Where do we stay? -We camp in tents at beautiful locations around the island. Some campsites are at oceanfront beach parks, one is on a private farm in Waipiʻo Valley, another is in an alpine forest in Volcanoes National Park. Our island is the size of Connecticut, so we like to stay near the activities to minimize driving time. We use high quality, waterproof, 4-person tents. Two or three single gender students sleep in each tent. We like to make camping as comfortable as possible. For private groups, we can occasionally sleep in cabins for an extra cost.
Will we have to forage for our food, surviving on nuts and berries? -Nope! We’re not a survival school. In fact, we like to eat well on our courses. The students do most of the group cooking on Coleman stoves, supervised by our field instructors. We eat healthy food, mostly fresh from local farmerʻs markets. Our field instructors often say they eat better on course than at home!
What are the restrooms like? -We use a range of restrooms, from rustic outhouses and porta-potties, to nice flushing toilets. Most campsites have flushing toilets. We usually stay within a reasonably close distance to a restroom during the day.
How often do we take showers? -Most of our campsites have showers, but some do not. But hey, we’re camping! We spend a lot of time in the water, and students often feel fine without one.
Is it safe??? -We are very much an “outdoor” education program, and there are very real and uncontrollable risks when doing anything in the outdoors. There’s always the potential for sprains, broken bones, cuts requiring stitches, or worse. However, all the activities we do are well within the ability range of the average teenager, as long as they are motivated to participate. We carry an extensive first aid kit on the trail and our field instructors are Wilderness First Responder certified. This certification is a 10 day/80 hour class on how to manage illness, injuries, and other incidents in remote settings. We sponsor the training every year through the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS. We want to make sure that not only our instructors, but all outdoor leaders in Hawaiʻi have the training necessary to conduct outdoor excursions safely.
Does HOI have insurance? -Yes, we do. However, students should have their own medical insurance in case of accident, illness, or injury.
Who are the field instructors? -They’re high-quality people! They’re very energetic, genuinely friendly, and passionate about their work. They love Hawai’i and sharing it’s natural beauty with their students. They are trained and certified in Wilderness First Aid. Most have college degrees. Unlike most “teen travel” programs who send trip leaders around the world where they’ve never been, our instructors live here in Hawai’i. They have local knowledge. Solid judgement and good decision making skills are their most important characteristics that help keep our students safe.
What should a student expect on a typical day with HOI? –
What’s this I heard about a rubber chicken? -We often play group games throughout the day. Some are getting to know you games, some are brain teasers, some have educational purposes, and some are just plain fun. We use different props, including a rubber chicken. Our rubber chicken has become quite a rock star amongst our students.