July 14, 2016
Aloha family and friends,
On this calm, however warm morning of July 10th, our well-rested group of excited campers made their way to Makena Beach Park for some muscle-dependent stand-up paddle boarding. Griff, our fellow friend and island extraordinaire, and his coworkers at Aloha Kayaks, met us on the beach to teach us a few helpful hints about paddle boarding. Full of energy and fresh morning wisdom, we called out to the sea and asked the Hawaiian God, Kane, for permission to enter. As we all departed from the beach and circled around in the water, Mary Alyson, Taylor, and Colin had all managed to find the refreshing comfort of water and joy and flipping each other over. Although they were the first ones in head deep, it wasn’t long before we were all drenched and splashing one another with complete fun. Naturally a paddle boarding competition developed, this race consisted of multiple groups of two using both boards to create the fastest water invention to maneuver from the starting point to the finish line. All students showed their creativity by stacking boards, paddling while sitting backwards, and using each individual’s personal strength to defeat their competitors. The race finished but our enthusiasm never died. Word games, tag, and various songs were song as we made our descent back to the starting rocky shores. As we returned to land and carried all gear back up to the outfitters, we replenished our water working bodies with some freshly cut pineapple, drinking water, and a freshwater rinse off at the beach showers.
Zipping our saltwater bathing suits back in our day packs, we buried our dry bodies back into our great white shark of a van and travelled back to our home-base for some delicious quesadillas and creamy homemade tomato soup. Madison, Haley, and Pierce were key instructors during the lunch clean up party, providing hilarious commentary and helpful hands for the betterment of the group. Sweeping the campsite clean again, it seemed like the perfect time to hit up the town of Paia, and purchase some highly talked about souvenirs and local shave ice. More memories were made and new items were shown to all as we returned to camp and played a few games of knockout, volleyball, and football on the upper green field of the Montessori campsite. As the sun began to fall behind the mountains, our eyes did too. We devoured a great meal of garlic seasoned chicken, sautéed peppers, and rice before having a thoughtful Moonup and saying our sweet dreams.
We could practically hear the waves crashing ashore and the surf boards being unloaded onto the beach from our cozy sleeping tents. Feeding our bodies with various cereals and rich Vitamin C filled orange slices, we hit the road in order to find the beach that awoke our dreaming minds and encouraged us to experience the feeling of gliding through feel good ocean waters. We arrived at Kalama beach too meet up with the Maui Beach Boys outfitters and learn how to become professional Olympic surfers. After we practiced the correct techniques on stable land, we took our confident selves and trustworthy boards the moving waters and began our morning play date with the waves. No time was proved to be wasted, as Daisy, India, Laura, Chandler, and Madison began riding every wave in, surfing backwards, trying to tandem surf, and practicing 180 and 360 turns. Nothing was deemed impossible or complicated by this gnarly group of surfer girls. After shredding enough waves, we walked our surfboards back up the ramp and cooled off with some Hawaiian guava juice and granola bars before taking a quick rinse. We said our many thank you’s to all of our instructors and piled back into the van already brainstorming what tricks we would tryout tomorrow on our second day of surfing. Everybody made their own favorite good ole fashion lunch time sandwich before hitting the beach to body surf some waves, splash around, having good times under the sun and enjoying the ongoing blue waters and sand-covered bodies. We knew it was clearly dinner time when our stomach hinted the desire to carve a perfectly grilled burger and hotdog. We ventured over to a neighboring family park and indulged in a summer cookout with some football, spontaneous dancing, and cheerleading lessons. Dessert is a must and we fulfilled that sweet tooth with Popsicles that made our mouths turn a bright blue raspberry blue and a midnight purple grape hue. Moonup was held on the grassy fields of the park as the stars watched over us and gave us, another beautiful reason to be thankful for each other’s loving company.
Waking up with confidence all of us were ready for the day ahead. We munched on some chocolate chip pancakes smothered in maple syrup and began visualizing the outcome of success as we reentered our lovable white van-mobile for Kalama beach. Although the waves were still sleeping, Haley and Pierce woke them up by not letting any wave go by without their surf boarding riding it in. Wildlife however seemed more playful this morning, and we saw various turtles and even a baby shark off in the distance. As the morning developed, so did the waves. Every member of the group could have entered into a local surfing competition and started singing autographs. Not wanting to leave, we respected our time was not over, but just on pause and many sparks were ignited to keep this hobby going in each of our own hometowns. Ice cold waters, sugary drinks, and some snacks were handed out after we exchanged our hefty boards back and we were thankful for such a fun and inspiring experience. We said Mahalo, to the Maui Beach Boys and told them to be on the lookout for us in other deeper waters sometime soon.
