Testimonials: Read what some of our past campers, parents, teachers and community members have to say about Hawai'i Leadership Academy:
"Although I attended almost 15 years ago, the tools remain with me. I practice SLANT in the classroom, keep a positive attitude by practicing Where the Attention Goes, the Energy Flows, and in the midst of conflict, remembering that regardless of who the the relationship is with, on a human level we want the same things. These concepts were planted as seeds in my teenage brain, and over the years have germinated and now these roots have dug deep into my consciousness; and have really influenced who I am today. I know these tools are useless unless I use them...I want to express my deepest gratitude to you for giving me these gifts. "
"Greetings from a man whose life has been forever changed by Winners' Camp! Not a day goes by that I don't think about the lessons I learned from camp and how blessed I was to be a part of camp at such an important time in my life. Little did I know when I was a team leader at camp that I would learn lessons that I would send forward to my then unborn children."
"A special thank you to Delorese and the entire Winners' Camp Ohana. I loved getting the daily email with pictures from camp, I loved seeing my daughter's smile, it gave me peace of mind.
Winners' Camp is a magical place where hearts are drawn together to learn and grow from the staff and each other. It is amazing the gifts that she took away from this experience and I look forward to seeing them continue to unfold. I hope many more teens are able to experience the synergy of Winner's Camp.
Parent Day was great. It was nice to see the friendships that had been formed and the skills that had been taught. We had a wonderful drive home and she had stories for hours. I loved just listening to her heart sing about her adventures and her experiences.
Before my daughter left home, she had all of these preconceived notions about what she could or couldn't do and I told her that I was excited to hear if she had the same beliefs when she came back. She said she wasn't going to be able to do the trust fall, the high or low ropes and she wouldn't be able to break through the board. She was able to ALL of that and more.
Thank you again to all of your staff! You make a difference in the lives of our youth.
"Since my kids have been attending winners camp over the last couple years, they have become more confident and more comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. I've noticed better family relationships and, as unlikely as it seems, my two eldest sons actually get along. I am especially grateful for the leadership experience that my oldest son, Gabriel, has received. I know that it will serve him well when he goes off to college. Also, the staff volunteering at winners camp are so friendly, enthusiastic and responsible. Thank you so much for making a great difference to our family."
-Mele Abrams, Homeschool Parent
"I have changed for the better having attended and worked at Winners' Camp. It is an incredible program!"
- Jessica, Graduate Staff Team Leader
"Dear Winners' Camp Ohana: When I was informed I would be spending my spring break at a camp, I was NOT happy. But over the week I made so many friends and learned soooo much. And...in order to REALLY remember all I have learned, I want to come back to camp because "Repeition is the Mother of Skill" ;-)"
- Sally, Spring Break Camper
"To all the Aunties and Uncles of the Winners' Camp Ohana: you provided me with a chance to make new friends and learn about myself. You gave me a place to be, a new home and a loving ohana that I know I can always turn to. There are so many great people here! At the end of the week, I leave with the knowledge that I am better and that the world is what I make of it."
- Emma, Spring Break Camper
"Winners' Camp has improved my life drastically. Every time I come to camp I better myself. The very first time I came to camp I was very shy and I didn't want to participate. Now, I am on staff (for the second time!) and I barely remember what I was like to be shy! My academics have improved and my self-confidence has increased from using the skills I learned at Winners' Camp."
- Kari, Winners' Camp Graduate Staff
"I love all the pictures you have up on the camp website! Very well done! Another camp is around the corner! Do you still teach SLANT? That has been one of the most useful pieces and I swear it helped me get A's in college. I've taught it to Ely, since now he's back in school. In some of my interviews I've been asked "What is a leader?", or "Describe someone who has been a mentor in my life". I have spoken about you several times. I just want you to know that you have taught me so much and given me so many tools for life. You truly impress me and I am continually inspired by you and your example."
- Bridget Dial, Graduate
"I wanted to extend a huge thank you on behalf of Punahou Aquatics. Since we returned from camp there has been such a huge change in morale. I hear the kids walking around the pool deck saying some of the acronyms they learned. I think the kids had so much fun and some of them have mentioned to me that they had a certain impression of people before the camp and found out that they were way different. This experience helped bond our team in a way that no practice or swim meet could. I also think it is very admirable of what you are doing with your staff in training them to be leaders. I was particularly impressed with Summer and Joseph. They were great with our swimmers. They were positive and they were funny. I think many of the great rewards from this weekend will be reaped much longer down the line but overall I was very impressed by the program you ran. From the bottom of my heart, thank you from Punahou Aquatics."
- Joe, Punahou Aquatics
"Winners' Camp has always meant so much to me and continues to be present in my daily work. Just this last week I was a part of a committee of teachers developing a more consistent and effective goal-setting program. I brought SMART goals to our team and how our teachers and students will use SMART goals in all of our classes. Yesterday, I had my first 7th grade girls class and I opened class with "Ano Ano". Just thought you might want to hear about some of the ways that Winners' Camp still lives in my life and the lives of the kids I work with."
