Extracurricular Program: The Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) - A Program to Achieve Personal Excellence In Life




-A Program to Achieve Excellence In Life-

Presented by


a Hawaiʻi 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

RHG is NMII’s youth development & Honor Guard program


Executive Summary----------------------------------------------------------------------------------        2

Nā Koa Kiaʻi Aliʻi Hawaiʻi Hoʻohiki - The Royal Hawaiian Guard Oath-----------------------        3

Waiwai O Nā Koa Kiaʻi Aliʻi Hawaiʻi - Values of The Royal Hawaiian Guard-----------------        4

        Preface--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------        5

                Total Computed Program Hours----------------------------------------------------------        5

                Approval Authority-------------------------------------------------------------------------        5

                Approval Date-------------------------------------------------------------------------------        5

                Minor Changes and Additions------------------------------------------------------------        5

                Training Location(s)-----------------------------------------------------------------------        5

                Contact Information------------------------------------------------------------------------        5

        Chapter One: Introduction---------------------------------------------------------------------        6

                1-1 Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa Kumu - Purpose------------------------------------------------------        6

                1-2 Nuʻukia - Vision------------------------------------------------------------------------        6

                1-3 Ala Nuʻukia - Mission------------------------------------------------------------------        6

                1-4 Nā Koa Kiaʻi Aliʻi Hawaiʻi Kumu - Royal Hawaiian Guard Purpose-------------        6

                1-5 Collaboration---------------------------------------------------------------------------        6

                1-6 Strategic Goals Between NMII & JROTC--------------------------------------------        7

        Chapter Two: Program Scope------------------------------------------------------------------        8

                2-1 Program Goals--------------------------------------------------------------------------        8

                2-2 Program Outcomes--------------------------------------------------------------------        8

                2-3 Core Goals------------------------------------------------------------------------------        8

                2-4 Core Abilities---------------------------------------------------------------------------        9

                2-5 Core Traits------------------------------------------------------------------------------        9

                2-6        Program Prerequisites----------------------------------------------------------------        9

                2-7 Program Length and Size-------------------------------------------------------------        10

                2-8 Training Start Date--------------------------------------------------------------------        10

                2-9 Coach Requirements/ Program Remarks-------------------------------------------        11

        Chapter Three: Program Information---------------------------------------------------------        12

                3-1 Basis of the Program-------------------------------------------------------------------        12

                3-2 Order of Merit Listing (OML)---------------------------------------------------------13        

                3-3 Assessments and Tasks----------------------------------------------------------------        14

                3-4 Cadet Learning-------------------------------------------------------------------------        14

                3-5 Coach and Cadet Teaching------------------------------------------------------------        14        

Appendix A: Environmental Scan-Assessment of Hawaiʻi youth success---------------------        15

        Why youth enter Hawaiʻi’s criminal justice system-----------------------------------------        16

        What is Hawaiʻi’s model to reduce youth incarceration------------------------------------        17

        How does our model support youth success in relation to other programs--------------        18

        Who are the key stakeholders that would be needed to make an impact-----------------        19

        Where should we begin our work-------------------------------------------------------------        19

Appendix B: Organizational Description----------------------------------------------------------        20        

Appendix C: HIDOE E3 Policy - Nā Hopena Aʻo, Hā framework-------------------------------        21

Appendix D: Royal Hawaiian Guard Rank & Insignia--------------------------------------------24        

Executive Summary

Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa (NMII) - The Things Experienced, is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to youth development through a structured Native Hawaiian approach, since February 24, 2017, EIN # 82-0746141.

Our mission is to impact the youth to achieve personal ‘Excellence in Life’ through programs of leadership development, Native Hawaiian culture, Honor Guard activities, community service, and career pathway development.

Our vision is that Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa will develop generations of self-dependent successful youth, thriving in their passions, achieving personal excellence, and positively impacting others. From 2018-2021 we will pilot and develop our youth personal excellence model-Kūpono Ke Ola through the Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) program - NMII’s youth development and Honor Guard program.

By the year 2021 we seek the following outcomes: 1. Provide merit to Kūpono Ke Ola as a proven youth personal excellence model that can be expanded into schools from 5th-12th grade; 2. Provide an Honor Guard and Drill Team that is reflective of Hawaiʻi’s diverse community and representative of the Native Hawaiian culture and history; 3. Develop a strong Hui Kūpono with a Kupuna-Elder Council that will guide the NMII leadership and assist Guards with nurturing the development of opio-youth.

The RHG program and Kūpono Ke Ola model shall support the efforts of the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE) Ends 3 (E3) policy - Outcomes Nā Hopena Aʻo, Hā framework and Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program. The model will be built on positive psychology, science of happiness, youth resilience studies, military science, and waiwai-values of NMII. Empirical data shall be collected to understand and apply best practices for expansion to non-JROTC schools. Key to viability is that our model fosters teamwork to create a “Hui Kūpono” - a group of youth, families, kupuna-community elders, volunteers, and supporters driven to impact the youth to achieve personal excellence in life. Kūpono Ke Ola shall serve as the philosophy of How and Why we work.

