Leadership Kaua‘i gets program manager

Colleen Edwards, who recently relocated to Kaua‘i from Maui, has been hired as program manager for Leadership Kaua‘i, a nonprofit organization created to train Kauaians to become the island’s leaders, Leadership Kaua‘i officials said in a press release.

Edwards and Leadership Kaua‘i Executive Director Tim Bynum are already well into the planning phases of some new initiatives, they said.

They will soon be kicking off the 2006-07 Annual Leadership Program, and will work with Leadership Kaua‘i Annual Leadership Program alumni to implement the new Pi‘ina Hoku Program.

They are now accepting applications for their 2006-07 Annual Leadership Program for adults (due July 11) and Pi‘ina Hoku (“Rising Stars”), a youth-leadership program for teens who will be high-school juniors next year (due May 15).

Both programs will begin in August.

“Leadership Kaua‘i established its Annual Leadership Program three years ago, and now we’re gearing up for our third class of adult participants,” said Mike Murakoshi, president of the Leadership Kaua‘i board of directors.

“The success we’ve enjoyed in that program helped us develop the youth leadership program,” said Murakoshi.

“Pi‘ina Hoku is the logical next step in our efforts to instill in individuals the skills they need to be effective leaders in our community,” added Bynum, saying one of the main reasons he accepted the position with Leadership Kaua‘i was for the chance to once again work with the island’s young people.

Last year, officials with the Hawai‘i Community Foundation Annie Sinclair Knudsen Memorial Fund awarded an initial grant for $5,000 to Leadership Kaua‘i leaders so that a group of five graduates could develop a detailed work plan for Pi‘ina Hoku.

The youth-leadership initiative was developed by graduates Theresa Koki, Mel Rapozo, Denise Tripoli, Kathryn Williams and Art Williams.

Thereafter, Koki lead the group to create a work plan and funding request, which generated another grant from HCF for $30,000 to kick off the program.

Recently, Edwards was hired to spearhead the program full-time.

“The youth and adult programs have similar schedules, starting with multi-day retreats and then meeting one full day each month for nine months. On several occasions, the adult and youth groups will meet together,” Bynum explained.

Pi‘ina Hoku will run from August through April, with a kick-off weekend “Blazing Adventures” retreat at Koke‘e State Park.

The theme of the retreat will be “Nui na ala hele o ka mauna,” or “the mountain has many paths.” The retreat mentors will ensure that the participating youth will learn about finding their way in the “wilderness” while hiking trails in the Koke‘e forest above Na Pali Coast, and that they have open discussions about the basic human values of right and wrong, justice, love, and caring.

The retreat will also cover topics such as Kaua‘i’s historical roots with mentor and Leadership Kaua‘i Cultural Consultant Puna Kalama Dawson.

The retreat will provide teen participants from diverse backgrounds and communities the opportunity to come together and connect as a collaborative team embarking on a journey of self discovery.

After the retreat, monthly classes will be held throughout the island, and cover topics like leadership, success, attitude, goal-setting, effective communication, decision-making and problem-solving.

The program will end with a retreat at Waipa and a formal graduation ceremony.

“The personal empowerment that young participants in Pi‘ina Hoku will gain will serve them and their communities forever,” said Edwards.

“I look forward to watching the students blossom as they participate in the dynamic events we’re planning for the upcoming class.” Adult participants in the Annual Leadership Program will also engage in an exciting and diverse program of activities, trainings and interactive presentations.

Past presenters have included Gov. Linda Lingle, Alexander & Baldwin President and Chief Executive Officer Allen Doane, former Gov. George Ariyoshi, Hawai‘i Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Moon, University of Hawai‘i Athletic Director Herman Frazier, and others.

Leadership Kaua‘i’s motto, “Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua,” means, “Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers.” This phrase comes from “Olelo No‘eau” by Mary Kawena Pukui, and flows into the organization’s objectives to develop leaders with an awareness of and sensitivity to Kaua‘i’s culture and people; educate leaders who will succeed in our unique environment and within our global economy; motivate leaders to effectively address community needs and improve our quality of life; and establish and expand the ranks of Kaua‘i’s leaders.

In addition to the Annual Leadership Program and Pi‘ina Hoku, Leadership Kaua‘i sponsors The Kaua‘i Speaker Series and a luncheon speaker series.

For more information about Leadership Kaua‘i and for applications for the Annual Leadership Program and Pi‘ina Hoku, visit www.leadershipkauai.org, or call 246-8727.

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