- Mara Pavich
"I attended Winners’ Camp during the spring and summer of 2008, and those two sessions, held at the Hawaii Leadership Academy in Hawaii Kai, has had a big impact on how I see life.
Maybe life isn’t as great as some people pictured – we all have to learn with disappointment – but we all have to learn to be proud of our successes too.
At Winners’ Camp, no matter the challenges we face and circumstances we end up in, we learn the skills to face them and the core values to live by.
The curriculum is based on personal performance, academic activities, and social skills.
Personal performance: tests us both physically and mentally. There are ropes and challenge courses which test how we strategize, communicate, and most importantly, trust each other.
In certain challenges, we have to ask ourselves, “Do I trust this person?” Other challenges are a metaphor symbolizing our goals.
We share our metaphor for physical strength, mental power, or even letting go of regretful moments. All these experiences help us move towards better future.
Academic activities help us enhance the performance in the classroom. Even if its summer or spring break, we still learn, including how to approach things in school a different way.
Normally, we may think that if something is too difficult, it can’t be done. However, at Winner’ Camp, we are taught that there is more than one way we can approach a problem. We also learn about the SATs tests that many of us must take at some point and even practice the vocabulary part of the test. We learn them by using the words in a skit, also by song.
Social skills we learn there help us interact in society. This doesn’t just mean getting along with our friends, rather our family and teachers too.
We also learn conflict resolution, specifically resolving problems without using violence. The important part of this is to know that we are never alone. This is a big part of life. When life seems at its lowest we forget that people are there to lift us back up.
Winners’ Camp is really living the title “The Best Place for Teenagers on the Planet.” I think it is, and that is why I have returned to work on staff.
The curriculum is an extremely helpful leadership course that everyone can enjoy – and the food is always home cooked with care and the best anyone could ask for.
The whole experience is life changing. Teens and their parents won't be disappointed in the results."
- Dylan Encarnacion, Kaiser High School, Honolulu
"Camp was one of the BEST times I have ever had in my life! I really learned so much that I KNOW will help me in high school. Winners' Camp has shown me what true friendships are really like. I made some of the greatest friends ever! At first, I didn't think I would like camp and thought it would be really dumb, but boy was I wrong. I learned to do so many things working as a team and learning to trust other people. Everyone was so nice and encouraging and the food was so ONO!! I am going to try to get a job so I can go to camp next time. Then I want to go again and become a camp counselor. I am not brave enough yet, but by the second time I think I will be. Now I am setting my goals high and want to achieve them more than anything. I want to go to college and be either a doctor or teacher. Thank you again for helping me be able to attend your camp. It is a wonderful camp and I hope to see all of you again real soon!"
- Alicia Clark, Jammin' July 2009 Camper
"Winners' Camp, thank you! The food was DELICIOUS!""
- 2009 Camper
"I've learned so much from my past experiences of being a camper at Hawai'i Leadership Academy. It would mean a lot if I could go (as a team leader) and help out kids like myself. It would be amazing to teach other kids to come out of their comfort zone so they can take a RISK and let kids know it's okay to freely express their opinion into the world. I'd like to teach kids to work together. Winners' Camp meant so much to me I've been trying to talk my best friend into going there. I really think she could use the experience: I feel she's taken too many things for granted and Winners' Camp would open her eyes to see how wonderful Kauai and the world is. Thank you so much for teaching me all that you have."
- A Kauai Camper and Jammin' July 09 Team Leader
"Ever since Winners' Camp I've been a more positive, loving and caring person. What I liked about Winners' Camp was LEADERSHIP and TRUST!! I now trust myself and my friends. You don't know how much Winners' Camp changed my life. The first time, I was so nervous and scared I didn't know what to do, but once I started to hear what you were saying I automatically realized how negative I was. I used to dislike myself and always put myself down but you helped me be that person I always wanted to be. I really couldn't have done it without you and the staff members. I remember I was so scared to go on the ropes courses but thanks to the ohana I had, I trusted in them. I believe in my ohana!"
- Another Kauai Camper and Jammin' July 09 Team Leader!
"Initially, I didn’t think Emma got anything out of Winner’s Camp and then, I and others started to notice things. Emma is walking with a new confidence; her head is up and her back is straight (previously, she would look at the ground and was kind of hunched over). Emma looks directly into people’s eyes when she is speaking and leans forward, as if interested in what others are saying. She blurts slogans out, “FEAR, SLANT” and has a clear understanding of what they mean. She now smiles and says “hi” to people that she does not know. Emma is terrified of new experiences and yet jumped out of bed this morning for her first day of high school – she even set her own alarm clock!"
Olivia’s change was apparent when she told me she loved me in public at Parent’s Day. I ask her to do things one time and she does them. She is able to anticipate or notice when I need help (a totally new behavior). Olivia’s room is spotless (another new behavior). She says “please” and “thank you” and kisses me each night before she goes to bed. On Monday she asked me if I needed help with anything; I thought I was going to have a stroke! I said, “We are having a garage sale on Saturday, so don’t make any plans for Friday” and braced myself for the attack. Olivia replied, “OK.” She too is hounding me about retuning to Camp in the spring; this is after she initially referred to Winner’s Camp as “being some kind of a cult.”