Lunch was prepared sandwich style again nonetheless, and we filled up on laughter once again and told funny stories until we needed room to breathe again. During downtime, we all enjoyed playing cards, ENO (hammock) talk, and the newly invented game T.V (transitional volleying) which was created during this down time and instantly became a game that all enjoyed. Due to a famous tradition on the last night of a Moondance trip, our family unit squeezed into our white mammoth of a van and followed the road to our nearest thrift store to purchase some fun and funky last night outfits! As a group we can all say we looked pretty FYE (word said by the group every day, it means: awesome, very cool, amazing. Credit to Colin for inventing this totally fye word)! Receiving and giving many friendly smiles, we splurged on some delicious pizza at a local restaurant called Flatbread in Paia. Full, but not full enough, we walked down to our favorite shave ice and gelato shops for our last group brain freeze and little bit of sugar! In our very unsubtle and loud outfits, we reflected on where we were as a group and individuals and where we were now. All though our van got us to Nonohe Beach, our introspective conversation got us there first. Nothing seemed more perfect than sitting on this calm beach with our sensational ten students, as the sun set and we talked about the progress of being a group and becoming a family in two weeks.
The next morning we opened our sleepy eyes with heavy hearts knowing this would be our last morning together. However, excitement soon built when we realized we had one final activity together, ZIPLINING!! Stoked to feel free as birds and fly through the refreshing Maui air on this brilliantly sunny day, we loaded the van, ready for our final adventure. Upon arriving at the Piiholo Ranch Ziplining, we knew this place was going to be stellar. As the morning birds chirped and laughter and French braiding (thanks India!!) ensued, our zipping gurus gave us the skinny on what we were about to experience. With harnesses and helmets on, our group of adventurers, who know more closely resembled turtles, worked our way to the first zip. Flying through the gorgeous rainforest of Maui, we took 5 extensive zips and a bouncy fun ride in a four wheeler to work our way through this majestic course. Our biggest accomplishment as a group was our final zip, which extended over tree tops, carrying us 600 feet off the lush rain forest floor! Even those who were a little shaky with heights took the challenge head on, flying and spinning their way to the bottom. We turned in our helmets and other gear, and rode back to camp ready to spend our final hours as one big Ohana.
Enjoying delicious sandwiches once more, our sweet teeth were kicking in, and we devoured cookies, cupcakes and Aloha juice drinks to commemorate our last meal together. After a sudsy few hours of cleaning the camp and the white whale of a van, we loaded up and sadly headed to the airport. With teary eyes and full hearts, we unloaded and prepared to say our final goodbyes.
For all you parents out there, we truly cannot thank you enough for sharing your incredible adventurers with us these past two weeks. Each and every one of your students has taught us and changed us in ways that we cannot even imagine. Their energy, love, and laughter will be missed. This was a sensational group, to say the least, and we struggle to express in words the gratitude and love we feel towards our time with them. We hope that they feel the same. It was incredibly difficult to say goodbye and take them to get on their planes, but we know that they will return home with many laughs and memories that will last them and us a lifetime.
Thank you for everything you all have given us and we wish each of our students more than the best in all of their future endeavors.
Maddie, Zach, and Kienne
July 10, 2016
Aloha family and friends!
Greetings from the island of paradise we call home! Two days ago we had a terrific time windsurfing! Your loved ones buckled their life jackets, slipped on some water shoes and hopped onto their boards. Our water guides were the stellar instructors of Hawaiian Surf Techniques, who taught us all of the tricks of the trade in Kanaha Beach Park. Within a few short waves all of us were upright showing off the ocean our moves and throwing shakkas to all. Laura and Colin were named windsurfing models by the instructors due to their never dying spirits and desire to sail the deeper seas! Madison, Daisy, and India proved to have a future profession in this industry with an innate ability to stay balanced on the board. After a few hours in the water we hit the showers and said goodbye to the windsurfing gods. After a tasty lunch of sandwiches and cuties in the park, we tied our shoes and got ready for an exciting hike on the swinging bridges trail. The two miles up turned into a tricky trudge through mud! Chandler, Pierce, and Taylor led the way with laughs and songs to our victory point at the top of a beautiful mountain surrounded by clouds. While it made the walk more challenging, spirits remained high as we laughed our way up and down the trail watching each other slip and slide. Covered in mud and giggling, we climbed back into the van to head home for our last night at Maui Prep. After a delicious dinner of pesto pasta, we got packed and ready to move to the Montessori School of Maui which would be our new home for the remainder of the trip.
