Intern Volunteer FAQ

Community based Intern Volunteer Tourism in Hawaii!


This first group of questions apply to ALL our Intern Volunteer programs:

1. INTERN VOLUNTEER COMPARISON. How is a Fair-Trade Volunteer different from an Intern Community Manager?

Intern Volunteer Comparison

Based on your travel needs, personality and what you want to get out of your stay at our community, these are some of the major differences between our two most popular programs!

Fair-Trade Volunteer Program

Intern Community Manager

Cost Difference
Volunteers pay for each week of stay. If you only wish to stay 3 months or less then the Volunteer Program is more affordable! If you stay longer than 3 months it is cheaper to be an Intern Community Manager.
Work Hours
Volunteers only work 12 hours a week doing jobs under the instructions of an Intern. They have much less responsibility and their work hours are week day mornings. An Intern's work hours are from 8:30 am to 10:30pm. However, then they have 5 days off to enjoy paradise for up to one year at no extra cost.
Authority & Education
Volunteers have less authority and learning opportunities. But that also means less responsibility! Volunteers simply have to follow instructions not give them! An Intern gets to learn how to manage an intentional community! Interns enjoy a practical and theoretical education in sustainable community management.
Eco-Feminist & Mind Work Projects
Because they are usually staying for a relatively short time, only volunteers with special skills can do 'brain work' projects. Interns are much more involved in our Eco-Feminist Entrepreneur portfolio of international and local web projects.
Flexibility & Length of Stay
Normally volunteers stay for a few weeks but less than three months. Volunteers have greater flexibility in scheduling as this is a more tourist based program. If an intern passes their training, they can stay up to one year as long as they perform their duties well! However, they are required to follow the intern schedule of two days per week.
Work Ethic & Responsibility
Volunteers work fixed hours and follow instructions. They can be Union Workers. Both require a good work ethic. Interns work less shifts but are responsible for community management. They are Heroes!


2. YOUTH. I am young and eager with a great desire to learn but little experience. Is experience required to be a Volunteer or Intern?

Age is not necessarily a limiting factor if you are hardworking and excited to learn!
Interns are not expected to work in all the special focus areas but should be a little familiar with our projects so they can answer visitor questions. We strive for balance in Body, Mind and Heart work.
However, some interns may choose to focus more in one specific area:

  1. Body Work. These interns are happy to play an extra active role in community care activities such as deep cleanings of common facilities, lodging spaces, land work and who care about the physical upkeep of the plants and/or buildings in the community.
  2. Heart Work. We have had wonderful Interns who are great at Human Relations and people management (or "heart" work) but who are not capable of doing intense physical ‘body’ work! Human relations definitely qualifies as heart work! Actually, all the Interns have a focus on ‘heart work’ because they are living and working with Guests, Volunteers and other Interns in our Hawaiian paradise!
  3. Brain Work. These projects are a core part of our community identity. Our ideal longer term Intern Community Members should have at least some interest in them. We have had very brainy people who have worked on our websites but are not great at heart or body work. Every person has their specialty. We only ask that Intern applicants be a little open to learning a bit about the other specialties.

3. MATURE ADULTS. I am an older adult. Will I fit in as a Volunteer or Intern at Hedonisia Hawaii?
Senior Volunteers in Hawaii

Elka - 2014 Senior Volunteer at Hedonisia

Hedonisia Hawaii is a community of individuals. We do not discriminate against anyone regardless of their race, gender, age, physical abilities or sexual orientation.

We look for volunteers and interns who are idealistic and passionate about growth in all phases of life; who believe that they can work to make a difference in this world, but are pragmatic about it.

Younger people tend to be more idealistic, but there are many older people who have not yet given up their dreams of making the world a better place. We want those people!

Try this informal survey to see if you think the Hedonisia community would be a good fit for you:

a) Are you able to follow instructions and feedback from someone who is younger than you? Older people bring age and experience but can sometimes be condescending to younger folks because of those same traits. Most of our volunteers and Interns are in the age range of 18-40. This has been a challenge for some older volunteers who resent being given instructions by someone younger.

In the past, knowledge was passed on from generation to generation. However, in today's modern world the information flow often goes the other way with young people making new innovations and teaching their elders. In this fast changing world the youth have different areas of experience which are equally valuable.

We want the experience and wisdom of age combined with youthful enthusiasm, idealism and willingness to learn!

b) Are you coming to learn or be a 'consultant'?  Some have tried to use their age and experience to act as a ‘consultant’ and tell us what we ‘should’ do! Instead of someone who says 'you should do this, you should do that' we look for people who are excited about learning in a community of individuals, not just their own vision on how things should be done. Hedonisia is a collaboration of ideas of from many people. Show that you respect the community and can 'fit in'. Then we are much more open to hearing new ideas and suggestions. Applicants who are professionals should always remember we offer a volunteer program and internship. We are NOT seeking consultants to ‘whip us into shape’!

Monique & Hans - Community Managers - Jan 2013

Monique & Hans – Community Interns – 2013

c) Are you LGBTQ tolerant? As a community of individuals we respect open minds towards those with alternative lifestyles as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. Many seniors with more traditional attitudes tend to be less tolerant of homosexuality or transgender or polyamory. We welcome LGBTQ and poly into our community so obviously that could be a challenge!

d) Have you ever lived in a community setting? We are a community of adult individuals who take personal responsibility of themselves and how to respect others and shared spaces. Community living can be a challenge for a person who has mostly lived alone or in a family household.

d) Are you aware of the Hedonisia Sexual Harassment and Dating Guidelines? At the Hedonisia community adults share communal spaces and work together. This leaves a lot of room for personal interaction. However, many adults, men especially, are not aware that their behavior can constitute sexual harassment. We stress that sexually harassing behavior is not tolerated.

e) Do you have particular needs based on your age or health?

