The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in dis-covering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.
Brilliant Voices... Brilliant VolunTourism!
Brilliant Voices is telling a story to which we should all be paying greater attention. They are "living" a narrative of how it is possible to operate collaboratively with the nonprofit sector to sustain the environment and native cultures AND incorporate unique programming and tourism elements to create a balanced VolunTourism experience in beautiful Hawaii.
For this issue, I caught up with Heather Parsons, Program Manager of Brilliant Voices. She is extremely excited about their VolunTourism efforts, and after hearing about them, I could see why. But what may be most exciting for our readers is the fact that Brilliant Voices, which has traditionally catered to the business tourism market, is now opening its doors to the group leisure travel market.
A Brief History & Background
A branch of Inner Ocean Publishing, a national book publishing company located on Maui, Brilliant Voices provides unique Hawaii Enrichment and Life Enrichment programming within the Hawaiian Islands for corporate and local business.
Working with individuals, community organizations, and local nonprofits, we create unique and meaningful experiences—such as building a Native Hawaiian fishpond, exploring creativity through storytelling, or preparing and eating Lau Lau on a taro farm. All of our activities aspire to raise awareness of environmental and cultural issues, support our local community, and create lasting, one-of-a-kind impressions. In addition, addressing the specific needs of each customer, our Enrichment Programs facilitate learning around issues related to teambuilding, communication, creativity, leadership, wellness practices, work-life balance, personal growth, and more.
Brilliant Voices works in partnership with non-profit organizations to help our customers become better corporate citizens and understand the benefits and rewards of giving back to the islands. We are working to sustain and support the people, culture and natural beauty of the Hawaii, so that we preserve and protect our resources for generations to come and for all to enjoy.
We have created enriching and uplifting teambuilding experiences that allow our customers to give back, not only with corporate donations, but also more importantly with personal contributions of time and effort from each participant. Please see our community enrichment topic area for more information on how you can help by working on restoration, preservation and construction projects that support coastline protection, marine life, the ocean and Hawaiian culture and history, as well as supporting the people of our communities who are in need.
Tuesdays 10am ET/7am PT
Our vision is to create a meaningful experience for all that is about people helping people, while working to preserve and care for these beautiful islands. We can customize programs for any size group and provide your guests with an enriching, uplifting and unique experience that they will remember and cherish forever.
The Philosophy (Our Commitment)
We believe that everyone has a responsibility to give back in order to honor, sustain and preserve the beauty and the culture that is around us and we encourage this good stewardship from our customers. When we bill for services and on behalf of our non-profit partners, we kindly request a donation to the organization of your choice, equivalent to 3% of the services that we bill for. This donation is voluntary and tax deductible and your check will be made out directly to the non-profit organization. We thank you in advance for your kindness.
Unique Volunteer Activities
I asked Heather to select three projects that she felt were truly unique based upon the destination. Here are the three that she chose:
I. Restore a Cloud Bridge
Enjoy sweeping views of southern Haleakala and the Big Island while contributing to the preservation of Hawaii’s most beautiful forests. Plant a rare tree such as the A’e, where only three or four trees are left on Maui. Chat with biologist to learn about the biological diversity of Haleakala and help with koa forest restoration.
II. Enter the Heart of Hana
Join us on a journey back to ancient Hawaii and a sacred place called Kapahu Living Farm in Kipahulu, East Maui. They offer customized educational tours, executive retreats, and corporate teambuilding exercises to guests who are seeking authentic Hawaiian cultural and environmental activities in an incomparable setting.
Kapahu Living Farm is a jewel of sustainability and a working community set in a lush agricultural landscape. Your group can participate in a wealth of activities, in an extraordinary tropical habitat with truly authentic teachers.
III. Rebuild a Wall, Revitalize a Culture
Join ‘Ao‘ao O Nā Loko I‘a O Maui (Assn. of the Fishponds of Maui) as they rebuild the ancient ruins of this cultural treasure. Hosted by Kimokea, a Hawaiian kupuna (teacher), get wet and help gather small rocks and coral for the revitalization of the fishpond. Or collect limu along the shores, wrap them around coral rubble, and then replant them near the fishpond. If you prefer to stay dry, work on a native plant restoration project onshore.
Save a Native Rainforest
The leaders and guides for this expedition-style adventure are heroic in their own right, and inspire a kind of dedication that will motivate your group. Hana is known throughout the world as the most heavenly, magical place on earth, and you will play a critical role in keeping it that way. Receive an introduction to the area’s natural and cultural history, invasive species control efforts, and protocols. Then take a hike surveying for miconia, an invasive species detrimental to the native rainforest.
Invasive species can wreak havoc on the natural beauty of Hawaii, destroying the gorgeous native plants and wildlife that locals and visitors alike enjoy. The Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) is committed to fighting to protect Maui County from plants and animals that threaten our environment, economy, and quality of life. With your help, we can work to protect East Maui from miconia, the biggest threat to the native rainforest habitat. Miconia’s prolific seed production, large leaves, and shallow roots quickly overwhelm native habitats.
- Enter an incredible natural area seen only by a chosen few that includes waterfalls, coastal trails, red and black sand beaches
- Challenge your team to go beyond their physical and mental limits
- Get a hands-on opportunity for environmental preservation
- Groups of 10 to 50
- 3 hour drive from resort areas
- Early morning start, so an overnight in a Hana hotel or B&B is recommended.
- MISC provides dedicated work gear
- Moderately strenuous hiking across uneven terrain
- Activities include: Talk story about the area’s cultural and natural history; eco-hike through natural areas; hands-on work to pull miconia plants nearing maturity
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