Our approach to address youth excellence mirror the mission and goals of the JROTC program. A partnership between NMII & JROTC will enhance our mission and vision to impact youth while assisting JROTC in enhancing military-style drill in Hawaiʻi and aiding it to reach the HIDOE E3 Nā Hopena Aʻo, Hā framework.

NMII looks to be a community partner to impact our youth to excellence. We come humbly before each moku-district with an understanding that every moku is diverse by culture, people, and need; that each moku has treasured kupuna-elders who can contribute and be a powerful agent of change; that everyone has a part to play with our youth reaching personal excellence… ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi - All knowledge is not learned in just one school.

-  The Royal Hawaiian Guard Oath  -   

I will live a life of personal excellence.


I will strengthen myself mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I will empower myself and others through positive thought, words, and actions.

I will Stand Upright, Thrive, and Bring about Unity & Harmony.


Waiwai O Nā Koa Kiaʻi Aliʻi Hawaiʻi (Values of The Royal Hawaiian Guard)

The values of NMII and The Guard set the foundation for the Kūpono Ke Ola model and is the philosophy of how and why we work. Each Honor Guardsman (Guard), Senior and Junior (cadet), is expected to hold him/herself to a lifestyle that is defined by merit of character through thoughts, words, and deeds.

Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa identifies three (3) overarching values with 15 support values that form the Kūpono Ke Ola model foundation to achieving personal excellence in life: Kūpono - Stand Upright, Ulu Pono - Thrive, and Hoʻolōkahi - Bring about Unity & Harmony.

Kūpono-To Stand Upright, one must strive to internalize and live these values -

Ulu Pono-To Thrive, one must first learn and live Kūpono then -

Hoʻolōkahi-To bring about Unity & Harmony, one must Ulu Pono then -


IMPORTANT PROGRAM NOTE - As this is a pilot program, all curriculum lessons, guides, assessments, benchmarks, and materials are in the developmental phase and will be updated and posted in the web portal www.rhguard.com. This POI release is to provide an initial outline of the program’s goals, scope, methods, and objectives. A POI update will be released every  Summer of the pilot phase (2018-2021) as we learn how our program model impacts youth to achieve our intended goals and outcomes.

Total Computed Program Hours: 180 hours per school year.

Approval Authority: Executive Director, Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa

Approval Date: 21 September 2018

Minor Changes and Additions: Changes and additions that do not substantially alter the intent of this Program of Instruction (POI) will be posted on the RHG web portal www.rhguard.com.  As this program is in a developmental phase, all lessons will be posted in the web portal.

Training Location(s): All Hawaiʻi Schools - Grades 5-12

Contact Information:

Website:         www.rhguard.com 

Email:         staff@hi-nmii.org

Phone:         (833)RHGUARD


Chapter 1: Introduction

1-1 Ke Kumu (Purpose)

Conduct charitable activities for the purposes of youth leadership development, community-based cultural enrichment, and career pathway development.

1-2 Ka Mākia (Vision)

Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa will develop generations of self-dependent successful youth, thriving in their passions, achieving personal excellence, and positively impacting others.

1-3 Ka Huakaʻi (Mission)

Hoʻomōhala nā opio loaʻa Kūpono Ke Ola.

Impact the youth to achieve personal Excellence in Life - through programs of leadership development, Native Hawaiian culture, Honor Guard activities,  community service, and career pathway development.

1-4 Nā Koa Kiaʻi Aliʻi Hawaiʻi Kumu (Royal Hawaiian Guard Purpose)

The Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) is the Honor Guard and Cadet program of Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa (NMII) that is offered at the high school level, with projections for the middle school, and elementary school level in 2020, and teaches young people through a Native Hawaiian perspective - positive values, leadership, community service, responsibility, accountability, perseverance, a sense of accomplishment and place, while instilling discipline, self-esteem, and teamwork. The RHG mission reflects the overall meaning and purpose of the program, which is to “Impact the Youth to Achieve Personal Excellence in Life” by preparing them for life’s rigors empowering them with tools to make good life choices and strive for personal excellence.

1-5 Collaboration

Development of character, leadership, effective communication, team-building skills, wellness, and life skills is brought about through a multifaceted program that will grow as we move forward in the pilot phase projected to end in the year 2021. The following materials support the RHG program and Kūpono Ke Ola model for personal excellence.

Ka Wana Series by the Curriculum Research & Development Group, University of Hawaiʻi. A series of books detailing Native Hawaiian cultural and spiritual concepts.

Developing Assets by the Search Institute. Based on decades of research, the Search Institute provides a methodology, framework, and tools to connect with youth and empower them to thrive.

