Trip Updates

Belize + Costa Rica 3 • July 14-July 27, 2017

Final Farewell from the BCR Team!

July 31, 2017

To all the amazing Belize and Costa Rica families and friends,

WOW. That flew by so fast. Our time in Belize and Costa Rica has sadly come to an end.  Maggy’s quote from our final Moonup was “Don’t frown because it’s over, smile because it happened”, so everyone in the group did their best to keep their emotions in check as farewells were on the horizon. We have made some amazing memories with our final group of the summer. From long car rides in our swagged out van to swimming with sharks in the bright blue waters of Belize, this group has done a lot.

Our final two days were spent rafting the Pacquare, which was really high this time. Our guide, Steve aka “El Gringo Loco”, shared some interesting stories about the indigenous people of Costa Rica and a time he fought a bull. The kids were able to safely swim through rapids while the guides cheered them on every stroke!

During our banquet dinner we feasted on guava chicken with mashed potatoes (delicious) and enjoyed a well deserved bowl of ice cream. We ate like Kings and Queens this trip. Our chefs, Marta and Tamara, really took good care of us the whole time; fresh fruit, smoothies, plantains, and endless chicken we will be sad to leave.

Our final Moonup was an emotional one. Discussing our favorite memories and some lessons we hope to carry with us back to our respective hometowns.

Michael, Mary Kate, and I are going to miss this final group of the summer, but we hope to see them in the future and on more trips!

Stay wild,

Mary Kate, Michael, and Noah

Here are some of the things we’re going to miss:

  • Charlie’s flexing and wanting to become the worlds next great rapper.
  • Carolines cool Crocs and helpful knowledge of the sun!
  • Caroline P’s insane athletic ability including her fisherman skills!
  • Laney’s sense of adventure to push herself that gave the whole group a sense of confidence!
  • SK’s ability to make us laugh every ten steps!
  • Kearny’s great sense of humor as she laughed at every joke (even though mine were horrible).
  • Tommy’s extreme helpfulness as he would always volunteer to run and get what we needed!
  • George’s amazing fedora which he purchased in the Belize airport and rocked the entire trip!
  • Brooks’s enthusiasm to get on the board and shred the Costa Rican waves!
  • Spencer’s insane amount of energy and his ability to be a great salesman!
  • Mary Beth’s swagged out outfits and her love for Moondance!
  • Lillie’s ability to live in the moment and not worry about the future!
  • Maggy’s amazing Chicago accent and ability to make the entire group laugh!

Thanks to all our readers and followers, this has been a true please getting to know each and every one of your kids. Best of luck next year, work hard and have fun! Cheers to a great summer!


Community Service Success! Headed to Rafting!

July 25, 2017

No one knew what was in store when we left the comfort of our bus to take a two hour taxi ride into the jungle of Costa Rica. Our host, Harlow, welcomed us into his home and much needed steady ground after the long trek on dirt roads. We dropped our luggage and headed into the town of El Brujo to begin our community service work. 

 

Lunch was served by some members of the community; we got to eat with all of the children, as they had just finished school. After our delicious food had digested, the group split in two: one group hulling sand out of a river for cement and the other laying out the path for where the cement would be laid. Maggy kept the group hype and constantly wanted to make more of an impact in our short time. Lillie outshone all the boys by carrying more bags of sand than any of them combined. We ended the service for the day with a community wide soccer game. All the kids were impressed with Caroline P, as she showed off her fútbol skills.

 

The next morning was spent doing some seriously intense cementing. Mary Beth told us some cool stories about living in Canada and other places of the world on the walk over. Our project was building a ramp for disabled members of the community to be able to wheelchair up to the local church. It was HOT, but this did not stop our group of dedicated students from getting the job done. Laney and Caroline S cleaned out a bathroom and broke down wood that was needed for the ramp project. Spencer, Tommy, Charlie, MK, and Noah really held the team on their back wheelbarrowing up heavy cement to the ramp. We hung up a sign that two previous Moondance groups had worked on, so it was a great feeling to see how positive an impact we have had on this community! Although exhausted, some of the group opted to run the three mile hike back to our humble abode. Tommy and Caroline P zoomed by everyone and ran it in under 15 minutes! Noah and Charlie raced, but Charlie decided to resign early due to his muscles being too big. SK persevered up the huge hill and made it in time to jump in the refreshing river with everyone after! 

