The Maui Nui Youth Council Leadership and Advocacy Retreat

Saturday, April 22nd was a full day.

It was Earth Day, 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, which came together for the first time to participate in a Leadership and Advocacy Retreat.

The Maui Nui Youth Council (MNYC) 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 as a youth-driven, adult-guided coalition for students 12-20 years old.

MNYC is an opportunity for the youth of Maui, Molokai and Lana’i 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 and 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. 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 and to start thinking about our three topic areas: underage drinking, tobacco use, and obesity.

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.

Our next meeting will be on Saturday, May 27th at Twin Falls. If you or someone you know is interested in joining us, please email Ashlee Chapman at atachapman@myfs.org for more information and how to sign up.