Mega Camp experience brings keiki outdoors for an adventure experience

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Derek Stuart helps students build a fire at an earlier Mega Camp. (PHOTO COURTESY OF DEREK STUART)
Derek Stuart helps one of his Mega Camp students in 2011. (PHOTO COURTESY OF DEREK STUART)
Mega Campers learn how to work together while having fun during a Mega Camp. (PHOTO COURTESY OF DEREK STUART)

After spending a school year focusing on books and indoor learning, Derek Stuart, owner of Mega Camps, believes that students should make the most of their summer freedom by learning basic outdoor skills and experiencing adventure.

To help, Stuart has developed an engaging, hands-on adventure Mega Camp for “adventurous” 7-9 year olds and 10-14 year olds, as well as young teens, where students learn outdoor skills not typically offered on Hawaii Island. The groups are kept intentionally small and run from May through August in blocks.

“Mega Camp is dedicated to providing young people with an opportunity to build confidence, self acceptance and an open mind toward others,” said Stuart.

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Stuart has experience as an adventurer. He has been an international expedition river guide, safety kayaker, and videographer and photographer while visiting 42 countries and five continents, according to his Mega Camp website. He was an Outward Bound instructor in Zimbabwe and even a children’s adventure camp leader in France and Wales.

“A myriad of opportunities lie on or just beyond our doorstep and our mobile day camps utilize adventure and activities beyond what is available in schools and most programs,” Stuart said. “Mega Camp is a camp like no other.”

Camp is in blocks this season with a focus on the elements as themes: air, water, fire and earth, learning about how they sustain life and what they mean to our survival as we go though our adventurous activities. Day clinics can be scheduled at anytime for four or more.

“I find that children and youth discover a greater love for our island’s natural bounty,” Stuart said. “Feedback is that a new balance is formed between an existing interest in indoor activities at home and a new yearning and confidence in a healthy lifestyle, and that discussion with parents is renewed and goes beyond the latest fads.”

Mega Campers will have the opportunity to experience hiking, archery, body boarding, surfing, fort building, harnessed tree climbing, stick carving, rope work and farm adventures. Each week, students will be able to enjoy weekly aqua days, which teach new swimming skills and safety as well as enjoying the ocean, with kayaking near shore.

Overnight camping is available again and a circle island adventure ‘surfari’ is planned for this summer.

“Friendship and personal challenge along with caring and encouraging staff will help to enhance life skills, foster personal growth and promote a sense of camaraderie and community,” Stuart said.

For more information, email Stuart at 808-756-1127 or visit