 

Next on the agenda for this day was our farm tour of Buenaventura. The whole group decided to put their taste buds to test and try some scorching hot peppers. About 5 seconds after trying this, our group truly felt the heat! Only After a gallon of milk, Ice cream, star fruits, and coconut water were Kearny and Brook’s mouths not on fire anymore. After the group had calmed down, we helped pick fresh Yuca that we would end up eating later this night- it was delicious! This was our longest day, so everyone slept like rocks after a great Moonup conversation. 

 

With a great night of rest, our group was thrilled for what awaited us atop the mountain and below a waterfall. We sludged up the mountain in our wet tennis shoes or chacos with positive attitudes and fun conversations. Harlow showed us many artifacts that indigenous Indians had used hundreds of years ago. For example, there is a rock used for grinding corn. George told us some great stories of his Russian cats Otto and Oscar! As we descended into a stream, we came closer and closer to our beautiful waterfall. We jumped into the water before applying our “healing” blue clay. Spencer really acted the part, painting orange and blue highlights into his hair and teeth. Many posed for their album cover photo while tribal chants were lead. Everyone got some GoPro footage and pictures that we can’t wait to share with everyone. As our final day was coming to a close, we painted our names on the lodge to be remembered like all the other Moondancers who have come before us. We also made our own chocolate from locally grown Cacao seeds, which led to our kids having way too much of a sugar rush. 

 

If we had to describe our time here at 3 Seeds in two words, we would say they have been incredible and rainy! We’re going to miss acting like Tarzan in the Costa Rican jungle, but we are excited for the finale of the trip: whitewater rafting!

 


Welcome to the Jungle

July 22, 2017

Hello again friends and family! We have currently reached our half way point, and boy, are we having fun! We were sad to leave Belize but we are ready to embrace the Pura Vida lifestyle that is felt throughout all of Costa Rica.

 

Our first night was spent in an amazing hotel where we were treated with fresh fruits, delicious chicken and for dessert, a crowd pleasing tres leches. MaryBeth was beyond excited when she saw the tres leches being brought out and helped everyone finish theirs.  We got to sleep early that night because the next day would be an early one.

 

We woke and filled our bellies in preparation for the day full of adventure. Sarah Katherine had an extra spunk that morning because she was so thrilled to go zip lining. Our drive to the canopy tour was a mixture of laughs and a dance party. Maggie really showed everyone how to break it down and was singing the lyrics to Hamilton with perfection. Finally, we arrived at the tour, and Charlie quickly jumped off the bus rocking his newly purchased, swagged out, Costa Rican Hawaiian shirt.

 

Kearny went first in the zip line and proved that she was not rookie, it looked as if she had done this before. On line number five, the tour guides informed us that we would be able to go upside down (which of course is 100% safe)! Everyone was a little unsure at first, but after watching Laney step up to the challenge and love the feeling of flying through the trees upside down, the rest of the group wanted to try as well. 

 

Cable number seven featured a milelong ride in which two cables were placed side by side so that riders could race one another. Tommy and Brooks decided that they would be the featured race of the day and shook on a gentleman’s bet. Brooks started our strong and held a commanding lead, however when it comes to zip lining, form is everything. Knowing this was the case, Tommy kept impeccable form to reduce drag and sure thing he sped right by brooks and took the W. Tommy won in style and Brooks was a true champion in defeat. With great adrenaline also comes some fear, and one of our group members overcame a great fear. George had said pre-tour that he was beyond terrified, yet by the last few cables he was laughing and loving life, we were all very proud of him.

 

After a great time of traversing through the jungle, we got back into our van and drove to Playa Uvita so that we could begin our practice of becoming the next Kelly Slater (Lebron James of surfing). Lillie was a true professional, she popped up on her board and rode her first wave as if she had been doing this for years. I had to go ask her if she had ever surfed and her response was humble and fitting for Lilly, “yeah, once a while ago but I love it.”

 

Our most improved surfer award has to go to Caroline S. She started off having trouble just catching the waves, but an hour into our surf session she was standing up with ease and riding the wave all the way into the shore. After our surf session, we made our way back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation. Caroline P. found out that she could put soapy water on the tile and run and jump on her stomach so that she could slide almost fifteen feet. It looked a little painful, but she was cracking up and showing off her fearless attitude. Meanwhile, Spencer was making friends with some locals; he is very outgoing and always makes a new friend or two wherever we go. He brings a great energy to the group. 

