Intern Volunteer FAQ !
Questions about the Work Trade Programs offered at Hedonisia Hawaii Eco-Community:
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!
|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.|
|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!|
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
The issue of ageism is very relevant today. Both older and younger adults often view each other quite negatively. It is definitely different from years ago when there was much more social mixing between the ages.
We discuss stereotypes in our community very openly as is our right under the 1st Amendment. However, it is one thing to describe a stereotype, it is another to reject a person based on stereotypes without giving them a chance.
Prejudice is when a person is automatically rejecting another based on stereotypes of their particular demographic group.
When it comes to older versus younger interns, we have had more challenges with the former.
However, once they send in a good application, we try to give mature adults a chance. While we do describe patterns in human behavior, we give every good applicant an opportunity to prove themselves.
Younger people tend to be more idealistic, but there are many mature adults 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’!
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 for 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 Consent Culture Community Guidelines? At the Hedonisia 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 rainforest , 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.
* 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.
Family Friendly Intentional Communities. There are other communities in the Puna area such as Cinderland Eco-Village, La'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:
- 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!
- Dangerous Natural Features on Property. We have a volcanic crater and 'bottom less' lava tube onsite which can be very dangerous for unsupervised children.
- 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.
- 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.
- No other children. Based on past experience, children often wish to be around other children and feel lonely when surrounded only by other adults.
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.
'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.
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.
Skilled or Professional Interns or Volunteers in Hawaii
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.
Community Volunteer Opportunities for Professionals!
Due to our increasing popularity, our intern program only has a few spaces available at any given time in the year. Depending on the skills you have, and how much we need them at the moment, your application might stand a better chance of being approved.
- Eco-Builder, Carpenter, Creator of Tiny Homes! (volunteer or intern)
- Creative Mural Artist or Wood Carver (volunteer or intern)
- WordPress, SEO, Social Media Tech Skills (volunteer or intern)
- Video Editing & Research skills (volunteer or intern)
- Hospitality Reservations Manager (Interns only: Small stipend)
- Intern Community Manager (Interns only: Small stipend)
Volunteers, Interns and Guests Online Application
Be sure to mention any of the above Special Skills in your application! If you have read about our programs and feel ready you can APPLY NOW!
Every person is different. Some like to eat more and some like to party more so each visitor's Hawaii monthly budget will be different depending on their needs.
- Food: Approximately $600 per month for supermarket and grocery purchases. However, this sum is dependent on your appetite!
- Eco-Community Agritourism Program. Guests are free to harvest tropical Produce on property.
- Transport: Approximately $500 (rental car) or $100 (hitchhiking & paid pickups)
- Medical & Personal Expenses: Toiletries & any medical expenses if you have a minor illness: $100
- Recreational! Your 'party' and 'entertainment' expenses so that is completely up to you! Many people socialize on the property and thus save money. Others like to go out. The choice is yours! However, because our area of Hawaii is more of a day culture, there is some but not much nightlife. This tends to save money as night entertainment can get very expensive.
So, with good financial planning and by partying a little less it is possible to have a very affordable working vacation in Hawaii about $750 a month!
Health Insurance in an Eco-Community
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 Insurance. Foreign Nationals should get Travel Insurance that will allow us to call an ambulance in the event of a Medical Emergency.
1) Volunteer 2nd Jobs
- Volunteers are NOT allowed to owe hours. However, if you wish to have an extra day off for a job 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 in Pahoa for work opportunities.
2) Intern Income - 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 business!
Other possible financial benefits for the resourceful Intern at Hedonisia:
a) Hedo Intern CAFE Entrepreneur Incubator Support
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) Intern Hospitality, Reservations & Bookings Manager!
This position is only available to applicants who have been working at least a month as an Intern Community Manager.
Unlike regular interns, we offer a small stipend which is paid at the end of the month.
Once fully trained, an Intern Hospitality Manager works only about one hour a day during their Intern shift.
So they are not working extra time, simply doing an important job as part of their intern shift which they receive $10 per shift for. It is not much but in our area of Hawaii, the cost of living is lower. And your lodgings are already paid as an intern!
This position is ideal for the intern who wishes to learn about hospitality, ecotourism, communication, accounting, customer and public relations and the filtering process that goes into managing an intentional community!
Here are some of the duties that an Intern Hospitality Manager will be responsible for:
- Filter Authority. To decide which guest and volunteer applicants are allowed and in what capacity.
- Bookings Spreadsheet Accuracy. When booking a guest, be sure the calendar is clearly filled out so that Community Director and other interns can understand all booking details.
