Saturday, April 22nd, was a full day.
It was Earth Day… and the three-year anniversary of the County of Maui Tobacco-Free Beaches and Parks Law… and the kick-off for the Maui Nui Youth Council (MNYC), which came together for the first time to participate in a Leadership and Advocacy Retreat.
The Maui Nui Youth Council was established as a collaboration between Maui County’s Underage Drinking Prevention Coalition, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i, and the Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) coalition.
MNYC is an opportunity for the youth, age 12-20, of Maui, Molokai and Lanai to gain leadership and advocacy skills and have opportunities to lead real change in the community. Participating students will receive education on the impacts of underage drinking, drug use, tobacco use and the risks of obesity. Youth will be given skills training in social change theory and learn about how to develop real policies and laws that would better the lives of youth across the county.
The first ever MNYC retreat was an all-day event held at Giggle Hill in Haiku, Maui. The weather was beautiful, allowing for some really entertaining team building exercises, a very insightful cultural heritage exploration activity, and a crash course in strategic prevention framework and community assessment. We were also able to plan for our future monthly Make Change meetings, which will focus on three topic areas: underage drinking, tobacco use, and obesity.
(Editor’s Note: The first “Make Change” meeting was held on Saturday, May 27th at Twin Falls, and future meetings will be held monthly at various locations across the island.)
To see the youth leaders and participants communicate, engage, and grow throughout the day was truly inspiring and we look forward to helping guide this amazing group of youth forward as they make positive changes for the County of Maui.