A Military History of Sovereign Hawaiʻi by Neil B. Dukas. provides a historical account of Hawaiʻi’s military history from pre-contact through 1893.

16personalities.com. An online resource providing Jungian personality type assessment and results.

MindTools.com. An online resource providing studies, assessments, etc. to increase individual understanding and learning.

Google Classroom. An online classroom providing e-learning for all volunteers and cadets.

Workplace by Facebook. A safe online meeting space for volunteers and youth to connect and communicate in a monitored environment.

Journey app, a free journaling tool for cadets to use and organize their thoughts.

1-6 Strategic Goals between NMII & JROTC

SG5. Develop a collaborative relationship with HMSU and individual JROTC programs to align Hawaiʻi military-style drill with The National/Service Level High School Drill Team Championships standards and Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE) Ends 3 (E3) policy, Na Hopena Aʻo - HĀ framework.

  1. Incorporate National drill standards with Hā and Kūpono Ke Ola model into all JROTC training and drill events.
  2. Provide qualified volunteers to JROTC programs that can deliver the RHG program Kūpono Ke Ola model and training goals.
  3. Provide qualified competition judges to raise drill standards in Hawaii.
  4. Establish a strong network of stakeholders (Hui Kūpono) to support and showcase cadet achievements in the program.

Chapter 2: Program Scope

2-1 Program Goals

This POI focuses on the development of young people to reach personal excellence by building core abilities and traits that reinforce a positive identity in a structured interactive environment. The RHG program is a cooperative effort between Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa, Hawaiʻi Multiple Schools Unit (HMSU), and individual JROTC programs. The cooperative goal is to provide cadets and all youth, opportunities to become well rounded and thrive. To meet the needs of Hawaiʻi communities and aid in enhancing participant experience, coaches may be flexible in program implementation; only to the extent that coaches may choose a military-style drill focus (armed, unarmed, color guard only, etc.) and cultural activities that best fit their needs. Emphasis will be placed on building a strong Hui Kūpono (a network of stakeholders) and Kupuna-Elder Council to impact each community in a meaningful and culturally appropriate way.

2-2 Program Outcomes

Our ideal outcome is that cadets understand and demonstrate:

  1. an appreciation for Hawaiʻi, the Native Hawaiian culture, and living Aloha;
  2. self-dependence through academic achievement and leadership opportunities;
  3. interdependence through Teamwork and training;
  4. innovative, creative, and critical thinking through planning events;
  5. positive character through self, peer, instructor, coach, and family assessment, building meaningful relationships, community volunteer initiatives, and team building activities;
  6. the power of positive daily habits through journal writing, goal setting, and goal achievement;
  7. proficiency with technology through the use of online tools to assess, learn, report, and journal their experiences.

2-3 Core Goals (measurable goals for each cadet to achieve)

Cadet Goals are specific measurable goals that every cadet will strive to reach. Goals shall be assessed through academic reports, digital record of participation/action, and performance evaluations/surveys. Coaches, instructors, parents, and peers will all contribute to each cadet’s goal achievement and will be reflected in the Order of Merit Listing (OML).

  1. Cadets show academic progress with an increased GPA of .10 or higher each semester until a minimal 2.5 cumulative GPA is achieved.
  2. Cadets utilize technology by completing online training and assessments through the web-portal at www.rhguard.com.
  3. Cadets actively journal thoughts, goals, and appreciation.
  4. Cadets meet proficiency for all Core Ability & Trait assessments.
  5. Cadets actively participate in mandatory drill events (training and competition).

2-4 Core Abilities (skills learned, demonstrated, and works to master)

Core abilities are lifelong skills that cadets need to thrive and derive from the outcomes, goals, and values of Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa. The RHG program core abilities are:

  1. ‘Imi Ola - Seeks Life, pursues passions
  2. ʻImi ʻIke Mai ke Kumu - Lifelong Learner
  3. Hoʻomau - Persevere, be Resilient
  4. ʻIke Loa - Positive in thought, words, and deeds
  5. Hoʻohana - Work with Purpose
  6. Pīhoihoi ʻIke- Emotional intelligence, understands others and self emotionally
  7. Mākau hoʻokaʻaʻike - Communication (Listening, Hearing, Processing, Speaking)
  8. Hoʻohui ā Hoʻopaʻa-Unite people, be team-oriented - interdependent to achieve great works that positively impact society

2-5 Core Traits (how a cadet performs tasks)

Core Traits are the innate qualities of a person that he/she uses in the performance of task accomplishment. The identified traits derive from the outcomes, goals, and values of Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa. Coaches will observe the actions of cadets when accomplishing a task and assess how he/she performed and compare it against standards set for each trait. The five core traits are:

