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Hawaiʻi’s largest family-friendly STEM event returns on Saturday, April 6, 2024 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at UH-West Oahu.

Hawaiʻi’s largest family-friendly STEM event returns on Saturday, April 6, 2024 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu in Kapolei. The Ellison Onizuka Day of Exploration (ODE) is produced by The Boy Scouts of America, Aloha Council, and honors the legacy of Eagle Scout and Astronaut Ellison Onizuka. This FREE event is for the general public regardless if you’re a scout or not! Historically, more than 8,000 people from across Hawaiʻi attend ODE either in-person or virtually.

Attendees can expect over 100 hands-on activities, workshops, and classes for all ages to enjoy at ODE this year. With a special focus on Hawaiian culture, sustainability, and career development, the Hawaiʻi Scouts have partnered with UH-West Oʻahu to provide a unique lens into the universityʻs higher education programs. Modern subjects such as robotics, coding, and renewable energy will be presented through interactive exhibits and live demonstrations from experts in various fields. Truly an event for anyone interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics!

“For more than 100 years, the Aloha Council held an annual ‘Scout Makahiki,’ which was reimaginedeight years ago as the Ellison Onizuka Day of Exploration,” says Blake Parsons, Scout Executive of the Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America. “This event is a natural fit for the Scouting community to offer to the public since approximately 40% of merit badges are STEM-focused. We’re excited to partner again this year with the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu to bring this event to the public with the generous support of all our sponsors.”

“What an amazing opportunity for young people and their families to learn about STEM and the benefits of Scouting through the Onizuka Day of Exploration,” says UH-West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette Benham. “We are thrilled to partner with the Aloha Council on this event for the first time on our campus, and to allow the next generation of keiki to discover learning within a college environment.”

The Onizuka Day of Exploration 2024, set against the vibrant backdrop of UH West Oahu, is poised to be an unforgettable adventure with over 100 activities and workshops designed to inspire, educate, and prepare attendees for the future. Highlighting this year’s event are exclusive helicopter displays, offering a unique glimpse into the world of aviation and emergency response. These hands-on experiences are further enriched by workshops led by expert medical responders, teaching vital emergency preparedness skills.

Support from distinguished community sponsors such as AES, Wet’n’Wild, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Energy, Board of Water Supply, underscores the event’s significant role in fostering a resilient and forward-thinking community. Attendees can look forward to engaging with a wide range of interactive booths and static displays, including large trucks and a glider, allowing for immersive educational experiences.

Artistic expression and environmental conservation are also central to the day’s activities, with a live mural painting and a captivating 45-foot inflatable humpback whale exhibit from NOAA, highlighting the importance of art and marine life protection.

The event is not just about observation but also participation. The annual Pinewood Derby Championship invites Cub Scouts to test their design and engineering skills, while the Big Kahuna Chess Tournament offers a competitive arena for chess enthusiasts across various age groups. These activities, alongside the opportunity to explore, learn, and connect, ensure that the Onizuka Day of Exploration is a rich, multifaceted experience that attendees will remember for years to come.

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