Parent’s day was a gift. I found out that I am not the total screw up that I believed I was. I heard loud and clear “these kids are KIDS - hello?” I learned that the most important thing I can give my girls is unconditional love. I learned that it is ok to skip, sing, dance and celebrate. However; the most important thing that I learned was sending my girls to Winner’s Camp was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life.
"At Winners' Camp all activities have an emphasis on trust, integrity and commitment. Those experiences set a new standard for me to live at an age when those concepts can be out of reach. Those standards remain today. Adolescence was not easy and I am not perfect, but Winners' Camp offered my family and I a keahou, a new beginning. The beginning that brought me to live out the first commitment I made at camp, back in 1992, to give back to the community that raised me."
- Darcie Yukimura, Hawai'i Community Foundation, Kauai
"When I went to Winners' Camp, I was having great difficulty adjusting to the changes going on in my life. Winners' Camp gave me the tools I needed to adjust and thrive in my new environment. When I got to Winners' Camp, I was really impressed by the amazing feeling I got the moment I walked in. I remember getting to Winners' Camp and being practically bowled over by the aloha of the staff."
- Drew Humberd, Camper
"Dear Delorese; Wow! If someone asked me to describe you, I would say you were the Oprah Winfrey of Hawai'i. Your presentation was so powerful! You really set the tone for the rest of the day. The students were very hyped up and attentive throughout the conference. I regret not having you stay longer. The students wanted you to stay longer too. I think they would have listened to you all day...thank you so much for your very motivational talk. Everyone loved it and everyone loves you!...You definitely are a winner in their eyes!"
- Cornelia Anguay,
Upward Bound, University of Hawaii (Hilo)
"Winners' Camp...had such a positive impact on Lindsay that I had to write to you and thank you again for the commitment you have made to teenagers. This program was so profound for Lindsay that she has totally changed the way she communicates with me and her friends. She was always a super kid, but now she is so clear about who she is and what she values. I can already see a big difference in the choices she makes about what she does in her spare time. She thinks and acts so responsibly now!...Winners' Camp for Teens is the best gift parents could possibly give their teen...and themselves. It opens doors to a world of quality friendships, responsibility, learning, sharing, and good, wholesome fun. If every community leader and business executive supported teenagers in Hawaii to attend this program, Hawaii's future would be so much brighter and more promising."
- Carol Maero, The Walt Disney Company
"One of the most significant lessons I learned at Winners' Camp is that 'We cannot escape the results of our actions; we get what we give.' I have been given so much and I want to give back to my Island community by becoming a psychologist and working with teens and their families."
- Mara Pavich, Camper
"Winners' Camp is one of the best investments we made in our son, Koa. The parent day seminar was worth the tuition in itself! Every family can use the tools taught at Winners' Camp to get through the challenging teen years."
- Lani Yukimura, Parent
"Winners' Camp has taught me about team work, self-motivation, encouragement, and edification...The ropes courses have helped me look at my goals in a different perspective...my goals were really big, so to me it meant that I would have to work to get where I want to be...through it all, I would have to make smart goals because having a goal and attaining that goal are two different things."
- Te esu Kaonohi Kekoa-Asperilla, Camper
"Travis and I came away from the Winners' Camp Experience with a better appreciation for ourselves, each other and our life's journey together. The major difference I have noticed is that his attitude has not been one of just getting by, but of showing a pride in his academic performance and seriously considering college as a post high school alternative."
- Michael P. Tominaga, Parent
"Sharon Brown and I want to commend you and your staff for an excellent presentation at our President's Club Success Retreat. We thought that it would not be possible to top your presentation of the year before but you succeeded!... Now a priority of ours is to transfer the energy and bonding that took place during your seminar into our entire branch system. First Hawaiian Bank would also like very much to utilize the services of your team again next year and at other functions. Thanks to you and the Winners' Camp Team for making our President's Club Success Retreat a most memorable time for our participants."
- Chuck Reindollar, Vice President,
Retail Sales Management,
First Hawaiian Bank
"Thank you so much for coming to Mid-Pacific Institute's Wise Choices day...Though your program is geared towards smaller groups, you met the challenge of a large group, over 1,100 Middle and High School students in the gym, and really helped me out in a pinch! I have heard reports of students using SLANT in the classroom, so I know that the message stuck!...Again, thank you so much for coming to our school and reaching out to our students. Your message was so valuable, and you really touched our students."
- Julie Halpern, Director of Student Services, Mid-Pacific Institute
"Students returning from camp have changed in important ways. They have an enhanced sense of self-worth and recognize the value of other people's individuality. One of AOP's goals is to produce a Winners' Camp program for our entire student and faculty body!"
- Dr. Dorothy Douthit,
President & Principal,
Academy of the Pacific
"It is rare these days that we find programs that are developed to provide adolescents with opportunities and experiences that help them to gain an understanding about life and how to be more than just "survivors" in today's world. Winners' Camp is one such program. I see these students even today, and their countenances, their posture, their very way of being has been completely altered. They are more confident, more capable, and more willing to risk at the hopes of achieving success."
- Aaron K. Mersberg, Former English Teacher, James Campbell High School