented bungalows at a small oceanside campground.