The Experiential Learning Model

We have taken the modern team-building educational model and carefully adapted the process towards the goal of growing healthy, leadership-minded people. The physically and mentally challenging exercises cause individuals to better learn how to work together as a team with just one common goal. Incorporating inherent problem solving skills, learning from each other’s examples, and succeeding as part of a team, the individual team members will gain useful tools to better cooperate with, trust, and rely on their classmates, coworkers, families, and neighbors.

The Challenge Course we have created at the Waipā Foundation is open to everyone, of all ages. No prior experience or physical ability is necessary. The emotional and physical support from the team will provide each member with the skills needed to attain goals he or she never thought possible.

Experiential Education promotes positive behavioral concepts in such a way that participants recognize valuable insights and knowledge about themselves and how to handle problems as an individual and in a group. Through the sequence of events that are arranged by a progression of challenging to most challenging, participants are able to build their self-confidence and realize how important and valuable they as an individual are in helping the team-work through the obstacles.

Experiential Education and Adventure-Based Education have proven to be successful in training groups to become more effective. The Waipa challenge ropes course program cultivates life-applicable skills of cooperation, team-work, trust, communication, and leadership. This educational approach applies non-traditional classroom techniques, and addresses a variety of learning styles by teaching through “hands on” learning. Instead of being taught “how to do it,” students learn by “doing it.” After engaging in an activity, the group will be facilitated through a processing discussion to relate the activity to real life scenarios and establish relevant connection to what the participant or group might be facing. This approach is educational, rewarding, and real for the individual, group, and community.


Kupu A‘e uses the challenge course and its hands-on curriculum to promote the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Physical Ability
  • Problem-solving
  • Self Awareness
  • Self Confidence
  • Trust
  • Acceptance
  • Inner Strength
  • Cooperation
  • Leadership

With the use of the Hawaiian culture and its proven and long-historied practices and value system, Kupu A‘e is aligned to connect native Hawaiians and nonnatives alike to the important practices of the past by combining the skills of experiential education and ancient Hawaiian value systems.
Our company provides staff and mentors with training in traditional Hawaiian values from Kumu (teachers) affiliated with the Waipa Foundation and the Hawaiian community. It is from the foundation of this Hawaiian value system that Kupu A‘e program philosophies are built. These core values include several important Hawaiian concepts.



The concept of lokahi is probably one of the most important ideas the ancient Hawaiians practiced and embodied. It means unity or connectedness and it also means embracing diversity. Realizing how we all are connected and that every thought or action we have within a community has a direct correlation with the successful outcome or demise of that community. The connectedness is especially important for our youth to embrace for development of self-awareness, self-respect and sense of place.



The importance of a support system that encompasses more than the immediate nuclear family, but includes the concept of hanai or extended family in turn, creating a sense of belonging.



Striving to maintain alignment with all living things (person, place or thing) and practicing our skills with integrative awareness between these elements. Using Universal principles of compassion, positive attitude, kindness and integrity while letting go of those elements that does not serve us such as fear, anger, impatience, a traumatic experience and negativity optimizes this dynamic synergy.


Attitude, Humility

The mentee and mentor role model balance an open mind and heart with an aspiration for awakening their true essence. Attitudes of conscious living are based on the Indigenous Hawaiian ways of community connectedness and its unity of consciousness. It is a simplified process handed down through the generations of Hawaiian people and refined as each generation passes.



The fostering of each youth participant to honor and respect the lineage associated with them. Each participant shares a responsibility to themselves, their family, their mentors and their community, to share the truth and authenticity of our soul’s efforts to bring about positive outcomes.



The idea of caring for yourself, others and your surrounding is a value that is practiced in our mentor relations as well as capitalized through our community work projects. Hilina`i (trust) is built by those who offer the support and care to the youth in need.


Righteousness, Strength of Character

Through our positive relationships we attempt to develop upstanding and morally efficient people who are in balance with their identity and their potential.

It is the utilization of traditional Hawaiian values that creates an underlying sense of ease and belonging that not only native Hawaiians relate to, but extends out to people representing other ethnic groups. Our cultural awareness and cultural competency allows us a level of sensitivity to underrepresented groups within our community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *