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KULA, Maui — Some of the state’s most at-risk youth from Hawai‛i Girls Court spent three days and two nights in Haleakalā National Park as part of an immersive outdoor experience. From October 5-7, 2022, four young women, from 14-15 years old, and three Court staff members joined National Park Service employees to learn about stewardship, Hawaiian culture, ecology, and themselves.
The Oahu-based Girls Court group spent time hiking and exploring the park with biologists, law enforcement officers, cultural resource experts, trail crewmembers, and park rangers. Park staff shared their knowledge and their own personal experiences in overcoming challenges to succeed in their careers. The young participants learned about wilderness, astronomy, native forest birds, and Hawaiian culture. In reflecting about the experience, a participant said, “I got to learn a lot about of new things and got to see animals I’ve never seen, like nēnē, ʻiʻiwi, and ʻapapane.” Another participant added, “I genuinely had fun. What I enjoyed most was looking at Saturn’s rings. I’ve seen the night sky before but not from this high.”
Hawai'i Girls Court, established in 2004 by O‛ahu Family Court Judge Karen Radius, is a laboratory court with gender-specific programs for at-risk girls in the juvenile justice system. One of the first in the nation, Hawai'i Girls Court focuses on empowering girls to keep them from re-offending. Judge Dyan Medeiros of the O'ahu First Circuit Family Court said of the Haleakalā immersion program, "Spending time in this environment and learning these life skills is an invaluable experience for our youth, many of whom have never been able to experience nature or mentoring in quite this way.”
The immersion trip was funded and supported by the park’s philanthropic partner, Haleakalā Conservancy. Haleakalā Conservancy and Haleakalā National Park are committed to supporting youth through the Girls Court and many other education and internship programs.
To learn more about these opportunities visit: www.nps.gov/hale/getinvolved/index.htm.
Last updated: October 12, 2022