By Brandon Roberts
Wind is a strange blessing … strong enough to hoist great clouds upon its back and whip even the most stoic of trees into a frenzy, yet playful enough allow us to dance with it upon the ocean skin.
Human hands have been inspired to create great things with the help of makani (wind). We have circumnavigated the earth with the wind’s guidance and now throw great nets into its currents to power our world. And when winds seem to roar or hide or dance, they can also malama and kokua (care for and help).
Youth In Motion arrived upon such winds with Clare Mawae, who held in her hands a “concept of giving back by helping youth find direction in their life.”
Youth in Motion is a non-profit organization established on Molokai in 1997, driven by volunteerism and introducing a child’s energy with the ocean and the winds. The group is currently putting the malama back in Malama Park with restoration projects and recreation.
Mawae also gives ohana opportunities to stand-up paddle. And if conditions permit, wind-surfing on Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m., near the canoe hale at Kaunakakai Harbor. Nearly 20 volunteers turned out on Saturday, Dec. 4, to help restore the harbor area — a project Mawae predicts will take a year to complete.
Mawae and Youth in Motion have sought no grants to date, following instead with “heart” she expresses while holding a hand to her chest.
Said Mawae: “if the passion is there, everything else will follow.”
To Mawae, it is all about giving back, and she accepts any kokua from those willing to show up for our future generations.
At 16, Mawae was off traveling the world on the professional windsurfing circuit where she was extremely successful for 12 years. From a young age she had little parental guidance and grew up quickly. Her early coming of age was in the ocean winds and she wishes to share this experience with the local youth. Yet where her upbringing lacked the parental aspect, Youth in Motion incorporates adult guidance, whether your back is to the wind or against it.
Mawae’s passion also created the Molokai Challenge, a sailing event from Maui to Molokai that incorporates various modes of catching the trades while raising funds and awareness. Above all else, the event provides opportunities to learn about oneself on the ocean.
Makani, born of chaos, keeps its eye on course. Yet with the courage to grab on, those powerful currents will carry you wherever you like.
If you ever find the harbor like a rainbow of shark fins racing the reef, as the sun burns orange and paints bodies golden with sail or paddle in hand, know that many of them are volunteers and families on Molokai helping to malama the harbor and find meaning in the ocean winds.
To find out more, visit youthinmotion.org or on twitter, @youthinmotionHI.