02 Feb Mentoring Youth and Leading with HYCC Community
Growing up on Oʻahu’s Waiʻanae Coast, Kamani Asing has always had a strong connection and passion for working with the ʻāina. It was his curiosity and love for it that lead him to Kupu.
Nearly a decade after graduating from high school, Asing was searching for direction and his place in this world. Out of work, with nothing to do, he would often find himself at Kaʻala Farm, in Waiʻanae, volunteering with the staff, pulling weeds and clearing loʻi (taro patches).
While working for Kaʻala Farm, he was introduced to Kupu. He immediately interested in Kupu’s programs and began working alongside the Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) Community staff and team leaders. It is clear as day for anyone to see that Asing really loves what he is doing. His passion for this program, the land, and others, is unquestionable.
Kupu’s HYCC Community program is a perfect fit for Asing’s love for people, place and culture. Now through Kupu’s Conservation Leadership Development Program, Asing was hired as the HYCC Community, Kaʻala Team Leader. As a leader, Asing is always looking to better himself, which in turn encourages those around him to strive to do their best.
During his year of service, Asing often spends his days in the mountains working alongside some of Kupu’s natural resource management partners, and mentoring the youth in his team. Through these hands-on learning opportunities, Asing can model a lifestyle of giving back.
Asing’s inspiring and hardworking attitude was exemplified during the Conservation Leaders’ recent trip to Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi. During this trip, the team helped with various projects – removing invasive weeds from the historic cemetery, clearing trails, cleaning beaches, and planting native Hawaiian plants. This service trip to Kalaupapa highlighted many of Asing’s leadership characteristics; his program coordinators called him the glue that brought the team together. His proud spirit and hardworking demeanor set an excellent example for all to follow, and his overall enthusiasm was truly inspiring and appreciated by everyone. Asing connected with the place as he learned about the history of the cultural sites at Kalaupapa.
Turning his life around, making a difference in his own backyard, mentoring the next generation of leaders in his community – just another “day in the office” for Asing. Whatever you may call it – selfless service, paying it forward, giving back – Asing is finding his place in this community by providing this same direction for the youth around him.