Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative's  
8th Annual Youth Leadership Summit 
June 22-29, 2012
MVYLI Youth Leadership Summit 2012 

Hawaii Youth Delegates


Kynan Kawai
Kamehameha Schools Hawaii Keaau Nominated by David Fuertes Ka Hana No'eau Partners in Development   


Allie Kitchens
Nominated by Jenny White Environmental Club
Kealakehe High School   


Manoa Johansen
Nominated by Jason Cifra and Kamaka Mahi Gunderson Hawaii Community College   


Trevor Tanaka
Konawaena High School
Nominated by
Nancy Redfeather
The Kohala Center   

Makana Tavares

Nominated by Betsy Boland Kanu o ka 'Āina New Century Public Charter, Waimea

Allen Farm

This Summit was a real eye opener. It gave me the urge to want to have a vision of what I want my future to be like. It also gave me the tools to help achieve that goal. All the workshops that I was able to be included in for this Summit improved my skills as a future sustainable businessman.

-- Kynan

Bella & Trevor
Kynan, Trevor and Manoa workgroup
Makana with sign

Hawaiians in Oak Bluffs

The Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative sponsored five young people from the County of Hawaii to serve as delegates to the 8th Annual Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development.


At this weeklong intensive leadership training Hawaii youth envisioned their personal, professional, island and planetary goals and created action plans for their lives and for sustainable projects.


Lucy Vincent Beach Art The Summit began with a journey to Lucy Vincent Beach where youth find their "magic stone" and create an ocean art design in support of's Hands Across the Sand.


The Sustainable Vineyard Tour of sustainable agriculture, architecture, business, cultures, and energy -- from the Aquinnah Cultural Center, Allen Farm, Island Grown Schools, to the Island Co-Housing. SHYLI youth enjoyed kayaking with the Trustees of the Reservation at Cape Pogue and then a tour of Leslie and Winn Self's energy self-sufficient home.

Selfs Kayaking

This year's Summit featured a Multicultural Opening Ceremony with Amira Lanere Madison (Wampanoag Tribe Gayhead-Aquinnah) and Sam Low who spoke about the Polynesian Voyaging Society. Hawaiian youth delegates performed a special welcoming ceremony.  


Amira Lanere Madison Hawaiian Blessing




Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo for hosting us on Martha's Vineyard. The time we spent with you as our hosts was truly inspiring and enriching, I look forward to future collaborations. Amira's cultural sharing really meant something to all of us and was something that I, personally, was able to connect to most deeply. I miss everyone and am so grateful that I was able to be a part of the Summit, which helped us to build bridges and collaborate on paths toward change together! 

Me ke aloha pumehana, Makana


At the Summit they learned from our diverse faculty including the sustainable leaders like Noli Taylor, Island Grown Schools (who was Nancy Redfeather's student). Amira Lanere Madison, Aquinnah Cultural Center and Sam Low spoke about the Polynesian Voyaging Society. Bella El-Deiry and Doris Clark spoke about MVYLI's College Prep & Field Trip Program and Job Shadow Day. The Stone Soup Leadership Institute's board Nane Alejandrez and Marsha Reeves-Jews shared their wisdom and seasoned youth leaders Josue Cruz and Kassandra Castillo shared their joy for realizing their goals and their passion for giving back. Each day Hawaiian youth also shared their language, dance and cultural blessings.


The SHYLI youth delegation shared presentations on sustainable initiatives on their island. Makana on Sustainable Cultures, Kynan on Sustainable Agriculture and Business, Allie on Sustainable Architecture, Trevor on Sustainable Education, and Manao on Sustainable Environments.

Manoa's sign Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative co-founder Emma HallBilsback presented the Sustainable Vineyard 2020 Report that builds on the two-year Sustainable Vineyard Map Project in partnership with the Martha's Vineyard Commission.


During the Summit, they developed Sustainability-In-Action Plans for the coming year. They created posters to inspire and remind themselves of their dreams for the lives, their Island and the world.


Marthaʻs Vineyard was more intriguing than I thought. It is an Island people with the Wampanoag people working to revive their language and culture. Totally rewarding!    I believe the mission and goals of the Initiative are valuable and really good. Our students gave valuable perspectives.
-- Kamaka Mahi Gunderson



Sharing Our Vision   

Resolution 15: Sustainable Education in all Hawaii Schools. For the last year, Trevor Tanaka has been shepherding Resolution #15 to require all Hawaii schools to teach at least one course on sustainability. During the Summit, Trevor and Kynan had the opportunity to share their vision on the national radio - Keeping It Moving with Marsha Reeves- Jews. WEAA 88.9FM from Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD. Makana wrote an inspired article that was published in the Civil Beat, Honolulu (see page 4).


Fantastic! Great article by Makana. Congratulations to everyone for a job well done. It's great to see SHYLI progressing.
Barbara Garcia, Publisher, Ke Ola Magazine


The Summit is the cornerstone of SHYLI's year-round program. SHYLI youth are now working with their schools and nominating organizations to engage others to implement their Sustainability-In-Action projects.During the coming year, they will stay connected with other youth delegates by using technology to share their progress and trouble-shoot their challenges as they implement their Sustainability-In-Action projects.