  1. Aloha-Love/Grace/Kindness (Akua’s greatest gift to man is Love, it is the most powerful force/ Do positive things for positive reasons/ bless others and learn to be blessed);
  2. ʻOia-Truth (Next to Love, nothing is more powerful than truth, it is eternal, universal, and always revealed/ live truth, don’t lie, and keep your promises);
  3. Haʻahaʻa-Humility (Be humble in your acts and speech);
  4. ʻIhi-Respect (Self - care for your personal hygiene, attire, interactions, and standards/ Others - Learn to actively listen and be considerate of others; strive to always leave an interaction in a positive way);
  5. Pono-Balance/Righteousness (balancing your life requires you to understand yourself and to develop your emotional intelligence, doing this will profoundly impact you and others in a positive way.);
  6. Hoʻokeonimana-Etiquette (adapt your decorum to your settings);
  7. Mālama-Care (for yourself, others, and your surroundings);
  8. Hoʻohanohano-Honor (Live with distinction and have the courage to do what’s right).

2-6 Program Prerequisites

  1. Cadets must have a minimum 2.0 grade point average in a school semester.
  2. Cadets must be passing in courses required for graduation.

Partner JROTC program instructors shall coordinate with their school administration to ensure that RHG volunteers are registered as a school volunteer coach under their program. JROTC programs must provide a USACC instructor at all training sessions, classroom space, drill space, and drill equipment for training.

The RHG program shall provide materials of instruction, training timeline, qualified coaches and judges, competition and scoring resources, and community partners (stakeholders, cultural teachers, business, community, etc.) to support.

2-7 Program Length and Size

Partner JROTC programs shall provide a total of 180 hours of RHG program time in a school year during after school hours. The recommended model for training consists of 90 - 120-minute sessions (approximately 3 days a week - holiday, weather, etc. dependant) after school.

Drill Competitions:

Military-style drill competitions are essential to the program as cadets will have the opportunity to gauge their progress, experience failure and success, network with their peers, apply leadership and teamwork, and demonstrate mastery of their knowledge, skills, and abilities through the competitive categories.

Clinics & Camps:

Winter and Spring Drill Clinics and the Summer Drill Camp - Hawaiʻi Drill Experience (HDE) are additional opportunities for cadets to participate in that will enhance their skills in military-style drill team activities while taking a Native Hawaiian cultural approach to develop character, leadership, and understanding of a sense of place.

Drill Team training plan for a School Year: 

1st Quarter - Regulation drill, physical fitness, and general knowledge;

2nd Quarter - Continued development of Regulation drill continued, introduction into Exhibition drill and sequencing;

Winter Break - Multi-day drill workshop with a focus on proficiency testing in regulation and sequencing in exhibition drill;

3rd Quarter - Running drill cards and completion of exhibition drill sequencing;

4th Quarter - Repetition of drill cards and sequencing in preparation for the end of year Championships.

Daily Training Model: 1500-1735 (M, W, F):

  1. 1450: Commander Call (Cadet led, 10 minutes before the start of drill training with Coaches)
  2. 1500: 10 minutes’ meditation/focusing (practice Aloha - Honi)
  3. 1510: 5 minutes’ inspection
  4. 1515: 120 minutes Training Activity
  5. 1715: 5 minutes Cooldown
  6. 1720: 10 minutes Closing (team positive reflection, Mele Hoʻomaikaʻi, motto, Honi)
  7. 1730: 5 minutes secure armory, exit

2-8 Training Start Date

Training is conducted on a school year basis.

2-9 Coach Requirements/ Program Remarks

The Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa website, www.rhguard.com, is the primary source for coaches to access instructional material with further resources on the workplace by facebook. Coaches must fill out event reports for every event that they actively work with cadets.

Coaches are encouraged to direct cadets to self-learn and participate in the google classroom lessons where completion of courses will earn cadets a certificate of completion to be sent to their JROTC unit for file.

Chapter 3: Program Information

3-1 Basis of Program

Young people thriving and reaching their view of personal excellence is the goal of NMII and the RHG program. The RHG program Kūpono Ke Ola model is performance-based and focused on each cadet’s learning experience, how knowledge and values are internalized, and what results are achieved during his/her time in the program. The primary focus is a cadet’s academic performance to meet and exceed program prerequisites, followed by the development of character, then his/her accomplishments in the military-style drill. Each area of focus (academics, core ability, and core traits) are assigned values to establish an Order of Merit Listing (OML). The OML provides cadets an understanding of his/her accomplishments and provides an incentive for improvement.


Each cadet is required to meet the prerequisites of the program. Academics will be assessed according to grade checks provided by the cadet. Areas that need improvement shall be addressed through understanding difficulties related to coursework, creating a plan for achievement, then monitoring the progress of the plan for goal attainment. Parents and teachers will be notified by the cadet of his/her plan to succeed and asked to aid in the process of the cadet’s success. To ensure this is accomplished, cadets will have their parent and teacher sign off on his/her success plan.