  • Medical Needs. Older volunteers often have medical needs that might not be met when living in the rain forest  For example, the community eco-toilet is located a few hundred yards away from most lodging spaces which means walking in the night to get to the toilet! That might be too much distance and can be a challenge for some adults.
  • Volunteer Dorm Spaces. Most volunteers and intern community members sleep in dorm spaces consisting of two beds. This has been a challenge for some older adults in the past who often prefer to sleep in their own space. Private lodgings can be arranged at an additional cost.
  • Basic & Rustic Jungle Lodgings. Our eco-huts and tents have charm but they are definitely not luxurious! While this is not a problem for most of our volunteers, we often get more needs and requests about the lodgings than we can handle from older volunteers.

4. PARENTS WITH CHILDREN. Can a parent with children ‘fit in’ with the community as a Guest, Volunteer or Intern? Do you have a program suitable for pregnant mothers?

* Pregnant Volunteers or Interns. It is no problem for a pregnant female to stay at Hedonisia as an Intern, Volunteer or Guest. However, we strongly suggest having the funds to rent or buy a car because the public transport system is quite primitive in our area of Hawaii.

Being pregnant and trying to hitchhike can be quite a challenge especially in the hot sun or rain of East Hawaii. Unless working on the Heart or Brain focus specialties we do NOT recommend that pregnant women apply to do purely physical Body work as a Volunteer or Intern. We do recommend pregnant volunteers stay under our Weekly/Monthly Guest Program. This means they only have one Community Support Volunteer Shift a week.

** Parents with Children are welcome as Nightly Guests, for up to 5 nights , but not as Community Interns, longer staying Guests or Volunteers

Family Friendly Intentional Communities. There are other communities in the Puna area such as Cinderland Eco-VillageLa'akea Community, Polestar, Hawaiian Sanctuary and SPACE Hawaii that allow families.

We do not recommend that parents bring their children or babies to Hedonisia for the following reasons:

  1. An Adult Environment. Our community is called Hedonisia and it is definitely geared more towards adults! For example, there are sensual murals and art throughout the property.  Many people reserve with us expecting more of a child-free environment and children have caused complaints from other guests in the past. Hedonisia is one of the few places where adults can relax without children!
  2. Dangerous Natural Features on Property.  We have a volcanic crater and 'bottom less' lava tube onsite which can be very dangerous for unsupervised children.
  3. Volunteers/Interns with Children. It is illegal for a child to work. So parents have to look after their children even while working which can be distracting, as well as dangerous should they wander off. When we did allow volunteers or interns with children in the past they had to arrange for babysitters off property which was difficult.
  4. Parental Responsibility. All parents are completely responsible for the care of their children as well as any effects they may have on other community members and the property itself. If an unsupervised child is hurt, disturbs the peace of the community in any way, fails to behave, or destroys personal or private property, parents are held responsible.

Parental Liability Release. In addition to the Registration Form we require parents to sign an additional Children Guidelines & Liability Release Form!

Termination of Stay. Hedonisia reserves the right to terminate the stay immediately due to inappropriate behavior of the child and/or lack of parental responsibility in the community. Parents are held fully responsible for the actions of their children in community while visiting.Your stay can be terminated for reasons such as:

  • Leaving your children unsupervised on the property at any time . If your child is hurt, you are held responsible.
  • Relying on or requesting another community member to supervise your child(ren) without offering compensation before service is performed.
  • Interactions between you and your child(ren) disturbing other community members in any manner.
  • If your child is repeatedly and consistently disturbing other community members through loud or obnoxious behavior.
  • If your child causing disruptions with or acting unkindly and rudely towards any of our community pets and animals.

5. FOREIGN VOLUNTEERS or INTERNS. I am a foreign national. Can I still apply to be a volunteer or intern?
Danish Intern Fiona at Hedonisia

Danish Intern Fiona at Hedonisia in 2013

'Voluntourism', 'ecotourism' and 'community tourism' are terms used to describe learning about a foreign culture through volunteering. They are one of the fastest growing forms of ethical tourism and the Hedonisia Hawaii Community is proud to be part of this trend.

However, US Government officials give different answers when it comes to defining whether volunteer tourism or 'voluntourism' is an accepted visitor activity for foreign tourists visiting Hawaii.

Both our Intern and Volunteer Program are paid, educational and hands-on ecotourist attractions in Hawaii.  All participants understand that these are NOT jobs as we do not pay a salary or benefits. They are simply having a more immersive experience of rain forest community culture in Hawaii.

Fiona - Danish Intern in Copenhagen

Mojo visiting Fiona on her family boat in Copenhagen!

For an increasing number of eco-tourists helping the environment and culture they are visiting is much more meaningful than just surfing, tanning and taking pictures!

We are not the US government so we cannot advise you about whether you can just come here on a tourist visa based on the country you are applying from. However, you can contact your local US consulate who, if they answer the phone, will guide you on the appropriate visa to apply for or whether you even need anything beyond a normal tourist visa.

According to reports we have received from foreign applicants, it is possible to apply for a student or J1 Intern Visa as long as you are still in a full time education program.

Some volunteers and interns arrive on a Tourist Visa. Some are on a Student, Health, J-1 or other visa. To be absolutely sure, speak to officials at your local US Embassy or Consulate.

For foreign interns, we can work with outside agencies that are often located in an applicant's home country. These services help foreign applicants go through the paperwork to get the right visa for a US internship.

