Day 1: 10 days. 20 high school students from across the state of Hawaiʻi. 1 transformative experience.

By Aya Chang

After introductions and a few icebreaker activities, the Nalukai campers embarked on a huakaʻi to the summit of Puʻu Laelae, which is located behind Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy.  What started as as a casual stroll through the grassy hills directly above the HPA Energy Lab, ended with everyone on all fours in the thick, knee-high grass, grasping at the surrounding vegetation to ascend a mere few inches on a nearly 90-degree plane.  The rain, which is beloved to Waimea, fell relentlessly in sheets.

In a conversation about entrepreneurship, the campers identified persistence as one of its key aspects.

“It’s a grind,” said Warren Doi, Nalukai Startup Camp Facilitator, eloquently to the campers in his speech at the end of the day.  “If you don’t love it, you shouldn’t do it.”

Though it aims to inspire, Nalukai does not glamorize the startup experience.  The campers know that if they wish to be successful in the industry one day, they will have to persist through challenges–even those that look like the 90-degree face of a mountain.

And when they succeed, as these campers can attest, it will be worth it.

 The Nalukai 2018 cohort atop Pu'u Laelae on Day 1 of Startup Camp. Photo by Aya Chang.

The Nalukai 2018 cohort atop Pu'u Laelae on Day 1 of Startup Camp. Photo by Aya Chang.

David Clarke