Native Hawaiian Culture & Personal Character

Coaches shall guide cadets to understand the waiwai-values of NMII while providing broader concepts of each waiwai through moʻolelo-stories/examples and Hana-work/application. Cadets shall learn appropriate Native Hawaiian protocols to enter and leave areas, ask permission,  show gratitude, etc. Community stakeholders (kupuna-elders and Kumu-teachers) shall provide further support into nurturing the cadet's development; this will be accomplished through cultural enrichment activities where cadets will learn traditional Native Hawaiian skills at areas such as loʻi Kalo-taro farms, loko iʻa-fish ponds, wahi pana-sacred sites, etc.

Military-style Drill Training

Coaches shall strive to adhere to the training timeline and adhere to the standards and training materials developed for the RHG program. Military-style Drill shall be taught in a way that prepares cadets to compete at the National level in an overall category (inspection, regulation, exhibition, and color guard). Coaches will begin training with inspection - cadets will learn how to carry themselves, care for their uniform, and understand expectations. Next, regulation will be focused on to achieve a uniformed way of drill and establish leadership and subordinate roles until all regulation drill cards are being practiced. Following this, exhibition drill will be focused on with coaches adhering to the Guard basics that is recognized as Hawaiian-style drill (quick, hard striking, melodic, close-order precision drill). During the exhibition phase, a four-man color guard team of the best-experienced drill cadets shall be detached intermittently to prepare for this category. Cadets shall be assessed for proficiency, leadership, teamwork, decorum, bearing, and general knowledge.

Military-style Drill Events & Native Hawaiian Culture

NMII will coordinate with HMSU and host JROTC programs to co-host military-style drill events such as clinics, camps, and competitions. Events are held for the purpose of promoting military-style drill in Hawaiʻi, showcasing the cadet's hard work and efforts, advancing the competitive level of Hawaiʻi’s drill teams to contend on the National level, and incorporate Native Hawaiian culture into drill events through protocols and special competitive categories.

3-2 Order of Merit Listing (OML)

The OML is an integral piece where each cadet can identify areas to strengthen themselves in the program to reach higher levels of achievement and responsibility. It is our goal that the OML will serve as a tool to motivate cadets to reach the program’s core goals and assets in a fun, interactive, and competitive way while gaining meaningful feedback for improvement. The OML is based upon each cadet’s performance in academics, core abilities, and traits. The categories are valued as such:

  1. Academics = 40%
  1. Based on a 4.0 GPA scale
  2. The maximum score of 100% for 4.0. GPA, no additional points over a 4.0.
  1. Participation = 30%
  1. Program participation = 70%
  2. Performance assessments = 20%
  3. Program achievements = 10%
  1. Core Assets = 30%
  1. Character Surveys = 40%
  2. Coach’s quarterly Core Assets Assessment (CAA) = 60%

The Academic category is based on a 4.0 scale for a maximum score of 100% at a 4.0. GPA which will be equal to a 40% score on the OML. There are no additional points awarded for GPA’S over a 4.0.

The Participation category is based upon a cadet’s performance assessments in drill skills, cultural activities, completion of learning modules, placement in competition, attendance to training, clinics, camps, and competition.

The Core Assets category is based upon surveys from a cadet’s parent(s) regarding performance at home; surveys from the cadet’s peers, JROTC instructor, and parent(s); and the coach’s quarterly core assets assessment (CAA).

3-3 Assessments and Tasks


The RHG program is performance-based. In keeping consistent with the OML, cadets are assessed in three primary categories: Academics, Drill Event Participation, and Core Assets.

Assessments are conducted through official grade checks and report cards, performance evaluations and surveys, core asset assessments. Assessments are gathered and recorded online through the web-portal at www.rhguard.com then reflected in the OML.

Cadet’s will learn a skill then demonstrate mastery while being assessed on how he/she performed. Assessment scoring is based on a Likert scale to measure an action, ability, or trait. Assessments are essential to measure growth and determine strengths and areas to improve. Assessments are conducted electronically and compiled into a master sheet utilizing Google Suite products. Cadets may access their electronic folder containing their assessments via their cadet@rhguard email address and Google Drive. Each cadet’s portfolio is maintained by Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa, the cadet, and his/her coach.


Cadets will be assigned tasks in line with program lessons. Tasks assigned will range from leadership positions, teaching a skill, community service projects, team activities, and completing classroom lessons, journals, and assessments. Cadets will be provided feedback on their performance through assessments and informal counseling.

3-4 Cadet Learning

The RHG program provides a hands-on interactive activity through military-style drill training and events. Additionally, technology use is encouraged by offering online classes, electronic assessment forms, personal email addresses @rhguard, community forums through the workplace platform, and journaling through the journey app. Cadets will learn through reading, observation, verbal instruction, and hands-on coaching.

