STEMS² Symposium 2023

Session Title

Poster Presentations

Poster Title

The Impact of Kai-based Education on At-risk Youth: A Case Study with Surfrider Spirit Sessions


At-risk youth, particularly young girls, feel more disconnected than ever. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of an overnight educational program offered by Surfrider Spirit Sessions (SSS), a non-profit organization that offers ocean-based, experiential mentoring programs for Hawai‘i’s at-risk youth. Through this research, the investigator explores the idea that connection to place can foster a stronger sense of connection to self and others, as well as encourage youth to become stewards of the places they love. The evaluation was conducted as a secondary data analysis on data collected by SSS during the program. The study found that through participation in the program, young girls felt the most connection to each other. This connection to each other contributed to feelings of personal growth and connection to place, with participants’ expressing commitment to being stewards of the ocean. This work highlights the positive impacts that overnight place-based educational programming can have on its participants, and the importance of immersive experiences in helping youth feel a sense of belonging and connect more deeply to each other.

STEMS² Pillars: Aʻo, Moʻolelo, Sense of Place, Advocacy


June 28th, 2023, 9:50am–10:50am HST

Location: Posters & Partners (Gather.Town)