Mahalo for all you do for our children. Kynan felt it was productive. On Monday night, I had him speak to about 75 people working on our "North Kohala Growing a Local Food System" meeting and he shared his potential project. Senator Malama Solomon was one of the attendees and both made the connection.  
- David Fuertes, Ka Hana No'eau, Partners in Development



A'ohe hana nui ka alu'ia

No task is too big when done together.
Hawaii 24/6

Waimea student shares sustainable summit experiences

Published: July 17, 2012


Group at Lake Tashmoo Six days isn't a viable window of time in which to develop a plan to change the world. Neither is six months, six years, or even six decades. Those involved in the Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development, though, are an indomitable force in spurring the conversations that will contribute in various ways to global change. I'm absolutely sure of this because they already have.


This weeklong Summit was an opportunity for sharing - of places, cultures, and approaches to innovative thinking and acting. What left the greatest impression on me was the realization of the innate commonality inherent among island peoples, regardless of geographical location. All of us youth shared a unique perspective on our islands, whether Martha's Vineyard, Vieques, or Hawaii, that was reflected in our lifestyles and our histories. This common ground was a springboard for starting conversations and building connections across the oceans that separate and define us. As we discussed being bound by the sea, further reinforced the necessity of our accelerated transition toward self-sufficiency. I was floored by the fact that Martha's Vineyard boasts no national franchises or chains. Contrary to popular belief in these golden days, McDonald's is not essential to survival. This holds promise to a gradual transition towards increasing local business to stimulate island economies, allowing a rare opportunity for the tourist industry to support the people who make its existence possible.


We were presented with the chance to share all of our cultures at the summit and thus gained insight into the journeys, struggles, and accomplishments of the resident natives of the Wampanoag Tribe; the fragile grasp that Viequesenses try to maintain their Taino roots, and even the difficulty facing African-Americans in identifying a clear cultural foundation, for their long-term heritage. Discussing how to sustain our culture stirred in me a deep sense of gratitude for my kulaiwi (my homeland) and the people who have given me the desire to be an active participant in the preservation of Hawaii, a place steeped in tradition and an unwavering cultural identity.


I feel so fortunate to have this perennial foundation as a definitive aspect of my personality. Realizing this only lit the fire within me to learn and share all that I can. I was astonished by everyone's responsiveness to the sharing of Hawai's island traditions. It was very encouraging and humorous at times to be among people eager to make lei, or learn an oli, or try li hing mui for the first time. This open-minded willingness really facilitated the breaking down of barriers. It was the basis for the bonds that are the lasting result of our collective experience. This spirit of enthusiasm also permeated the individual goals we set for our selves, our island, and our world. Every delegate has goals, which may not be set in stone, but that they exist at all is what is most important.


As a person not yet sure of my path I was inspired by the ambitions of my peers, some to work in local agribusiness, be a pediatrician, and even one day become president. The clarification and vocalization, rather than the solidification of these dreams is the goal of the Summit, which serves as an environment in which we shared our hopes and began to create a plan towards bringing them to fruition.

At the center of this Summit were the ideas of improvement and evolution, whether in the area of environmental sustainability, global relations and standards of living, or personal five-year planning. In less than a week I feel like I was given greater visibility into the type of world that I want to be a part of building. The type of world that will grow slowly in the midst of global conflict, but will grow nonetheless if the voices represented at this Summit are the ones building it.


We talked often about the seventh generation, and assessing our actions as they affect our successors hundreds of years into the future. The people involved in this summit really put that into perspective for me and made me think about the past and how we are the seventh generation once carefully, or perhaps not so carefully considered by our own ancestors.

The results of their actions have been manifested in the lives we lead today and this makes me contemplate more closely the future I want to be instrumental in creating for those forthcoming.

Our actions bear a much greater weight than we think and this Summit experience has impressed upon me a desire to enact the positive existence that will define this generation as the people who thought about and made changes to not only accommodate, but to shape the future.

- Makana Tavares, KANU (Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana), Waimea
Official Messages from Hawaii leaders:
Senator Akaka, Governor Abercrombie, Mayor Billy Kenoi

We are very proud of Hawai'i Island's youth delegates, and congratulate them on being selected as representatives of the Big Island. We extend a warm Aloha to all the delegates and wish them great success as they embark on this journey toward a more secure future for their islands and the rest of the world. -- Mayor Billy Kenoi


 I send a special Mahalo to the Sustainable Hawai'i Youth Leadership Initiative and the Stone Soup Leadership Institute for their support of the Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development. These contributions of support and time provide the foundations for our future's leadership and an environment that allows young individuals to become actively engaged in making our world a better place. -- Governor Neil Abercrombie


I welcome this opportunity to congratulate this year's youth delegates for their outstanding contribution to the economic stability and sustainable development in our state. The delegates have shared their dreams and goals. They have demonstrated a clear understanding of their green initiatives on Hawaii Island, applying innovative management and use of technology in order to create sustainable agriculture, building, business, cultures and energy. I commend the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative and the Stone Soup Leadership Institute for their continued sponsorship of this innovative program that has helped further the readiness of Hawaii's youth to develop and implement their Sustainability-In-Action Project that benefits their community. -- U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka

Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative

Mahalo To Our Sponsors

County of Hawai'i   Hawaiian Airlines    Hawai'i Community College, Hilo  Kuki'o Foundation

Big Island Youth Lead the Way to Sustainability, Big Island Weekly, May 23, 2012


SHYLI is a local branch of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, an educational non-profit organization founded on the island of Martha's Vineyard in 1997. The Institute builds innovative public-private partnerships that develop healthier, sustainable communities -- and organizes youth-community leadership initiatives, on the islands of Martha's Vineyard, Hawaii and the Caribbean.    


Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative

P.O. Box 1235 * Kailua-Kona, HI