Lessons will provide cadets opportunities with meaningful and challenging tasks that encourage growth mentally, physically, and emotionally. Cadets will learn and practice mastery of all core assets throughout the school year. All lessons culminate with competitive events where cadets will demonstrate all of their core assets.

3-5 Coach and Cadet Teaching

Cadets will learn in an environment where failure is expected, patience is practiced, peers support each other, and individuals must take responsibility for their own learning.

Coaches will challenge cadets in drill activities and hold them accountable for the completion of required program tasks. Coaches are expected to provide meaningful feedback, practice patience, and clearly communicate expectations to support cadet growth. Coaches will engage cadets to build trust and understand their passions then provide sources to support those passions.

Appendix A: Environmental Scan

To build the youth for success we wanted to understand how and why they fail. We chose youth incarceration as our baseline in understanding youth failure and asked -

  1. Why do youth enter Hawaiʻi’s criminal justice system?

  1. Why do Native Hawaiian youth make up 50.5% of the inmate population?

  1. What is Hawaiʻi’s model to reduce youth incarceration?

  1. How does our model support youth success in relation to other programs?

  1. Who are the key stakeholders that would be needed to make an impact?

  1. Where should we begin our work?

Why youth enter Hawaiʻi’s criminal justice system

Academic failure is found as the number one predictor of youth committed to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) at a rate of 8.42 to 1.[1] A study of the HYCF found that Native Hawaiian youth inmates accounted for 50.5% of the inmate population between 1995-1999.[2] 

Partnering to Assess and Counteract Truancy (PACT) - a truancy reduction demonstration project, conducted their five (5) year program out of the Waianae School Complex Area at Kamaile and Maili elementary schools. PACTs final report showed that academic failure resulted from two causes of truancy - 1) Low value of education, 2) Student and family disconnection from school. The report highlights the importance of truancy intervention starting as early as elementary school. Truancy increases when youth transition between elementary to intermediate to high school. The PACT report concluded that negative attitudes of the family and community were the greatest obstacle; whereas, to counter truancy, proactive problem solving is as important as prevention and intervention.[3] 

Identifying that Native Hawaiian youth are the highest incarcerated demographic, we delved into answering why. We discovered that Native Hawaiians faced catastrophic losses in population, identity, culture, and social and economic standing throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. From 1778, the year of  western contact in Hawaiʻi, the Native Hawaiian population was estimated to be nearly 700,000 - by the 1920’s only 24,000 Native Hawaiians remained.[4] Statistically, this means that only 3% of Native Hawaiians survived into the 20th century.

A published article on medical research argues that the loss of identity through historical trauma and cultural wounding has had a generational impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of Native Hawaiians. The result of the historical trauma and cultural wounding is believed to be the root cause contributing to Native Hawaiians being last in nearly every health category with some of the highest mortality rates. Understanding how to heal historical trauma and cultural wounding may be a key component to healing the Native Hawaiian body and mind.[5]

We assess that the generational losses of population, culture, and identity, as well as lower social and economic standing, have created many negative factors and cultural stereotypes in which families do not value education as a means to success.

State of Hawaiʻi’s model to reduce youth incarceration 

We found that up until 2009, the State of Hawai’i treated youth offenders the same as adults and would simply lock them up if they failed to follow rules. Justice workers reported that this method simply did not work and only led to an increase in youth detainees as they became more hardened. To exacerbate the problem, 3 out of 4 youth released from the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) found their way back to a courtroom or jail. In 2009, the State changed its approach and became a Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) site. Then, in 2014 Act 201 was made a law which prohibited misdemeanor offenders to be admitted into the HYCF. As part of JDAI,  justice workers now focus on positive reinforcement methods in addition to tracking mandatory court-ordered sanctions. The results of JDAI and Act 201 have dramatically decreased youth incarceration rates and the number of felony cases filed annually. Community support is key to making the impact greater.[6]

JDAI began two decades ago as a pilot program in Baltimore with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and has now become a national model of success for decreasing youth recidivism and incarceration. JDAIs model is based on eight (8) components - collaboration; data gathering/sharing; objective admissions criteria and risk assessment instruments; new or expanded alternatives to detention programs; case processing reforms; reducing the number of youth detained; combating racial and ethnic disparities; and monitoring and improving conditions of confinement.[7] 

How our model supports youth success

Our  approach to youth success shall support the efforts of the Hawaiʻi Department of Education E3 policy - Outcomes  and Hā framework and Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) leadership training, through a model founded on positive psychology, science of happiness, and youth resilience. Empirical data shall be collected to understand and apply best practices for expansion to non-JROTC schools. Key to viability is that our model fosters teamwork to create a “Hui Kūpono” - a group of youth, families, volunteers, and supporters driven to impact the youth to earn personal excellence in life. Our unique model shall serve as the philosophy of How and Why we work; it will become a way of life for our youth and volunteers; its name - “Kūpono Ke Ola” (Excellence in Life).

