Trojans Give Back: MHS Choral Program Volunteers at Camp Mokuleia

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By Maiya Ezawa
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(Photo courtesy of Saige Alip (12)) In Camp Mokuleia’s “Garden of Hope” each plant has a significant meaning and is deliberately placed. The staff took time to explain this significance to the various MHS Choir volunteers during their last trip in November.

(Photo courtesy of Saige Alip (12)) In Camp Mokuleia’s “Garden of Hope” each plant has a significant meaning and is deliberately placed. The staff took time to explain this significance to the various MHS Choir volunteers during their last trip in November.

Over the past three months,  MHS’ Choice of Voice, Prima Voice and Ke Kulana Papa Himeni O Mililani Select Choir have dedicated their time to Camp Mokuleia in Waialua, restoring the “Garden of Hope,” an area honoring those who have had family members affected by cancer. These service projects are held once a month and also encourage students to take an active role in the environment. Their most recent trip took place on Nov. 20.

“Knowing that the service we are doing is for families going through such a difficult time is so rewarding. Though I can’t understand the pain they feel, I know it must be so hard and though (volunteering) may be a small act compared to their tremendous trial, I know this means a lot to them. I think they are such brave and amazing people, and helping them in any way is such a blessing,” expressed Senior Karan Bassett.

Camp Mokuleia’s “Garden of Hope” is a lot separated from the main camp where those affected by cancer are invited once a year. “At the camp we do many things. Mostly we work on clearing an orchard they’re growing. They hold an annual camp for families who are affected by cancer, and the trees in the orchard represent life for those families. Our job there is to keep the orchard maintained. We mainly take out weeds and spread mulch on the ground surrounding the trees to act as a weed barrier,” stated Bassett.

Camp Mokuleia not only hosts this exchange but also the annual Chorus Camp. Senior Christopher Kimura explained, “They were extremely gracious hosts to us last year and when we saw that they needed help with the upkeep of the camp, we offered our help.”

In addition to providing service, trips to the camp also provided the chorus a chance to strengthen their bond as a group. “It’s not so bad doing all the work because you know you’re giving back to the community for one, and you’re getting to know the people you didn’t know well. And it’s nice to know you’re helping out people who don’t have as much as you,” explained Senior Saige Alip. “This opportunity has had a wonderful impact on everyone who attends, individually and as a whole. As a group, we definitely feel closer to one another and have developed team working skills in a healthy environment. I believe that serving others is the greatest thing you can do for yourself. Each person is uplifted while and after serving,” added Bassett.

Through bonding and dedication, the MHS Choral Program has had many memorable moments throughout their time at Camp Mokuleia. “My favorite part of the camp is the aura of hospitality that surrounds you when you enter, I always feel welcome there. I’d have to say that my most memorable moment from our most recent visit would be when I dropped a shovel on my foot,” said Kimura.

Though there may be future expansion to the project, for now the monthly trip to the camp will consist of restoration to the “Garden of Hope,” and the program is looking for more volunteers. “In the future (it’ll be improved), but for right now we’re just going to keep continuing what we’re doing. I say just try it. You’ll make friendships that will last for a really, really, really long time,” stated Alip.

The MHS Choir plans to continue their monthly visits to Camp Mokuleia, all the way up until the dates of their Chorus Camp. The MHS Choir advisers work toward trying to integrate personal interaction between the students and the children they’re helping.