By Annali Dolman — Between May 31st and August 3rd 2015, senior Nonprofit Leadership majors Hannah Bruins and Ellen Stewart engaged in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, traveling and interning with Kohala Mountain Educational Farm (KMEF), located in Kohala, Hawaii.
While there, Hannah and Ellen lived on Kahua Ranch and assisted KMEF transition from a forprofit organization to a not-for-profit organization. They were responsible for writing the organization’s mission and vision statements, bylaws, as well as job descriptions for the future board members. Additionally they planned, organized, and held three information sessions for the local community. Hannah and Ellen also helped out on the farm whenever they were needed.
When ask about their favorite memories and experience on the trip, Hannah said, “My favorite experience was our hike to Waimanu Valley. This, however, was Ellen’s least favorite experience. It was a nine mile hike through 13 valleys. We definitely weren’t the most prepared we could have been, but that was part of the adventure. The hike reminded me of a mini Outward Bound experience. It gave me a lot of time to reflect and make some interesting discoveries about myself. The valleys and terrain throughout the entire hike was absolutely breathtaking. I loved the hike because I got to push myself physically and mentally. By doing this I made peace with a lot of things that were going on in my life at the time and, in return, got a new vigor for life. This experience gave me a new sense of self-worth and I am now back to the woman I love being, which is a woman who loves life and all those around her and is just generally happy with whatever situation is given to her.”
Ellen said that the Hawaiian food was “some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. My favorite memory was receiving rare shells from a member of the royal order of Hawaii”.
Hannah effectively summarized the entire experience by saying, “Life is such a precious and beautiful gift, why waste it?”
For more information about Kohala Mountain Educational Farm, visit their website at http://www.kohalamountainpumpkinpatch.com. Additionally, you can view their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kohalamountaineducationalfarm?fref=ts.