Kūpono Ke Ola is formed by intertwining Hā with the following research -

Pursuit of Happiness - a positive psychology and science of happiness nonprofit, identifies seven (7) components to well being and positive habits - Relationships, Caring, Physical Health, Mindset, Flow, Spirituality, and Virtues.[8] The seven components shall be integrated into our philosophy with a Native Hawaiian lens.

In 2002, the Search Institute collaborated with multiple Universities on project TIP - Thriving Indicators Partnership. TIP identified ‘thriving’ indicators to understand why young people ʻSpark’ - pursue deep passions and interests - a metaphor to describe the internal animating force that propels development forward. The thriving indicators are:

• personal growth;         • fulfillment of one’s potential;

• orientation toward the future;         • meaning and purpose;

• emotional well-being;         • psychological well-being;

• social well-being; and         • individual characteristics such as initiative or caring.[9]

Through development, TIP found that thriving consists of three interconnected parts:

1. Thriving is the interplay over time of a young person’s sparks and support from her contexts to develop and nurture those sparks.;

2. Thriving is a balance between continuity and discontinuity of development over time that is optimal for the individual-context system.;

3. Thriving reflects both where a young person is at the moment and whether he is on a path toward creating a person-context system in which he as an individual and the contexts he is in (e.g., families, schools, communities) are mutually benefiting.[10] 

The Search Institute found “young people with Sparks and the support to develop them do better on a wide variety of developmental outcomes, including school success”.[11] 

The key stakeholders

A key stakeholder is an entity that shares an interest in our goals and maybe a critical component to our success. To implement our strategy we have identified the following key stakeholders: Hawaiʻi Multiple School Units (HMSU), Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) programs, Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE) - Office of Hawaiian Education (OHE), Families, Community leaders (government, business, religious, elders, and cultural).

Where our work will begin

After research and assessment, we chose to pilot our programs with Nānākuli JROTC on Oʻahu and HP Baldwin JROTC on Maui. Nānākuli was chosen as their demographic is predominantly Native Hawaiian with the opportunity to develop a new drill team program. HP Baldwin JROTC was chosen as it is the only program on the island and also presents an opportunity to develop a new drill team program.

Appendix B: Organizational Description

The story of Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa begins in 2009 with the establishment of the Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) in Maui, Hawaiʻi. For nine (9) years the RHG evolved from focus on working with Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) cadets; to conducting cultural protocols as a Honor Guard at the Waineʻe Royal Tombs; to teaching youth about Aloha, character through service, and discipline through military-style drill; to supporting cultural and community events at home and the mainland; to identifying needs and gaps in our community where our youth are underserved resulting in incarceration; to forming Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa that will address the needs of our youth upon the ideas, lessons learned, and successes of the RHG.

In July 2009, the RHG was invited by Auntie Grale Chong of Waiola Church to participate with them in church service where we requested the privilege to assume an official post at the Waineʻe Royal Tombs as their Honor Guard. Waiola Church accepted our request and continues to allow the Guard to honor the interred King, Queens, and high Aliʻi of Hawaiʻi.

After nine (9) years, the RHG evolved by experiencing, researching, and understanding Hawaiʻi’s history, culture, and community needs to the vision of creating Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa (NMII) - meaning “the things experienced” by co-founders Mr. Paulo Faleafine Jr. and Mr. Wilmont Kamaunu Kahaialii.

Between 2016-2017 talks to form a cooperative between Hawaiʻi’s three (3) civilian Honor Guard units took place. The units were The Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG), Hawaiʻi Royal Order of Guards (HROG), and the Hawaiʻi Royal Honor Guard (HRHG) - formerly the Hilton Hawaiian Village Guard.

The goal of the cooperative was to perpetuate Hawaiʻi’s military-style drill heritage and better serve the community culturally. The outcomes of the talks led to the RHG and HROG merging under the RHG banner in late 2016. The HRHG became a joint Honor Guard unit of NMII in 2017 where both entities mutually work toward perpetuating Hawaiʻi’s military-style drill.

On February 24, 2017 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa as a public charity, 501(c)3 tax exempt organization - EIN# 82-0746141. The Royal Hawaiian Guard transformed from a fiscally sponsored nonprofit into the youth outreach and Honor Guard program of Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa.