However, because additional work is involved in processing these applications, we charge an additional Foreign Intern Application Fee of $250. This fee is NON-refundable if a visa request is denied by the local US Embassy or Consulate.

6. PROFESSIONALS. Can my professional work be rewarded financially as a Volunteer or Intern?
Eco-Builder Volunteer from Germany

Hans! German Eco-Builder

Hedonisia Volunteers and Interns are providing a Volunteer Work Trade. As we state throughout the site, both are educational positions. Neither is a job that offers a salary or any sort of employment benefits.

While we are quite aware that skilled jobs like electrician, carpenter, Web Designer, masseuse or mechanic are paid at a much higher rate in the “real” world, at the Hedonisia community we value all work equally, measured only by hours. We simply would not be able to survive otherwise.

We offer the Special Skills option as one way for interns and volunteers to show non-monetary appreciation for the work that we do at our community.

These are some of the ongoing Special Skills Categories we usually have a need for:

7. HAWAII MONTHLY BUDGET. Can you recommend a monthly budget for living in Hawaii as a Volunteer or Intern?

Every person is different. Some like to eat more and some like to party more so each visitor's budget when in Hawaii will be different. Nevertheless we have prepared a guideline for a monthly budget when staying at Hedonisia as a Volunteer or Intern:

  1. Volunteer Fee: $120 first week and $60 for each week thereafter.
  2. Intern Fee: $600 Training Fee for 3 weeks. Then free with 2-day work week up to one year.
  3. Food: $600 per month with some food on property.
  4. Transport: $500 (rental car) or $100 (hitchhiking & paid pickups)
  5. Medical & Personal Expenses: Toiletries & any medical expenses if you have a minor illness: $200
  6. Recreational! These are your 'party' expenses so that is completely up to you! Many people socialize on the property and thus save money. Others like to go out and drink. The choice is yours!

So, with good financial planning and by partying a little less it is possible to have a very affordable working vacation in Hawaii for less than $750 a month!

8. HEALTH INSURANCE. Am I required to have Health Insurance as an Intern or Volunteer?

We are a very small community relying on volunteer labor. Your volunteer work contribution is not a ‘job’ and so is not covered by standard labor laws.

When working at any volunteer activity always be aware of your capabilities. If you feel uncomfortable contributing to any project at Hedonisia Hawaii or if you feel a job is too dangerous for you, please let us know. We can usually find another task that is less daunting!!

Personal Responsibility - All Guests and Volunteers are responsible for their own health and safety while on the property of Hedonisia Hawaii. This applies to all aspects of living and working on the land. When you arrive on the Hedonisia property you are asked to sign a Registration Form & Liability Release to confirm this.

We always stress SAFETY in all of our community operations and as a result, we have NOT had any serious accident on the community property in our 10-year history.

However, for most Americans some form of 'Obamacare' health insurance is quite adequate. We have seen the benefits of having a wider range of coverage for more Americans than ever before. It creates a much better safety net for individuals as they travel across the country to enroll in programs such as offered by us. Our sustainable community supports Obamacare!

We strongly recommend that all Volunteers and Managers have Health or Travel Insurance that will allow us to call them an ambulance in the event of an Medical Emergency.

If you don't have Obamacare or click on the link below to purchase additional Travel Insurance especially designed for International Travelers, Volunteers, Students and Educators:

Travel Insurance + Exclusive Discounts
For Students and Educators

9. INCOME. If I qualify to be an Intern or Volunteer can I earn any sort of income at Hedonisia or a second job?

1) Volunteer 2nd Jobs

  • As long as permission is sought beforehand, volunteers may work in advance and “bank” their hours so they can enjoy up to 3 free days without work. However, this is at the Manager’s discretion as some volunteer activities require a daily commitment. If we are doing a special project, then you may have the opportunity to work extra hours to have the next day or days off.
  • Volunteers are NOT allowed to owe hours. However, if you wish to have an extra day off for any reason or if you take a day off then we offer a Special Volunteer Discount rate of $20 for any day that you do NOT want to work!
  • The normal Hedonisia work shift is from 9:30am to 12:30pm. This means that afternoons, evenings and weekends are free. As a result, many past volunteers have had second jobs.
  • There are a few farmers and property owners who occasionally hire Hedonisians to do landscaping, gardening, or light construction work. Sometimes they give us a call to see if there are any Hedonisian Volunteers available. Otherwise you can look on the notice boards of the Health Food shops in the area for work opportunities.

2) Intern 2nd Jobs

Once they have paid their initial training fee, Interns 'pay' for their stay in Hawaii with only two full days of community work each week. This is one of our important Community Enterprise principles; "If we are not able to pay with money we pay with 'time'!

5 days 'off' gives interns the flexibility and time to either enjoy as a tourist, get a job or start a C.A.F.E. entrepreneur business!

Other possible financial benefits for the resourceful Intern at Hedonisia:

a) Hedo Intern CAFE Entrepreneur Incubator Support. Though, of course, we totally understand and support interns getting outside jobs and have always loved: creatives, artists, tech entrepreneurs, telecommuters, etc who are inspired and like to work on the property because that gives us a sense of stability in the community as they are around a lot more!

We allow Interns to start or research a CAFE business on the property as long as permission is sought beforehand and community operations are not affected adversely. Feminist oriented interns can work on the Hedonisia Feminist Entrepreneur Portfolio of web projects to gain knowledge or insight on how to create their own CAFE Enterprise!

To clarify, we are not asking interns to immediately start a social enterprise business! Even if an intern is thinking like a social entrepreneur about an idea at the conceptual stage, that is good enough!