We shook our sleepy eyes aside and dressed ourselves only in our finest swimsuits for some fun filled sea kayaking. After choosing partners, all party members climbed into their tandem kayaks and paddled off shore to explore more of the aqua blue waters we have come to love. Mary Alyson and Haley enjoyed surprise splashing many naturally, causing an awesome water fight. We hopped out of our kayaks shortly after to experience the deep waters below in our fins and masks. After being startled by an eel we stopped to appreciate its wild habitat and made friends with a few turtles! Thankful for seeing such amazing creatures, we paddled back to our starting point with wide smiles and very tired arms. Montessori school was our next stop and we loaded our sun-kissed bodies into the white van and made way to our new campsite. There we munched on tasty sandwiches, pizza, and Hawaiian chips of course!! Eager for our big Haleakala hike, we rebuilt our tents and made them our homes once again. In order to fuel up properly we devoured some mouthwatering tacos and set goals during our nightly Moonup before our early 2:30a.m wake up.
The house of the sun, Haleakala, began chanting each of our names as we entered the national park gates. Although our eyes could barely open when we unlatched from our cozy warm tents, the unforgettable sunrise of ultra-bright oranges, glowing blues, inspiring yellows, and unpredictable pinks awoke us all. Our eyes were now open and our hearts were full of contentment. The drive up the volcano was long and supported with pump up music however, all thirteen of us reflected on the beauty of the world and what it took for each of us to be there, both physically and mentally, as we travelled upward. After stretching our legs and looking out over the summit of Haleakala, we knew it was our own time to venture inside the crater of the volcano and challenge ourselves for an 11.5 mile hike. Chandler and Colin were appointed leaders of the day by their peers and undoubtedly took on the roles of fearless guides. Mary Alison provided an endless amount of laughter, Daisy gave her listening ears up, India kept the group walking on time with her long strides, Taylor enhanced the group with his never ending encouragement, Madison supported people with much needed mile hugs, Laura spoke kindly and genuinely with each member of the group, Pierce reminded others to take time and reflect on the vastness of the terrain, and Haley made sure everyone was feeling 100% by always offering extra water, wipes, or food to our whole group. We reenergized our bodies with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oranges, skiddles, and GORP for lunch and set way for the famous uphill switchbacks. As a group we all voted in favor of taking the time to create a safe amount of distance between one another and participate in a “solo hike.” These quiet moments uphill supplied an opportunity for self-reflection and gave each student the time necessary for a conversation with themselves and the natural world around them. Reaching the trailhead parking lot was a successful feeling for all and our feet especially, thanked us for the journey and now, the rest. We drove of famished bellies to a locally praised fish restaurant where we all rewarded ourselves with scrumptious nutrition and ice water. Finally we returned back to The Montessori school and hit the hay after a wonderful Moonup and overall, indescribable day of perseverance and achievement.
Thank you family and friends for such a medley of flavor and fun, we can’t wait for the next half of our trip with your wonderful kids!
Zach, Maddie, and Kienne
July 6, 2016
Aloha Mainlanders, It is us; Zach, Maddie, Kienne, and our Newest team of adventurers, Laura, Daisy, India, Taylor, Chandler, Madison, Colin, Pierce, Haley, and Mary Alyson! We are totally stoked to finally be together and to lead our new family around this Beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. After we all met in the very crowded airport of Kahului in baggage claim, we loaded our fully bellies with some great cheese and pepperoni pizza and took our sleepy but still completely stellar team of kids to Montisorri School to sleep amongst the stars in our homey tents and get rested for the next day.
Today, we met our beautiful and incredibly knowledgeable conservationist, Amy and equally impressive assistant, Kelly. Amy and Kelly both live on the island now enjoying Maui’s greatest wonders. On our first of three days with them, we ate our tasty breakfast sandwiches beachside before expanding our minds about the history of Hawaii and local animals that inhabit such a mesmerizing place. After focusing on the importance of food, water, shelter, and habitat, we said goodbye to our dry clothes and hit another local beach with our snorkel gear on. As a group we dove deep into the mysteries of coral homes seeing vibrant fish, turtles, and urchins! Amy, the island goddess, brought us a few from the ocean floor that we were able to hold. The most familiar to our team was the Slate Pencil Urchin, also known as Uni in your local sushi restaurant.