- Confirm reservation details, process credit cards, send confirmation emails, schedule pick-ups and arrange drivers.
- 3rd Party Referral Sites. Check and process bookings that come through sites like HostelWorld or HostelBookers, and respond to inquires through volunteer sites like GoAbroad or Idealist.
- Email Inquiries: Managers must also check bookings via email, reply to inquiries, send price quotes, send confirmation emails, and forward emails to appropriate parties.
Bookkeeping & Accounting: Interns are responsible for entering cash payments and receipt expenditures into the google online spreadsheet accounting system.
At the end of the month the Intern Hospitality Manager consults with the Director about the totals for the cash received and deposits made. Once they are in agreement only then will the Director close out the month, save a copy and open a new month. The Anchor Manager should NOT make copies of the month for the protection of customer data.
d) Intern Community Property Manager
The Property Manager is an intern who really enjoys having a detailed knowledge and overview of the lodgings, facilities and land. As part of their shift they will spend some time deeply observing these aspects and then making a report which will be the basis for the other interns to follow. $10 a report will be paid per shift.
Eco-Community Agritourism in Hawaii!
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 Botanical InventoList 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.
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!
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
These questions apply ONLY to those who are interested in the Intern Community Manager Program:
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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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!
- Free Laundry. Two free laundry loads a week valued at $40 per month.
- 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.
- 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!
- Intern Entrepreneur Partner. We have a number of eco-feminist projects that interns can choose to be more deeply involved with.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- Volunteer Management: You will be working with volunteers on projects to keep the property maintained and to coordinate creative and beautification projects.
Intern Entrepreneur Ideas
We understand that many people want to intern at Hedonisia because it takes only two days of work to have a great community to live in Hawaii.
People who see this as just a great place to stay and meet people tend to also see this as a job and behave according. However, this internship is NOT a job and there is a Community Director NOT a boss.
Those who treat it as such will only get so much out of their internship.
While we want everyone to have a great time, our IDEAL candidate is someone who truly wants to make the world a better place. Those who show both in word and action that they want to be selfless rather than self-centered.
It doesn’t have to be as an idealistic entrepreneur. It could be through a profession like being a Park Ranger or a nurse or working in a non-profit.
An intern who actually ‘get’s what we are trying to teach and then goes on the make a living income with a business idea that improves the lives, of people or the planet.They are the ones who benefit. (As well as the planet!)
This internship is ideal for those who ALSO want to be an ethical entrepreneur!
Our little eco-community manages the following educational resource websites for ethical entrepreneurs.
When Interns have an idea they would like to work on, even if it takes them years, they can then choose Brain Focus projects that align with the business they want to start from our portfolio:
- Hedonisia Handbook: How to manage an Eco-Tourist Community
- EcoFeminist Entrepreneur: Creating commercial products and services for gender equality.
- EcoSexual Entrepreneur: Working with sexuality to improve society and the natural environment.
- Activist Entrepreneur: Using Using business as a tool for social change.
Interns are 'Heroes' not 'Union Workers'. Occasionally, there are interns who are not self-motivated. They do only what they are told to do and simply wait around for instructions. We call such interns ‘Union Workers’. We can accept union workers as fair-trade volunteers or weekly/monthly guests doing a community support shift. However, union worker types do not make good Community Manager Interns.
We encourage social entrepreneurs but are happy when people simply make connections and friends during their time at the Hedonisia Hawaii Sustainable Community!
Emily - Intern Role Model. Emily, a past intern performed her duties very much according to the Hedonisia Community Guidelines!
- 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.
- Phone Questions. Called many times for clarification of issues both big and small. As a result, there were almost no miscommunications.
- 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!
- 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!
- Calm Handling of Stressful Situations. There were a few on her shifts and she handled them with relative ease.
- 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'.
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, as part of your internship we ask you to pick a ‘focus’ activity that will be your personal contribution to the Hedonisia Community.
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.
- BODY Work: Focus on Gardens, Tree Farming, Community Repairs, Landscaping & Beautification.
- HEART Work: Focus on Creative Work Projects. If you are someone who works really well with people we consider that ‘heart work’!
- MIND Work: Focus on our environmental, political and social enterprise projects.
Your focus projects will be your unique contribution to the community. However, 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 projects in addition to their normal community manager chores.
Especially when it comes to our reproductive rights and sex positive feminist projects, interns can choose to share what they are working on or not.
In other words, as as happened many times already, interns can work on our various eco-feminist brain projects and nobody on the community will have any idea that they are doing so!
