We had a great time at the Hawaiʻi Children & Youth Summit last week! That was my first time attending the event and it was inspiring to see so many youth at the Capitol at once. As I was trying to find the room location in the morning, I ended up walking with a young woman & her mother who were also going to the summit. After talking story for a bit, it turned out that the girl was one of our alumni. What a great way to start the day!
We made our way down to the chamber floor and the hallway was buzzing with exhibitors, parents and students. Everyone seemed excited to start the day’s activities and the space was filled with laughter & good conversation. Val & I set up near the registration tables and once folks saw our “Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking” banner they immediately started coming up to ask questions. We got lots of questions about visiting schools in the neighbor islands and a few folks even had some collaboration ideas/inquiries. I love doing outreach because you get the chance to talk with so many different people and connect with different communities. There was a wide range of organizations there, from social service agencies to arts programs to mentoring programs. I said aloha to friends from Liliʻuokalani Trust and 808 Youth and we each shared what we’ve been working on and what events we have coming up. We have an event soon with LT so we talked about that briefly and shared how excited we both are about it.
Throughout the day, Val & I were also streaming alumni videos & other short clips from our Vimeo and it was great to see the reactions from students passing by. We had multiple girls come up who had previous film experience and/or an interest in film, but weren’t sure where to go – until now! We passed out all our flyers for Spooky Reel Camp (coming up October 26-28), shared info about upcoming events and got lots of sign-ups for our email list.
We met adults and youth from all throughout the islands over the course of the day and everyone was extremely open and friendly. The organizing staff was helpful, checked in with us throughout the day, and provided an ʻono lunch. Students were eager to talk story with us and one girl even brought us some POG because she overheard us talking about how it looked good. After reflecting on our experience, I feel like that one brief interaction actually summarizes the whole energy of the day. There was a sense of aloha and kuleana being exchanged between the youth and adults participants, and it was beautiful to connect all in one place to help create positive social change. Though we didn’t get a chance to see much of the work the youth were doing, I could feel their positive energy after each portion of the day. This year’s summit theme was “Your Voice Can Change the World,” a quote from Barack Obama. I think I can speak for all of us at Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking when I say we truly believe this. I hope some of the girls we met consider using their voices to make impactful films with us one day, and I look forward to seeing what sort of positive policy reform comes from this next generation of change makers.
Mahalo and hope to see you there next year!