Love The Outdoors? Just Live!

Juli Lester
Co-owner of Just Live! Zipline Tours and Outdoor Gear Store

Please tell us about your business. Nicole Baier and I own an outdoor adventure and training company, which provides zipline treetop tours and challenge course/team building programs. We also have an Outdoor Gear Store in Anchor Cove Shopping Center that opened in January, which specializes in selling and renting hiking and camping gear on Kaua’i. We started 10 years ago primarily as a challenge course company providing team-building services and challenge programs to youths and schools and community groups on the island, focusing on building self-confidence and leadership skills, problem-solving and communication through adventure. We started our zipline tours in 2005.

Why did you start this business? My partner and I have degrees in therapeutic recreation and recreation/adventure-based education. I worked for nonprofit organizations on Kaua’i such as The Arc in Hawaii, Easter Seals and Child and Family Service, providing services in areas of self-determination for people with developmental disabilities, special needs consultation for Kaua’i Head Start and violence-prevention programs for preschool- through high school-age students. Nicole ran an adult day health program for people with development disabilities and was a social worker for the state Department of Education for six-and-a-half years. Through these experiences we saw a need for outdoor adventure-based learning activities for the community on Kaua’i. Back in 2000, we received a small grant with parents of children with special needs to provide seven outdoor adventure camps for children with special needs and their siblings. We also provided consultation services for adults with development disabilities, helping them live self-determined lives. This work inspired us to call ourselves Just Live! because people with disabilities/special needs just want a life like everyone else. We kept the name Just Live! because it is completely applicable to everything and everyone in life – people pushing themselves to become better and better.

What do the challenge courses mean? They are offered for keiki 9 years and older. We focus on the kids, putting them through cognitive and physical challenges to see how well they communicate, collaborate and solve problems. We also process with them about how their experiences can be related into their real life. All of our team-building programs are custom-designed. Every time someone leaves a team-building experience they are learning how they can implement the lessons in their life. We do activities low to the ground, while some activities are 30-100 feet off the ground, where get people out of their comfort zone, which is the whole point: to go beyond their limits. We have a full-service rope-challenge course, low and high.

What kind of zipline tours do you offer? We offer three different zipline tours: our most popular Zipline Treetop Tour, the Wikiwiki Zip Tour and the Zipline Eco-Adventure.

Where are the ziplines located? If you’re traveling west out of Lihue, it’s at mile marker 4, exactly a half-mile past the humane society on the mauka side.

What sets your business apart? We offer tree-top canopy zipline tours. In order to be considered a canopy tour, you actually have to be in the trees. We are non-ground-based, so once your feet leave the ground after your first zip, you’re 60-85 feet in 200-foot-tall Norfolk pine trees. You don’t walk on the ground to your next zipline. It’s literally in the canopy of the forest.

What do you find rewarding about this business? Giving all guests an experience where they leave with a smile on their face and a sense of accomplishment. We especially love conducting our youth and school programs – watching the kids as they work together to overcome the challenges we present them with and then discuss with them what they can apply to their lives.

How do you measure success? One of the best measures of our success is when we are in the community and a parent sees the Just Live! shirts we are wearing, and they walk up to us and say, “My son/daughter did your Just Live! team-building program and loved it. When they got home they were so excited they talked about it all night and still talk about it. Thank you for doing this for our kids.” That is awesome for us to hear. It really reminds us of why we started Just Live! in the first place.

What are your plans for the future? That’s a great question. We tend to take things one day at a time. We are always planning new and exciting things for Just Live! As individuals, we plan to start a small organic farm.

Anchor Cove Shopping Center in Nawiliwili

3416 Rice St. Lihue