Aside from the planetary benefits of unleashing social CAFE entrepreneur graduates, an intern with a side project of their own will work on the projects where our interests overlap with that much more vigor than if their focus is simply directed outwards!

b) Recycled Goods & Laundry Sales: We offer possibilities for extra income with sales of various recycled items at the Hedonisia community and for applicants with a personal vehicle who have a Clean Driving Record. While not obligatory, we do recommend having a budget for a used vehicle. This will give more potential to earn extra income both at Hedonisia and in the general region.

When you process a laundry, towel sale or bicycle rental you can receive a 50% commission. The 50% commission is for any sales you make of Hedonisia stuff (provided you have talked with us about selling it!) As a ‘green community’ we receive many things which we often refurbish and then sell. So a motivated Intern can always find things to sell on Craigslist when they are on shift!

Small sales of recycled items to the greater community is a nice form of local Public Relations. It gives us an opportunity to show people in the area what Hedonisia is really like. Plus many people have family on the mainland and they like knowing affordable quirky places like ours for their friends and family when they visit.

c) Reference for Outside Jobs. Because we do have filters and a work standard there are a number of property owners who like to call up and hire ‘Hedonisians’. Interns are welcome to use their position at Hedonisia as a reference when seeking outside jobs on their days off.

10. FOOD. Do you provide Food from your Farm to Volunteers or Interns?


Tropical Eating!

Tropical Eating!

About 20% of your payment is considered an Agricultural Farm Produce Fee. This means that any food plants growing on the property, when in season, is free for Volunteers, Guests or Interns to use. Our online Inventory of Hedonisia Plants includes all edibles that we grow. However be sure to have enough funds to buy food for your remaining needs.

We have private food lockers to store your personal food items and you can cook in our beautiful Haka Hou Mana Mana. (Jungle Style Kitchen!)

There is also a Communal Food Area where foodstuffs that are donated or left behind by previous guests are available for community all members to use as a whole.

As part of your pick-up fee from the airport we always stop by the grocery store so you can stock up! Otherwise there are a number of supermarkets and health food stores in the area.

Hedonisia is defined as, “A community of independent individuals (and couples)!”. Occasionally, we share our food and eat our meals together, but those times are random and spontaneous.

There are also restaurants, supermarkets and the Island Naturals Market and Deli located about 5 miles away in the town of Pahoa.

11. GROUPS. We are a group of friends who wish to travel together. Can we apply for the Internship or to be Volunteers?

We are a community of individuals (and couples!) with a maximum population of 18. As well, we have a maximum quota of 7 Interns at any one time. As a result, we do not accept groups of more than two friends to apply as Interns at the same time.

Based on past experience, a group of 3 or more friends tend to form a clique which can have a dominant effect on the social vibe of the community. We have also found it more challenging to train a group of friends as they tend to be more inward looking in their own social dynamic rather than outward to the community.

Small groups of 3 persons or more can stay as Nightly Guests for 3 nights or less.

If you are a group of friends you can decide amongst yourselves which two people should apply first and the others are able to apply at a later date. If you just want to hang out with your friends, then it might be better you to find another community that will accept you as a group. You can always apply with us at a later time!

12. COUPLES. Must couples apply to be Interns or Volunteers together or can each partner do a different program?

Any two people, LGBT or straight, can apply as a couple as long as they share the same bed-space. Couples have to work 2 full work shifts each week; one separately and one shared. This means each partner has two shifts including one overlapping. Couples like this as it gives them a break away from each other as well as 4 days off together in paradise!

A couple can also take part in two separate Hedonisia programs. For example, one partner can be training as an Community Intern while the other pays as a weekly/monthly guest. Under this scenario, we charge our single community member training fee for the intern and then half of the other program cost, as long as the couple are sharing a bed space.

13. PRIVATE LODGING. Can I have a Private Space as a Volunteer or Intern or must I stay in a shared space?
Cozy Nook hut in Hawaii

Cozy Nook Hut

Our shared dorm spaces have only 2 beds and are the standard lodgings for single interns or volunteers.

However, some volunteers or interns, especially those who like their privacy , often prefer to pay the upgrade fee to stay in a private space.

The default lodging for both programs is a shared space.

However, we do allow a Private Space Upgrade Option for a small additional fee.

  1. Singles who wishes to reserve a private space such as Ocean View, Rollinia HouseLono Hale or Guava Hut or to take one of the shared spaces as a private space, they can do so for an additional charge of $50 per week.
  2. Couple Upgrade. Ocean View is available for couples for a $75 weekly upgrade fee.
  3. Deluxe Upgrade. Kahuna Cabin & Jungle Cottage are available for a $95 and $115 weekly upgrade fee respectively for either singles or couples.

Interns, who wish to stay in a budget private space can stay at no extra charge in Rain Forest Tent or Puka Hale.

Longer term interns, Anchor Interns or couples who have shown that they are a great fit in the community can stay in Guava Hale, Rollinia House, Lono Hale or Cozy Nook.

14. CANCELATION or PROGRAM CHANGE. What is your Cancellation or Program Change Policy if the internship is not suitable for me? Can I change to another program?

Intern Cancelation Policy

An Applicant's payment is for the Intern Training and includes lodgings for 3 weeks.

While we have had many Interns who enjoy the Hedonisia Hawaii Community life, we understand that this Internship is not for everyone. We want to have the most motivated, friendly, responsible and hardworking Interns who can enjoy their life in the rainforest whilst participating in a community that is small in size but global in reach.

