MOLOA’A — Two hundred Kauai girls from all over the island came together Oct. 21 for an empowerment event at Retro Farms in Moloa’a.
The third annual Pink Pineapple Project gives the girls a chance to meet new friends, gain farming skills and improve self-confidence, all while enjoying a day in nature. The event, open to girls age 7 and up, included several Girls Scout troops from as far away as Koloa and Kalaheo and school groups from Hanalei, Kanuikapono and St. Catherine’s schools.
The Zonta Club of Hanalei has been a strong supporter and financial contributor to the Pink Pineapple Project since its beginning three years ago.
“The Pink Pineapple Project really embodies the mission and vision of Zonta International which is to; empower women through service and advocacy,” Said Karen Abubo, president of Zonta Club of Hanalei.
As the girls arrived at Retro Farms and made the trek up the hill to the open fields and gathering area, they flocked to the fruit smoothie station and enjoyed a healthy drink and engaged in gathering games while waiting for the main event to begin.
Once all the girls were gathered and welcomed, they were separated into groups and headed off to different parts of the farm to start the rotation of six activities.
Nearly 40 volunteers from different backgrounds and occupations donated their time to the program.
The led the girls through lessons in pineapple planting, rock painting, relay races, skill improvement and empowerment lessons.
New this year was Melissa Costales from Kauai Rocks, who led rock painting. Underscoring this year’s kindness theme, the girls were encouraged to share their painted creations with a friend.
Each of the past three years events has had a different empowerment message. The girls relaxed under shade canopies and engaged in lessons geared to improve confidence, self-image and social behaviors.
Melanie Slimko from St. Catherines school has led this activity for all three years and encouraged girls to be kinder to themselves and others as well.
It was an anti-bullying message this year and gave girls tools to fend off negative comments and a greater awareness of the effects of their own words and deeds toward themselves and others.
Surveys conducted post event revealed the girls learned new ways to be kind and had a more positive view of themselves.
“The girl’s excitement and enthusiasm for this project each year, combined with the event survey results, convince us we are hitting the mark with our program. They leave the farm happy and stronger in many ways. That is our goal,” said Mary Ellen Pearlman, Retro Farms Director.
The girls headed back down the hill at the end of the program. They left behind a new grove of pineapples, but took home memories of a day where each girl was an accomplished athlete racing through relays, a hearty farmer getting her hands in the dirt and planting pineapples, a talented artist creating masterpieces, a great friend to all and a queen for the day.