Out + About
Maui visitors turn their island visit into an enriching experience
Island visitors volunteer to help local nonprofits raise awareness and funds.
”I want to create what I call a ‘blue mindshift.’ Instead of going green, think ‘deep-blue life.’ It’s more than a beach cleanup.“
Voluntourism is a portmanteau that is heard more often these days at local resorts across the world. The main premise is straightforward: volunteer while playing tourist. Leading a beach clean-up with Canadian visitors, Jaret and Kirra Lockhart, Zane Kekoa Schweitzer talks about shards of microplastics and their origins. He speaks of microbiology and he considers it a moral imperative to keep our beaches and oceans clean.
“I want to create what I call a ‘blue mindshift,’” says the 24-year-old professional waterman, who led the inaugural Novice Enthusiast activity as the first featured Westin Maui Waterman initiative. “Instead of going green, think ‘deepblue life.’ It’s more than just about a beach cleanup, it’s a paradigm shift. It’s being conscientious about the choices you make and taking responsibility for those choices— good or bad.”
The Westin volunteer program allows resort guests to give back to the local community by participating in thoughtfully designed ocean adventures with paddle boarders, boat captains, canoe racers and others who want to share their respect for the water and passion for the environment. These watermen and women will also educate visitors about the national marine sanctuary fronting Kā’anapali Beach and the importance of “malama ‘āina” (“protecting the land”).
“Surrounded by water and in the incredible setting of the largest area of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, we are most excited to share this new endeavor,” says Westin Maui Resort & Spa’s general manager Thomas Foti. “We are delighted to provide a unique, meaningful and mindful travel experience that we hope stays with guests when they return home and continues the malama ‘āina spirit that is so important in Hawai’i.”
Also with a similar goal of keeping our waters thriving and healthy, Trilogy Excursions has led the visitor industry in preserving and protecting Maui’s precious reefs. In 2010, this snorkel- and whale-watching company partnered with the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter and began its highly successful Blue ‘Aina campaign. This monthly sail takes concerned locals and like-minded visitors on one of its state-of-the-art catamarans to a reef where the object is to find and remove debris.
“We’re finding less and less trash, which is the consistent trend,” says Magen Schifiliti, Trilogy’s conservation and education director. “We consider these outings as a ‘floating workshop and community service.’ We conduct water quality testing right on the boat and collect data so participants can see that their efforts make a difference.”
At the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, Fred Findlen encourages hotel guests to get involved with the Susan G. Komen Hawai’i. For the past four years, water enthusiasts—of all skill levels—have participated in a noncompetitive event, which will be held on Oct. 13 as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The annual Maui Paddle for a Cure is very special to us,” says Findlen, general manager at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. “With the support of the community and our guests, it has raised more than $115,000 for Susan G. Komen Hawai’i to date. This year, we aim to encourage more people than ever before to join us in the fight against breast cancer with the addition of Cabanas for a Cure to our other fundraising efforts.”