We simply cannot guarantee acceptance of all applicants. It is only when someone has arrived and worked with us for a while that we are truly able to assess whether they would be a good fit as an Intern at Hedonisia Hawaii. This goes both ways, of course. After living and working here you will know if this is a good fit for you!

However, even if you don’t get the position you still would have been able to enjoy three weeks stay at Hedonisia and a training in sustainable community management. At $695 that is a great deal!

Compassionate Cancelations or Change of Program

We or you could decide that you are not a good fit for the Community Intern Manager Program before the 3 weeks are up. Assuming there is no other issue such as a serious violation of our Community Guidelines, we can pro-rate your payment ( - $40 processing fee) towards one of our other programs:

  1. Weekly/Monthly Community Experience. Depending on the Lodging you choose we will pro-rate accordingly. This option will give you the most free time to search around if you want to find another community or place to stay.
  2. Fair-Trade Volunteer. That would work out to roughly 5 weeks total as a volunteer assuming you want to change programs during the first week.

Canceling Before Arrival. If you decide to cancel before you arrive we charge a $200 Cancellation Fee because we have reserved this intern space for you. In addition, each approved application involves time and energy to process.

Compassionate Refund Cancelation Form: It is community policy that, once you begin your internship we do not issue a refund. However, we understand that each person sometimes has special circumstances and so we have a Compassionate Refund Policy.

When you complete this form please give your reasons for wanting to cancel. This is a Compassionate Refund and not obligatory so we are interested in your personal story. If you are already on the property the size of the refund is dependent upon how you conduct yourself on the property and how well you clean your bed space when you leave. Once approved your refund will go back to the card you originally used for your payment after your departure.

Volunteer or Taste of Hedonisia Cancelation. Please go to the Hedonisia Reservation Info Page for our Cancellation Policy for pre or post-arrival cancellations for Guests and Volunteers.


These questions apply ONLY to those who are interested in the Sustainable Community Manager Internship:

1. INTERN BENEFITS. What are the Benefits of being an Intern Community Manager?
French Intern Victoria seeking Benefits!

French Intern Victoria seeking Benefits!

Many interns see our intern program as an affordable way to stay long term at a fun eco-community in Hawaii. We understand and accept that.

However, our goal with this internship is to create a working educational program whose ultimate goal is to ‘graduate’ C.A.F.E. Entrepreneurs who go out and change the world!

Our internship is NOT a job so we don't pay a salary! The benefits you receive are:

  1. 2-Day Work Week!  You get free lodgings in Hawaii for only two full work days a week (three days for couples)! The hours are long on those two days - from 8:30am to 10:30pm and you will work hard. However, there is much down-time during those shifts and by concentrating your work into only 2 days, you have have 5 days off to earn extra income or simply to enjoy Hawaii, exploring the attractions of our paradise island!
  2. Accommodations Included. Please visit our Community Intern FAQ for more info on the various rustic 'jungle lodgings' that are available for Community Management Interns, both couples and singles.
  3. Tropical Garden Produce. Interns have unlimited access to the Hedonisia gardens which produce a number of edible crops depending on the season. (Approx. value: $60 per month).
  4. Moving to or just enjoying Hawaii. A self motivated couple or individual can use this position as a foundation from which to create opportunities in Hawaii and elsewhere. Or they can simply enjoy their days off to be a tourist in paradise!
  5. Living in Paradise! Yes that is a real benefit! The Puna region of Hawaii is beautiful, lush green, alternative, New Age, wacky, Pagan, eccentric and eco-friendly! We try to stay on earth at Hedonisia but we love living in our little island paradise!
  6. Free Laundry. Two free laundry loads a week valued at $40 per month.
  7. The Hedonisia Handbook is the training manual for all applicants. Normally priced at $9.95, it is included with the cost of the Intern Training Fee.
  8. Social Entrepreneur Start-Up Incubator! Hedonisia also provides support as a start-up incubator for interns with a C.A.F.E. Entrepreneur idea of their own!
  9. Intern Entrepreneur Partner. We have a number of eco-feminist projects that interns can choose to be more deeply involved with.

2. INTERN REQUIREMENTS. What are the Requirements for being an Intern Community Manager?
  1. Idealistic but Pragmatic. Our ideal Community Interns are ambitious people who want to use their time at Hedonisia to further their own goals and dreams of improving society and/or the environment. Unlike other communities, we offer the opportunity for interns to learn how to manage the community plus having a focus on ‘Mind’, Heart or Body work!
  2. Education & Enthusiasm for Learning. We do love candidates who have at least some post secondary education. It does not matter if you didn’t complete your degree or training. Simply to have done any post secondary education is enough! We have noticed that a person who continues to learn in their twenties rather than dropping out of high school in their teens is much easier to work with and train. While we can accept someone as an intern who did not complete high school it is necessary for them to show exceptional enthusiasm for learning!
  3. Self Motivation. Though you will have a support team of other community members and the directors, self motivated individuals will find much to make them busy on their work shifts! We encourage social entrepreneurs but are happy when people simply make connections and friends during their time at the Hedonisia Hawaii Sustainable Community!
  4. Interns are 'Heroes' not 'Union Workers'. Occasionally, we have applicants who are not self motivated. They do only what they are told to do and simply wait around for instructions. We call people like that ‘Union Workers’. We can accept union workers as fair-trade volunteers on a short stay. However, union worker types do not make good Community Management Interns.
  5. Communication: This position is ideal for someone with great communication skills as you will be communicating with volunteers, the Director and other Community Interns regarding various physical and web based projects.
  6. Volunteers: You will be working with volunteers on projects to keep the property maintained. You are the key point person for volunteers on property. The Intern Community Members works with the owner and other members to coordinate volunteer creative and beautification projects.
Interns & Friends in Hawaii

Emily & Tara: Interns & Friends!