This is part of our ongoing effort to be a community of individuals and to respect privacy, and Sexual Harassment Guidelines especially with regards to our more risque work.
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.
The Handbook 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!
In the first week, intern trainees will cover the following areas during volunteer shifts:
- Day 1: Facilities Deep Cleaning
- Day 2: Land Work & Tools
- Day 3: Hedonisia Gardens. Flora & Fauna
- Day 4: Lodging Readiness
- Day 5: Shift Preparation
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!
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.
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:
Single Interns who wish to have a private space can stay at one of the following based on availability for no additional fee:
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.
- If the Intern is promoted to Anchor Manager
- For being on duty one full extra shift
- 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.
- 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!
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!
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.
Hedonisia Intern Entrepreneur Partners & Social Entrepreneurs!
While not compulsory, Interns are also welcome to 'take' ideas from our web portfolio and use them to start their own social entrepreneur businesses and make their own money, royalty free! In other words, interns can literally learn how to make money based on their ideals without having to pay any license or royalty fees!
If while working on a project, an intern shows really original and creative research and thinking, we might offer them a Hedo Intern Partnership on that project!
If Interns have an idea or special field of interest they would like to work develop, they can then choose Brain Focus projects that align with the business they want to start from our portfolio:
- Hedonisia Handbook: How to manage an Eco-Tourist Community
- EcoFeminist Entrepreneur: Creating commercial products and services for gender equality.
- EcoSexual Entrepreneur: Working with sexuality to improve society and the natural environment.
Even if you only have the inkling of an idea. That is okay. Like the tiny seed that grows into a mighty tree, little ideas can grow and evolve.
To start you with this process we have a free tool for you! Here is a Social Entrepreneur Business Template. It is a google doc so you can keep it in your Gmail account and start the process of giving life to your idea!
Interns with a social entrepreneur idea have a meaningful side project to work on during the course of their internship and in their life when they leave. A project that could one day, provide them with a livelihood and potentially improve the world!
Mojo the Community Director, had the general concept of Hedonisia in his head since he was 18! This little dream made it much more bearable to live in the ‘normal’ working world because he knew that one day, he would ‘escape’ and live according to his ideals!
It took many years but Hedonisia is now a thriving and continually evolving ecofeminist community!
It is not compulsory for interns to want to be entrepreneurs! However, interns who have a long-term creative or business idea they are developing, (or take one of our ideas!), are going to get the most out of this internship.
Such was the case with Kesi, a dual Aussie/US national who arrived at Hedonisia in 2016. Kesi cares very much about the issue of sexual violence and abuse against women and wanted to work on the web projects we have that address this issue.
As a result of her original research and writing, we are tentatively collaborating on creating a business plan for Damsels in Defense, an anti-rape device.
Herstory: When I came across Hedonisia Hawaii it seemed too good to be true. A feminist Eco-Community championing “girl power” and actively supporting female rights around the world. Offering training and experience in managing a hostel, Landcare, knowledge of exotic plants, community living, tiny structure repair and construction and all of this in Hawaii? So you can imagine my delight once I arrived to find that Hedonisia delivers on every single point. I have grown immensely here and continue to evolve each day.
Finally feeling the satisfaction of being able to use a wide range skill set in one venture. There are not many places or circumstances in life that allow one to wear so many hats while providing, supporting, and encouraging community members to be themselves. . . . There is an emphasis on the intentional in the term ‘intentional community’ here. The intention is to change the world for the better. This is best expressed through the entrepreneur aspect of the internship. Here I personally have had the opportunity to do real work addressing and affecting the status quo around the world. Resulting in a wonderful partnership between Mojo and myself developing a new conscious company built on an online system to change the game in women’s self defense.
I have harboured passion and plans for years to even contribute to a project such as this yet alone head such a project. Continuing to work on this ground breaking enterprise each week is a wonderful reminder of what is important to me on a grand scale of life, and how taking an opportunity with both hands can produce a sweeping effect. Echoing through my life and spilling into the lives of many on a global scale. I am truly inspired by the very nature and foundation of Hedonisia. So much so that the grand dream that brought me here continues to expand ever wider as time goes on. For me Hedonisia has been the springboard to soaring and now that I’ve taken the leap... I see now not even the sky is the limit.
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:
- Work Ethic: the ability to follow instructions, receive feedback and complete work efficiently!
- Availability: We can only accept Intern Members if we have available space!
- Flexibility: Intern’s ability to adapt to new guidelines without fuss.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Go Camping around the island! If you are on a budget you can just be a tourist and camp around the island.
- 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!
- 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.
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!