Appendix C: HIDOE E3 Policy - Nā Hopena Aʻo, Hā framework

1. Strengthened Sense of Belonging:

I stand firm in my space with a strong foundation of

relationships. A sense of Belonging is demonstrated through

an understanding of lineage and place and a connection to

past, present, and future. I am able to interact respectfully for

the betterment of self and others.

a. Know who I am and where I am from

b. Know about the place I live and go to school

c. Build relationships with many diverse people

d. Care about my relationships with others

e. Am open to new ideas and different ways of doing things

f. Communicate with clarity and confidence

g. Understand how actions affect others

h. Actively participate in school and communities

2. Strengthened Sense of Responsibility:

I willingly carry my responsibility for self, family, community

and the larger society. A sense of Responsibility is

demonstrated by a commitment and concern for others. I am

mindful of the values, needs and welfare of others.

a. Come to school regularly, on-time and ready to learn

b. See self and others as active participants in the learning


c. Question ideas and listens generously

d. Ask for help and feedback when appropriate

e. Make good decisions with moral courage and integrity in

every action.

f. Set goals and complete tasks fully

g. Reflect on the quality and relevancy of the learning

h. Honor and make family, school and communities proud

3. Strengthened Sense of Excellence:

I believe I can succeed in school and life and am inspired to

care about the quality of my work. A sense of Excellence is

demonstrated by a love of learning and the pursuit of skills,

knowledge and behaviors to reach my potential. I am able to

take intellectual risks and strive beyond what is expected.

a. Define success in a meaningful way

b. Know and apply unique gifts and abilities to a purpose

c. Prioritize and manage time and energy well

d. Take initiative without being asked

e. Explore many areas of interest and initiate new ideas

f. Utilize creativity and imagination to problem-solve and


g. See failure as an opportunity to learn well

h. Assess and make improvements to produce quality work

4. Strengthened Sense of Aloha:

I show care and respect for myself, families, and communities. A sense of Aloha is demonstrated through

empathy and appreciation for the symbiotic relationship

between all. I am able to build trust and lead for the good of

the whole.

a. Give generously of time and knowledge

b. Appreciate the gifts and abilities of others

c. Make others feel comfortable and welcome

d. Communicate effectively to diverse audiences

e. Respond mindfully to what is needed

f. Give joyfully without expectation of reward

g. Share the responsibility for collective work

h. Spread happiness

5. Strengthened Sense of Total Well-being:

I learn about and practice a healthy lifestyle. A sense of

Total Well-being is demonstrated by making choices that

improve the mind, body, heart and spirit. I am able to meet

the demands of school and life while contributing to the wellbeing

of family, ‘āina, community and world.

a. Feel safe physically and emotionally

b. Develop self-discipline to make good choices

c. Manage stress and frustration levels appropriately

d. Have goals and plans that support healthy habits, fitness

and behaviors

e. Utilize the resources available for wellness in everything

and everywhere

f. Have enough energy to get things done daily

g. Engage in positive, social interactions and has supportive


h. Promote wellness in others

6. Strengthened Sense of Hawai‘i:

I am enriched by the uniqueness of this prized place. A

sense of Hawai‘i is demonstrated through an appreciation

for its rich history, diversity and indigenous language and

culture. I am able to navigate effectively across cultures and

communities and be a steward of the homeland.

a. Pronounce and understand Hawaiian everyday

conversational words

b. Use Hawaiian words appropriate to their task

c. Learn the names, stories, special characteristics and the

importance of places in Hawai‘i

d. Learn and apply Hawaiian traditional world view and

knowledge in contemporary settings

e. Share the histories, stories, cultures and languages of


f. Compare and contrast different points of views, cultures

and their contributions

g. Treat Hawai‘i with pride and respect

h. Call Hawai‘i home

Appendix D: Royal Hawaiian Guard Rank & Insignia

The use of paramilitary ranks, symbols, and uniforms.

For the purposes of this organization, the use of paramilitary style ranks, symbols, and uniforms are for internal purposes of the Organization and Honor Guard. We are not and never intend to be a militia or represent a military service.

[1] The Serious Juvenile Offender in Hawaii-A Statistical Profile (06/06) Page:1 by Lisa J. Pasco; Hawaii Department of the Attorney General

[2] OHA (2010) by Office of Hawaiian Affairs, The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System Executive Summary

[3] Author Unknown (2005), Project PACT 1999-JS-FX-0011 final report

[4] Demby, Gene (4/18/15), NPR article: It Took Two Centuries, But The Native Hawaiian Population May Be Bouncing Back, Retrieved from: https://tinyurl.com/y9f7wq5l

[5] Cook (2003) B. P. Cook et al. / Californian Journal of Health Promotion 2003, Volume 1, Special Issue: Hawaii, 10-24

[6] Honolulu star advertiser (9/4/17) Retrieved from: https://www.pressreader.com/usa/honolulu-star-advertiser/20170904/281479276561234

[7] JDAI (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.aecf.org/work/juvenile-justice/jdai/

[8] http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/

[9] King, P. E., Schultz, W., Mueller, R., & Dowling, E. A. (2003). A look at the literature: Meta-heuristics and indicators of thriving. Pasadena, CA: Fuller Theological Seminary (unpublished working paper).

[10] Benson, P. L., & Scales, P. C. (2009). The definition and preliminary measurement

of thriving in adolescence. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4 (1), 85–104.

[11] https://www.search-institute.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IE-Spark-Nov-2010-Brief.pdf