Emily - Intern Role Model. Emily, a past intern performed her duties very much according to the Hedonisia Community Guidelines!

  1. Excellent communication skills. She nearly always consulted before doing anything major. Followed up on focus projects with emails and phone calls and thorough Reports. Was patient, polite, detailed and easy to communicate with.
  2. Phone Questions. Called many times for clarification of issues both big and small. As a result there were almost no miscommunications.
  3. New Ideas. Throughout her stay she suggested new ideas with enthusiasm and follow through and was not dismayed if I did not agree to some of them!
  4. Brain, Heart and Body Focus. We love interns who can work on all three as it shows a great sense of balance. Emily did that!
  5. Calm Handling of Stressful Situations. There were a few on her shifts and she handled them with relative ease.
  6. Strong Finish. As her time came to a close she has continued to work hard in the community for a strong finish or what we call an 'honorable departure'.

3. INTERN FOCUS. What are Intern Focus Jobs?
Hawaii Eco-Feminist Mind Work Intern

Heather 2015: Eco-Feminist Mind Work Intern!

As part of your internship we ask you to pick a ‘focus’ activity that will be your personal contribution to the Hedonisia Community. This can be MindBody or Heart based work that you can do by yourself.

Choose as many as you wish for they will be your unique contribution to the community. When the heart, body and mind work together there is much more balance than when a person is too specialized!

With a maximum population of 18 we do give preference to Interns who have the abilities and desire to work on any of our eco-feminist community enterprise projects in addition to their normal community manager chores.

If you complete the training and are offered a position as Intern Manager, you will be responsible for the usual duties associated with managing our community. However, each Intern has an opportunity to choose specialties based on their skills and interests from the Heart, Body Mind list below. These will be their focus projects which they can work on as part of their normal community manager duties.

  1. BODY Work: Focus on Gardens, Tree Farming, Community Repairs, Landscaping & Beautification.
  2. HEART Work: Focus on Creative Work Projects. If you are someone who works really well with people we consider that ‘heart work’!
  3. MIND Work: Focus on our environmental, political and social enterprise projects.


Hedonisia Politics

In our community of individuals it is not compulsory for interns to work on political activism. When it comes to politics we can describe an issue like but cannot require support on that nor make it part of the internship. We hope is that interns genuinely appreciate the ‘big picture’ of what we are trying to do and give support from that space.

Every intern currently at our community, is only there because of our past activism. In April 2011, Hedonisia was ordered to be closed by the County of Hawaii. Were it not for our activism in the HSCA, this community would not exist!

Micro issues like building, cleaning, community relations and maintenance are important for the survival of a community and are part of an intern’s duties. The macro issues like the political environment and government regulations are also important but they are not part of an intern’s ‘work’.

In 2012 - 2014 we had 4 interns who did play a small role in the HSCA. They attended meetings of their own volition and gave testimony. They understood that we could not require interns to be political. They just cared for Hedonisia and other communities in the area and wanted to be part of creating a historic piece of ‘big picture’ legislation.

Hedonisia does plan to be more politically active as part of our policy of entrepreneur activism! So interns are welcome to choose this as part of their focus activities!

4. INTERN TRAINING. What is my schedule for Training if I am accepted as Candidate? And what is the schedule if I pass my Training?

Once you are approved in the telephone interview and we receive your Intern Training Fee we will send you a confirmation email with a username and password for the Hedonisia Handbook. This will give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the policies and practices that make our community function smoothly. This ebook is included in the cost of your internship and is also the manual for your training.

Week 1. Volunteer Tryout Week

ll Intern applicants must complete a one-week initial Volunteer Tryout where you will try a variety of tasks in the weekday mornings. The first week, you work a grand total of 12 hours! This light work week also gives you an opportunity to see if Hedonisia is the place for you!

  • Aloha Monday & Friday: (Half Shift): 10:30AM - 12PM
  • Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

In the first week, intern trainees will cover the following areas during volunteer shifts:

  • Day 1: Facilities Deep Cleaning
  • Day 2: Land Work & Tools / Wildlife Study
  • Day 3: Hedonisia Gardens
  • Day 4: Lodging Readiness
  • Day 5: Shift Preparation Assistant

Week 2: Intern Community Manager 'Shadow' Training

i) 'Shadow' Training. You learn 'hands on' for 3 days during the week where you will 'shadow' a more senior Community Manager as they go about their normal day. During your Shadow Days there will be times when you are 'on' by yourself with the Manager in the background to be called upon if needed!
ii) Hedonisia Handbook. The Hedonisia Handbook is our training manual for all Interns. In the afternoon or 'Focus' period of your shift you get a second chance to read the Hedonisia Handbook.

iv) 1st Training Review Q&A, Discussion & Examination

At the end of your 3rd Shadow Shift you will have a Question & Answer Review with a Community Director. We ask you questions about the practical aspects of managing the community as well as the Hedonisia Handbook Community Manual. This is also your time to ask questions about any aspect of your internship and training! (Quick Tip. Curiosity shows you have read the material!)

Upon completion of this Q&A we let you know if you are qualified to be an Intern Community Member! If you pass Congratulations! Your 'work week' will automatically drop to 2 days!

Week 3. Second Shadow Week!

Final Interview: If you did not 'pass' you still have a second Shadow Week to learn the program, get yourself up to speed and to pass in the next interview by repeating the training of your first Shadow Week. However, you will now be much more familiar with our community, policies and Review Q & A.

At the completion of your third Shadow Week you will once again have a final interview with the Community Director. Upon passing this verbal exam we will offer you a promotion to Intern Community Manager.

