A vision for Kaua’i can be eye-opening

Eyes can glaze when people talk about visions. The effect is especially bad during political seasons, when voters who are paying attention hear vision-speak from candidates for everything from president on down to county councils.

Visions are good for putting projects and causes on and sticking to a course. At the same time, actions speak louder than words. After a while, people want to know what’s being done, not dreamed.

Barbara Curl, head of the non-profit Kaua’i Aloha Foundation, runs into that when using the V word as a leader of the movement whose motto is “Aloha: It’s Kauai’s spirit.” But she’s passionate enough about her mission that she isn’t bothered by blank stares.

“Kauai’s destiny is to live from a vision,” she said. To that end, she has involved the government, schools and communities in a common goal of making the island’s systems, economy, anti-crime and anti-drug efforts and so on the best they can be.

When asked how realistic that quest is, a resolute Curl—perhaps steeled by her past work as an educator and a hotel administrator on the mainland—answers without blinking or taking offense.

“Kaua’i,” she says, “will become a global model for how to work together. We need to be a collective community.” And if you don’t believe her, she says, just wait. She’ll bring you around.

The crusade continues tomorrow morning with a public meeting at Kaua’i Coconut Beach Resort. Over a continental breakfast at $10 a head, the local visionaries will hear representatives of Hawai’i Community Foundation explain how to build an endowment to put some money in the whole vision thing.

Investing financial contributions to the endowment fund and spending the interest on needs that benefit residents and visitors alike—public restrooms and lifeguards for beaches are possibilities—can make Kaua’i an even better place to live and vacation, Curl maintains.

Tomorrow’s meeting is the second in the visioning process. Curl said the first one attracted 55 people. The third meeting will be in October.

Everyone’s welcome, even the ones with glazed eyes. They’ll change, she promises.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 227) and pjenkins@pulitzer.net

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