On November 1st we had the opportunity to present some of the concepts of Spirit of CAN. to our first large audience. Although this was a huge goal of ours, the timing was very unexpected. We have been slowly working towards creating an education platform to deliver the concepts of Spirit of CAN., in what we call the Science of CAN. (Yes, we're an apparel brand, but we also want to be much more to the world!) So, when Ms. Shotlif a teacher at Kauai High School asked that we present to her 9th grade students, in all honesty, we were not ready. But, if she felt the content on our website and our Instagram accounts @spiritofcan and @scienceofcan was compelling enough, then we certainly wanted to present and hopefully inspire some students. And in reality, teachers live their lives teaching with very limited time and resources. So, we had to just “put our suits on, and jump in”.
Pohaku Kekaualua - Master of Ceremonies (CAN. Ambassador and Pro Bodyboarder)
Kealiiheleua Kaiminaauao - Presenter (CAN. Ambassador (Musician, Dad, All around Hammah)
Andy Bestwick - Presenter (Founder / Owner of CAN.)
Makani Taniguchi - CAN. Consultant, Big Boar Hunter, Leadership Kauai, Hammah
Seth Womble - CAN. Inspirational support, local musician & artist/ leader on Kauai
Franci Davila - CAN. friend, therapist, and director of Kauai Mental Health Advocates
What did we present?
The basis of the Science of CAN. is that all humans have something significant to live for and pursue in their lives. Purpose is what most people call it, we call it your statement of CAN. It might change throughout your life, but you’ll always gravitate towards exploring greatness for yourself and then others in your community, it’s just how we’re all wired. But, it’s not easy to achieve this mindset. We are certainly not experts or claim to be. But, we have a lot of life experience and we're fans and students of some great philosophers, specifically the great philosopher Abraham Maslow. For this lesson, we leveraged his unique and ground breaking model, the "Hierarchy of Needs" as seen below in the CAN. model. We tweaked his model a bit, but the premise is the same... We all have basic needs in life that have to be met, in order to achieve a level of balance, and then freedom in your mind to pursue your personal CAN. Our hope is that our audience will see a simple framework for all humans and how they live their lives. Maybe some perspective might be gained by those who feel overwhelmed and lost in managing their own lives. Maybe if we’re able to help dissect these basic needs for individuals in their own scenarios, they will become more compassionate and consider asking for help and helping others along the way.
The presentation only allowed for about 25 minutes of total time with the students. We asked that the students not know in advance that we were presenting. We didn’t want any preconceived notions of what we are about. We wanted to surprise them and hopefully hit them with some instant positive vibes, and hopefully they would connect with some of these concepts.
To kick things off I wanted to infuse some energy and performance into our presentation. So, for the longest time I’ve had a vision of a life-size CAN sign with the period being a taiko drum. The idea of this powerful thundering drum being the period at the end of CAN is how I see the logo in my mind. Making this vision a reality, took some amazing help and support by Kevin Hanano the owner of Sign and Print, our go to printer for stickers and signage. Kevin saw the passion and vision I had for this and went to work in his garage to bring it to life.
The other piece of this performance art, was finding a drummer(s). We lucked out and were connected with Tsunami Taiko, a West Kauai non-profit that teaches students how to play the taiko. We linked up with Jordan Paul one of the instructors. Outside of being an amazing drummer and teacher, he’s also an accomplished singer and performer on Kauai. We were so stoked about his participation in the event, we created a custom design for him. We also lucked out and had a current Kauai High School student and taiko drummer Ryleigh participate with along with Jordan.
We dropped a 10ft x 10ft banner of the CAN. hierarchy of needs model. We then covered it with CAN. apparel (hats, towels, tees). Yep, of course we were going to give gear away!!
We had CAN. Ambassador and Pro Body Boarder Pohaku as our head master of ceremonies. He has a goal of someday becoming a professional speaker and presenting motivation material… I think he just started his career! Yep, we could not be more stoked to have him on board.
Pohaku started out by asking the students what they thought this was all about. He then asked the students about what their most basic needs are. As they answered and contributed, we gave away apparel, revealing the levels of the pyramid. Once the four levels were revealed, the discussion turned to pursuing purpose AKA CAN.
Pohaku asked students to answer about what might be possible if they were in a state of balance. Prior to this point we handed out 300 blank cards (see below) to all of the students. We asked the students to write down their own CAN., purpose, mission, or goal. We’re in the mindset that if you’re able to write a clear statement of purpose our significant goal, you are more able to stay on course towards the top of the pyramid.
We ended with our Chief Ambassador Kealii, AKA Hawaiian. One of the kindest and most respected people you’ll find on Kauai. He’s an awesome Dad, Uncle, amazing musician, and athlete. We call him the Mayor of Koloa. His passion, perfectly matched with ours, to instill resilience amongst kids and adults. He not only offered himself up as a person to talk to and be friends with… He also introduced his son Kupaa, a pier of many of the students. He expressed the importance of reaching to people for help. We’re all going through the “hierarchy of needs”, and we need to do it together. It’s a simple but tough concept, “ask for help”. The common denominator of human experience is that all humans experience trauma and drama in their lives, within one or more of the categories of health, safety, respect, and love. Kealii and all of us want to instill resilience and confidence in people, to become strong minded and able to reach their CAN. and give back to the community.
He and Makani Taniguchi helped us honor two people who have overcome a lot to level up to their CAN. First, was a student from the Kauai High school 9th class, Arayza Sabay. If you don’t know her story, it’s epic... she was involved in a hit and run while walking to school about a year ago. She has overcome many obstacles to become and excellent student and example of Spirit of CAN.
The second honoree was Trysen Kaneshige a Kauai High Graduate and owner of Inspire to Create Media. Trysen has dedicated his life and to creating art that inspires and brings awareness to mental health issues. We know him through a recent mural collaboration of the CAN-topus on Rice Street in Lihue, Kauai. It's a giant octopus with the concepts of CAN. and Maslow as part of the mural.
We finished off the event by handing out 300 stickers to the students as they exited the gym. Kealii and Seth closed it out playing the ukulele for staff and students. We are so grateful to have had this opportunity! We hope the presentation gave the students a bit of perspective and maybe some knowledge on mindset.
Mahalo to Kauai High School administration, teachers, and the 9th grade class, for their time and participation. We are particularly grateful to Ms. Shotliff for reaching out to us! And to our amazing customers... We could not have done this without you. We would love the opportunity to present again someday! So, we will keep following our purpose/ CAN., and we hope you'll join us.
- Andy B.