Service Projects Lead Teens To Hawaii


Jay Owens and Breanne Standiford said most of the 617 switchbacks of the three-hour drive on the primitive Road to Hana revealed gorgeous waterfalls.

They were among the 27 teen members of the Rotary Interact Club at Payson High School eligible through service projects to revel in a Hawaiian vacation during spring break.


While their parents worked in chilly Payson, Rotary Interact Club members enjoyed the green hills and sandy beaches of Hawaii during spring break.

"No one waves in Hawaii," Reghan Flake said, then made the thumb and pinky extended, "hang loose" sign with her hand.

After an all-night drive to catch a 5 a.m. Los Angeles International Airport flight, hanging loose on Kaanapali Beach in Maui with the King Kekaulike High School Interact Club was grand.

It was supposed to be a beach clean-up and party, but there was not really any trash anywhere on the beach," Tori Belohlawek said.

She was among 10 students who discovered life under the sea during a 40-foot dive.

"I could see fish, turtles and a little shark," Belohlawek said.

"The fish were all different colors, blues and yellow. The turtles were about 2 1/2 feet and the shark was about 6 feet long," Gabriel Batista said.

"Snorkeling was the best," Noah Sweet added.


No scuba certification was required for dives off Maui's western shore.

A few of the teens now want to pursue diving certification.

"It is like this underwater world of beauty I never knew could possibly exist," Breanne Davis said.

The hula and fire dancers were a luau hit, Interact adviser Dan Hill said.

However, poi was not the food of choice.

"Poi is a root. It tasted like mashed, raw potatoes," Jessa Shepherd said.

What Shepherd did like was the fresh pineapple. "It tasted like candy," she said.

The students ate a pig cooked in a traditional underground oven called an "imu."

"The flavor was amazing. I have never had pork that tasted that good," Lucy Schouten said.

A different set of Interact members meet for regular meetings during the split lunch hours at PHS.

Kaile Anderson and Reghan Flake bonded listening to "crazy music Ryan brought" and "buying matching cowgirl hats."


Members of the Rotary Interact Club at Payson High School took a trip to Hawaii during spring break. The students visited Jodo Mission, a Buddhist shrine, and spent time at the beach.

They watched what Jessie Carpino called "an amazing sunrise" on Haleaka Volcano.

The morning adventure on their last full day on the island was spent at Iao Valley State Park which boasts The Needle, a 2,250-foot rock pillar.

It was in this valley that King Kamehameha conquered Maui in the 1790 Battle of Kepaniwai.

Another tourist attraction they visited was the Jodo Mission, a Buddhist shrine founded in 1175.

"The best part was usually at the end of the day hanging out on the beach, listening to the waves and just pondering things," Dakota Marshall said.

In order to participate in the Hawaiian adventure, Interact members participated in at least seven service projects during the past school year. Each community service project counted toward the trip. Past trips included San Francisco and New York City.

Students cleaned trash from highways and trails. They collected food for the food bank and helped out the animals at the humane society.

At Halloween they made Trunk or Treat banners, at Frontier Elementary School they ran Fall Festival booths.

Whispering Hope Ranch benefited when they spent a day grooming animals and cleaning out stalls.

"I think it is a good program that allows kids to do a lot of community service. They work well together and have good communication," said parent Tedi Flake

"These kids worked hard to go and I thank the chaperones for the peace of mind," Eileen Daniels said.

The teens raise money each year for the spring break trip by doing things like yard clean-up and hosting dinners.

Interact members spent $300 of their own money on materials for quilt tying so when they went caroling to local care centers they had warm presents to give.

They also spent $1,000 of their trip fund and adopted a family at Christmas.

For teens who had spent the past week in bathing suits, enjoying light tropical breezes, light rain and 80 degrees of sunshine, the high 30s overcast Payson skies of March 15 surprised them as they piled happily from their Los Angeles rides.

"This weather is just wrong," Brittney Leafty said.

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