We took the afternoon off from the water to enjoy sandwiches in a local park and learn more about the importance of recycling and cleaning up the beaches. Soon we were joined by Uncle Oliver, a native Hawaiian who lives in the valley to farm his land in the traditional styles of the Hawaiian people’s. With his guidance we learned about the culture of his ancestors before Captain Cook and his settlers took over the land. Tomorrow we will venture into his land for our service day! With our bellies full of delicious Shoyu Chicken made by Uncle’s daughter, we went to sleep happy and excited for big day tomorrow!
Our adventurers awoke ready to put on their helping hands this morning and we loaded the van to make the long windy journey on a one lane road to Uncle Oliver’s home and village. After crossing two rivers in our big white whale of a van, we rode up to his property ready to get to work. After meeting many of his family, some of whom had reverted back to the traditional clothing of the Hawaiian peoples, we climbed through the beautiful taro patches passing by fruitful trees and vibrant flowers. Rinsing periodically in the rushing river that Uncle and his family for decades have used as their primary source of water to nourish their bodies as well as their fields, we plunged into cool off and rinse the mud away. Our work consisted of using shovels to uproot grass and various weeds to build a new taro patch for his family. A few of us also went to the 800 year old stone wall on the property to cut and pull away vines that had overgrown and hidden its ancient beauty. After a break for sandwiches and a few more hours of work we joined Uncles grandchildren for a mud fight!! After being covered head to toe in the exfoliating but stinky mud, we jumped into the river for one last swim and a deep rinse to get dirt out of our hair. Sadly, we had to say mahalo to Uncle and part from his sensational lands.
As we set out for our last day of service work with Hawaii Wildlife Fund, we were ready to make a lasting impact on anything that came our way. The day began at Makena Beach Park with our eager fishlike fins and snorkel masks. As leaders, we were star struck by our student’s desire and naturally ability to dive to the bottom of the ocean and in between caves to investigate all ocean life. Emerging from the water and returning to the sand, Amy and Kelly taught us the difference between Hawksbill Turtles and Green Turtles. As a group we decided it was our mission, responsibility in fact, to teach our friends and family that we must conserve and protect. We have one world only; this is our chance to help it grow and live in harmony with it. Later in the day, we walked the beaches patrolling for trash and cleaning various articles of debris, often times questioning why and where they came from. We splashed in the water and body surfed waves before acting like turtles crawling up the beach in hopes of reaching a nesting area. Everyone was covered in sand however, we all realized the strength and might these females endure in the late hours of the night to lay their eggs safely. As a team we decided it was time to cool off with some shave ice and smoothies before asking some local conservationists new questions we composed over the day and had one last scrumptious chili and cornbread dinner with Amy and Kelly. We said our goodbyes and many thank you’s very confident that we could go teach others with the same passion and intelligence that they did with us.
All is well here in Maui and we wish you all the best of days until we talk again!
Mahalo family and friends!
Maddie, Kienne, and Zach
Student Shout outs:
Madison: Hi Mom and Dad, miss you guys so much! Can’t wait to see you all in a week. Maui is beautiful and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Xoxo
Pierce: Miss you guys, can’t wait to tell you all about Maui and stuff!
Taylor: Miss everyone, can’t wait to tell you guys about all the fun!
Colin: Hi Mom and Dad, I am having so much fun here in Maui! Everything we have done is awesome! Miss you!
Daisy: Mama and Papa, Maui is so much fun, I am having an amazing time! It’s so beautiful! Can’t wait to see you!
Mary Alyson: Hi Mom and Dad. Maui is so cool and I’m having so much fun! Miss you!
Haley: Hi Mom and Dad, Jodi, Dillon, Eleanor, and Carson! Maui is amazing! I miss you guys but I want to stay here forever! It’s so much better than Atlanta here. Let’s move here!
India: Hi Mom and Dad, Maui is beautiful and I am having such a great and amazing time! I miss you guys and we should come back sometime as a family. Love you and miss you!
Laura: Hey Mom, Dad, and Jackson! First of all Happy Birthday Jackson! Maui is so beautiful and amazing. I’ve done things I never thought I would ever get to do. I’m having the one of my life! I never want to leave!
Chandler: Hi Mom, Dad, and Ashton! I’m having an amazing time here in Maui! It is so beautiful here and I am doing such cool things. We should definitely think about moving here. Hope y’all had a great 4th of July! Love and miss you guys!!! Xoxo