Applications for Kupu’s Free Programs on the Big Island Available

January 30, 2018, 12:30 PM HST
* Updated January 30, 11:50 AM
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Kupu, a conservation and youth education organization, announced that applications are now open for its Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) Summer and year-round Conservation Leadership Development programs. Youth from 17 years old living in Hilo and other parts on the eastern side of Hawai‘i Island can apply for the free programs, which provide cultural and environmental education and job training opportunities throughout the island.

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“Kupu’s HYCC Summer and Conservation Leadership Development programs are the core of our conservation initiatives,” said Kupu CEO John Leong. “These programs offer cultural and environmental education and provide unique hands-on job training and skills that have helped so many of our program alumni to establish successful careers in Hawai‘i’s green jobs workforce.”

Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps Summer Program

Kupu’s seasonal Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) Summer program is a full-time, seven-week program available statewide. Select applicants on Hawai‘i Island will work in teams to engage in outdoor conservation work like clearing invasive vegetation, planting native species, maintaining trails and parks, and restoring cultural and environmental sites throughout the island.

Team member applicants must be between 17 to 20 years old. Upon completing the program, they will receive volunteer and education award stipends, and may qualify for college credit. Team leaders, who oversee team members, must be 21 years or older and will also receive an education award in addition to living allowances.



The HYCC Summer program starts with a one-week training camp on O‘ahu for team leaders on Tuesday, May 29, and on Monday, June 4 for members. The program ends on Friday, July 20, 2018, followed by graduation ceremonies on each island.

This summer, Kupu is seeking up to 20 team members and four team leaders for its east Hawai‘i Island teams and five team members and one team leader for its west Hawai‘i Island team. Applications are now available for both positions online. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.

“Kupu really teaches you, not only about the world around you, but who you are in that world,” said former HYCC-Summer Hawai‘i Island team member Keakealani Pacheco. “The relationships you build with the people around you and the ʻāina around you is worth any amount of slight discomfort you’ll have sleeping on the floor. It teaches you to get out of your comfort zone and see a new side of yourself. Conservation especially humbles you to be the person you always saw yourself being.”


Conservation Leadership Development Program

For those interested in a more extensive, entry-level job training opportunities, Kupu offers an eight-week summer or 10-month year-round Conservation Leadership Development program (CLDP), in which individuals will be placed at a conservation and natural resource management non-profit or government agency throughout the state or Pacific.

Applicants must be 17 years or older and if selected will receive living allowances and education award money to use toward higher education, while gaining mentoring and job-training working on in-office or outdoor field projects.

The eight-week summer program runs from Monday, June 11 through Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. Applications are available online and due by Feb. 28, 2018. Positions for the extended, 10-month internship program start in October 2018, and applications will be available from Feb. 1 until positions are filled. Priority placement will be given to selected participants who apply by Saturday, June 30, 2018.

“Kupu has bridged the gap between conservation and Hawaiian culture for me,” said the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Conservation Leader Keely Hassett, who worked at various refuge sites, including Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. “It has provided me with a foundation of purpose and service which I will take with me into the rest of my career.”

Organizations or companies on Hawai‘i Island seeking conservation youth corps services or interns to work on environmental projects, may partner with Kupu to become host sites for its current programs, or create new position opportunities. Kupu staff manages and mentors program participants to best prepare them for their positions and provide quality work throughout their program. To learn more about how you can become a Kupu program partner, visit Kupu or email [email protected].

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