Our Islands, Our Future

Guided by the Focus Maui Nui vision, values and key strategies for action, Youth Alliance members are empowered with the skills and experiences to become leaders for change. For the third consecutive year, 16-year-old Adam Skelton has signed up to be a part of the Youth Alliance. “I’ve learned a lot and picked up experiences I’ve never had before,” the Upcountry student said.

Youth Alliance members in grades 9 through 12 gather monthly during the school year to explore the many facets of the Maui community including the business sector, cultural sites, civic leaders and sometimes a Neighbor Island. This behind-the-scenes look is accompanied by projects and activities that give participants a greater understanding of how the Maui community works. “I wish the program would have been available to me when I was in high school,” said Willow Krause, a 1998 Baldwin High School graduate and Youth Alliance project coordinator.

Skelton said Krause accommodates the students by exploring their fields of interest. For example, Skelton, who has aspirations of building his own business one day, has seen first-hand how local entrepreneurs thrive. He said he’s not interested in a firefighter career, but visiting a local fire station gave him insight into the field. “Firefighters don’t just fight fires. They go out into the community and help out in a number of ways.” Born and reared on Maui, Skelton said it was the Youth Alliance program that brought his attention to local issues such as the previous public school Furlough Fridays, organic farming and points of interests on Lanai.

Skelton said he would highly recommend students to enroll this school year. “I’d say ‘Give it a try and see how you like it. You might just love it.’“ Applications are now being accepted from high school students including those who are homeschooled. The program is free, and the deadline to sign up is Sept. 9. For more information, contact Krause at 875-2432 or willow[at]medb[dot]org.