If you did not pass on your second interview then it may still be possible to stay on as a Fair-Trade Volunteer or Weekly/Monthly Guest however, those are paid programs.
If you are still showing great promise and potential as an Intern but did not pass, we can, at our discretion, allow you to try one more Shadow Week to give yourself a third and final chance!


Intern Daily Schedule

If you have been accepted, as an Intern you will have a two-shift work week. Each shift is long at 14 hours and is broken up into morning, afternoon and evening.  However, you have lots of downtime during the shift and 5 days off!

A typical Intern Manager day has three basic parts:

1) Morning BODY Work! Volunteer management and land-work (8:30 AM - 1:00 PM) We usually do Physical and Volunteer work in the community at this time as it is still cooler and nice to work.

  • Morning Prep (8:30 AM - 9:30 AM)
  • Volunteer Task Assignments (9:30 AM - 9:45 AM)

2) Afternoon Focus Work! Focus, Solitary & Special Jobs (1:00 PM - 6:00 PM) This is usually the quietest time on the property so it is a great time to work on the various Focus projects that each intern chooses as part of their portfolio.

  • Afternoon Prep: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Afternoon FOCUS time: 3:00 pm-5:00 pm

3) Evening HEART Work! 6:00 pm- 10:30 pm This is when people are cooking, coming home, and otherwise 'hanging out'! ' We call this the Heart time of the day because it is when the social skills matter as you are communicating in a relaxed environment.

  • 10:00 PM- 10:30 PM Fill in Intern Report for day
  • 10:30 PM: Closing down Kitchen and Good Night!

After 10:30pm: You are ON CALL!

5. INTERN DRIVING. I have a Clean Driving Record. What are my transportation options as a Community Intern?

For applicants who wish to stay for at least a few months in Hawaii we recommend saving enough to purchase a used vehicle. This will give a possibility to make a few dollars with our donation based airport pickup service.

Sometimes we will trust an intern to use our vehicle but this is very much on a case by case basis. Interns MUST have clean driving record and will be tested to use our vehicle.

Driving interns are eligible to receive donation payments for the following services:

  • Airport & Driving Pickups: If car is owned by Intern then they receive 90% of pickup fee from Hilo Airport. (33% for Interns who use the our vehicle.)
  • Recycling Redemption & Gas Allowance. If you use your vehicle for Hedonisia recycling runs then you receive an additional gas allowance of $40 per month plus the full redemption money of bottle deposits from recycling.

6. INTERN LODGINGS. What kind of Lodgings can I expect as a Community Intern?

All Community Interns will be assigned lodgings based on availability, seniority, work ethic, friendliness and aptitude.

Single Community Interns enjoy any of the following dorm spaces which are shared with only one other person of the same gender:

  1. Aloha Bus,
  2. Avocado Hale,
  3. Ohi’a Camper

Single Interns who wish to have a private space can stay at one of the following based on availability for no additional fee:

  1. Puka Hale
  2. Rain Forest Tent
  3. Private Camping

Couples are assigned a private space which can be one of the following:

They can also camp or share one of the dorm spaces.

Intern Private Spaces. We understand that some single Community Interns prefer to sleep in a private space. This is possible under three different conditions.

  1. If the Intern is promoted to Anchor Manager
  2. For being on duty one full extra shift
  3. For additional Upgrade Payments based on the lodging they desire. This also applies to couples seeking to stay at one of the lodgings with more amenities.

7. INTERN VACATIONS. How long can I stay as an Intern? Can I take a longer holiday or visit the mainland and then return as an Intern?
  • If you leave and return within 3 months there is NO Retraining Fee!
  • After 3 months there is a $50 Retraining Fee.
  • After 1 year there is a $100 Retraining Fee.

Arrive with aloha, leave with aloha!

8. STUDENT INTERNS. I am a US student. Can I still be an Intern at Hedonisia and have it reflected in my course requirements?

US Students. We are willing to work with universities or other educational institutions to adjust our internship program to fit with their school requirements. However, for those who are receiving a grant or credit there may be extra work and training involved depending on the requirements of your institution.

Additional Student Processing Fees. Our standard fee for the Intern Training is $695 for a typical applicant. However, if we are required to do additional paperwork to satisfy your student requirements then we do charge an additional fee of $25 per hour to complete those forms with a $25 minimum.

If there is an ongoing commitment of paperwork or reports to send in to your University or Grant office then we charge a flat rate of $250.

However, if your school or grant office does not require any additional paperwork from us or if you are able to complete it yourself then you save on this cost!

9. BARGAIN INTERNS! Can I ‘bargain down’ the Intern Training Fee because I’m on a budget?

Our Internship fee covers training and lodgings for three weeks in Hawaii. Most applicants are happy and enthusiastic to pay this sum because they understand and appreciate the value of our Internship. Many community interns first saw our website months or years ago, then they planned and prepared before arriving, growing in excitement as the time got closer!

However, when an applicant tries to bargain down this low price it tends to show that they have very little appreciation for the value of our program. They are simply trying to get the cheapest option to stay in Hawaii.

Based on past experience such Interns often have been the most difficult to work with because they continue to ‘bargain’ all along their internship as their focus is on themselves and their budget not the community and the work we are doing.

In addition, when an applicant indicates that they have such a tiny budget it shows they have not prepared adequately for living in Hawaii. Interns get some but are responsible for most of their food needs so they need to at least have some starting funds.

Normally when an Intern applicant asks for a discount or tries to bargain down our very low prices before even arriving it is considered a 'red flag' for us.

10. INTERN TEAM. Who are the current intern team members?

Intern Team at Hedonisia Hawaii Eco-Community!

Our community intern team is not permanent. It is ever changing with new intern team members arriving and leaving throughout the year.

This is our most up to date group! Do not be surprised if you show up and there is a new face you do not see below!

Each Intern is drawn to Hedonisia for a different reason. Yet, as a community of individuals, they come together and work harmoniously managing the community and web projects.

As individuals they add their own twist to the intern team experience creating a fluid community dynamic that is ever-changing.

We list each intern, sometimes with a link to at least one of their focus projects which they work on as part of their intern manager duties.​

Francesca Intern

Community Anchor Intern Manager
Robert Anchor Intern
Feminist Entrepreneur FocusKesi - Feminist Entrepreneur Focus

To see pics of some of our past interns you can go to our Intern Alumni or Jungle Queen pages!

If you are a past intern and do not see your picture, feel free to send us one of your time at Hedonisia. We have had at least a couple hundred interns in our history so it is hard to keep updating everyone's photos.

11. FULL HOUSE! If you are full are there any other options or can I just do the training?
Interns and volunteers in Hawaii

Intern & Volunteer Team: Winter 2016

With a maximum population of 7 we do give long term preference to Interns who have the ability and enthusiasm to work on any of our feminist and activist enterprise projects. These projects are a core part of our community identity and our ideal Interns should have at least some interest in them.

Interns can stay up to a year at Hedonisia based on what we call WAFF: 

  1. Work Ethic: the ability to follow instructions, receive feedback and complete work efficiently!
  2. Availability: We can only accept Intern Members if we have available space!
  3. Flexibility: Intern’s ability to adapt to new guidelines without fuss.
  4. Friendliness: Is the Intern a community person who can live harmoniously with others?

If an intern does stay a year we recommend that they get away for a bit, go out in the world or connect with family and friends. As long as an Intern leaves in good standing they can return for another stint refreshed and renewed!

If we are full here are some options for applicants!

  1. Be a Volunteer. If you started as a volunteer, once you pay for the initial week the Volunteer program only costs $60 a week after that or $240 a month. That's $240 a month to stay in Hawaii!
  2. Be a Guest.The Weekly or Monthly stays are bit more expensive but still a good deal. If you have the budget you can stay or as a Weekly/Monthly Guest until a space becomes available.
  3. Visit Other Communities. While waiting for an Intern space to open up it is often a good time to visit other communities. We have found that when applicants visit other communities and then return that they have a greater appreciation of our community structure.
  4. Go Camping around the island! If you are on a budget you can just be a tourist and camp around the island.
  5. Try again another time! We cannot guarantee a space so even if you choose any of the above you may still not get a spot! In that case we still strongly recommend that you enjoy your time as a volunteer or guest and do a great job. Then apply for a future date!
  6. Training & then Waiting! You can also still register to do the intern training, if there are no intern placements available after you have completed the training and passed the training assessments you would be put on a waiting list for when an intern space opens up.

Our program is ongoing so interns can arrive at any time during the year. However, we recommend spring or fall as there is usually more availability in that time.

Support Intern. When we have a full quota of 7 interns or if an applicant wishes to stay for a shorter time, we offer a Support Internship that allows you to pay the Intern Training Fee to cover your training and lodgings at our community in Hawaii.

A Support Intern shadows an Intern Manager and assists them as they go about their duties so it is a lighter training. However, there would be no test at the end of their three weeks. They would have access to but would not be required to study the Hedonisia Handbook and all the other community guidelines.

12. INTERN DEPARTURE & RETURN. What is the Check-Out process for an Honorable Departure &/or Return?

When an intern is preparing to leave the community, they sometimes have a tendency to mentally 'check out' before they have actually left. They get sloppy and begin losing motivation; they do less on their shifts than required and they say and do things that are not exactly in the spirit of the community.

While it is understandable to prepare for departure it should not come at the expense of the community. It does not create the best example especially for new interns who are still looking at the departing interns as role models. So please try to stay engaged right up to your last day. Finish all outstanding focus projects, keep up a good positive energy and leave with aloha!

When you are ready to leave Hedonisia, please give us as much notice as possible! A month is what we recommend. However, we do understand if you have an emergency and must leave quickly. (We all have family on the mainland!)

Leave in good standing and return as a Friend of Hedonisia with an 'honorable departure'!

  • Be sure to leave a clean bed space!
  • Be sure to ask for a Certificate of Completion.
  • Be sure to reserve your return if you wish to come back as an intern within three months
  • After 3 months returnees only have to pay a $100 Training Update Fee.
  • After 1 year returning interns only have to pay a $200 Retraining Fee.

We can issue a Certificate of Completion for volunteers or interns who have completed their time with us in good standing. If Volunteer is a student, then we can adjust the Volunteer hours to reflect the requirements of Student’s educational institution.

Please note that this Certificate will not be issued or can be nullified if an Intern or Volunteer's subsequent behavior is contrary to any of our polices and guidelines or reflects negatively on the reputation of our community.

Intern Airport Dropoff: When an intern finishes their internship in good standing and is ready to leave we offer the following a dropoff to the airport discounted to $20 (we still have to pay the drivers and gas 😉 For Anchor Interns we will give a free drive to the airport.

Returning Interns on Short Visits! Whatever lodging they pick, ex-Interns only have to pay for the lodging priced below it. For example if they want the Jungle Cottage they only have to pay the Kahuna Cabin price. Or if they want a dorm space they only have to pay the single person camping rate. This discount also applies to any friend or partner they bring with them as long as they are sharing the same bed space!