 

A great night of much needed sleep ensued, followed by an early morning paddle out. The entire group showed off their new skills and had a blast. We are all coming together as a great Moondance family, as our days consist of lots of adventure, lots of jokes, and great conversation. Now we are heading into the jungle for the next three days to help the El Brujo community. Our group was sad to leave the ocean but we are ready and eager to lend a helping hand. Welcome to the jungle BCR 3!


Greetings from Belize!

July 19, 2017

Hey friends and family, 

Don’t stop BELIZING that this has been a trip of a lifetime so far. We made our way from Belize City to the beautiful island of Long Caye. The two hour boat ride was an adventure, but the whole crew made it safely and even stayed dry! After settling in, we had our welcome dinner from our chef Marta where everyone continued to get to know one another and learn more about each other. 

We had an early next morning, but everyone was buzzing with excitement to try out their underwater lungs. After fitting all the gear we hit the seas and made our way to the confined water dive site. Kearney was so scared to get into the water but conquered her fears and finished all the skills with ease. Caroline S got to snorkel/dive with the leaders all day because she is ahead of the game and already completed her Open Water certification. The day was finished with Spencer yelling “Escotty” which we learned is equivalent to saying “let’s go” in excitement for the Open Water dives to begin. 

The first Open Water dive George was literally jumping with joy, excited to get into the water again and experience another world underwater. Mary Beth touched the “touch me not sponge” because she thought the instructor said it was called “touch me, I’m not a sponge”. Don’t worry though after some vinegar her fingers were back to normal. The beginning of the dive was a little difficult for Sarah Katherine as she dropped her mask 70ft down into the ocean blue, but our dive master Axel came to the rescue and went down to get it. Even after two dives the group was still full of energy, so we took the court for some friendly competition. The girls killed the boys in our afternoon volleyball game and Lillie shocked us with her athletic abilities. 

Our final day of certification dives was upon us and everyone could not wait to finish skills and be able to free dive with their Go Pros. While we waiting for some gear to be set up, Charlie impressed us all with his ability to name any NBA all-star when given the year. In the afternoon we had the rare experience to swim with wild dolphins. It could not have been more incredible to seeing the playful creatures up close, jumping through the air. This moment will not ever be forgotten by any of us. After heading back to the docks, we all had a great time swimming around. Tommy killed it in the afternoon game of categories where the leaders would yell out “ice cream” for example and the kids would have to name an ice cream flavor mid jump. 

The next day everyone woke tired from the long day before and sad that this would be our last day on the island. The final dive at half-moon Caye was beautiful and filled with marine life. Laney got up close and personal with a shark and though she was scared, she got some pretty cool footage. We ended our time in Belize with an afternoon relaxing on the beach and fishing with our caption, Reeves. Caroline caught a massive grouper and won the competition for the biggest fish much to the dismay of the boys. When they got back, Maggie climbed some trees to get a coconut and drink the milk. Unfortunately it didn’t taste as good as she had hoped. Brook’s calm persona has kept the entire group sane. We all went to bed after a great Moonup exhausted from five long days in the sun, but looking forward to our adventures to come in Costa Rica. 

Until next time, 

MK, Noah, and Michael

SHOUTOUTS

Laney: Hey Mom and Dad! I am having so much fun and have made lots of friends!! I went fishing and caught three fish! Love and miss y’all a lot! 

Caroline P: Hey Mom and Dad! I am having so much fun and I caught a lot of fish!! Say hi to Lucy for me. Love and miss you!

Mary Beth: Hey Mom, Dad, Jay, and Grace (if she’s there) I love and miss you! Having the time of my life! I got scuba certified!!!!!! Also I ate a coconut. I love you lots. Grace, have a great time at camp!

Tommy: Mom and Dad, things are groovy!

Caroline S: Hey Mom and Dad! I miss you but I am having fun!! Scuba diving was super cool. Tell JW and Margo that I can’t wait to see them when I get back! Love you all!! 

Lillie: Hey fam, I am alive and loving every second of it! Love you! 

Spencer: Dear family, my lettuce is long. My skin is tan. I’m having a lot of fun. Love, Spencer

Kearney: Hi it’s Kearny! I miss you guys. I met some amazing friends here. It’s really fun! Miss you and love you! 

Charlie: Hi family. What’s cookin? How is Roxie? It’s leet! I scuba dived and it was a good time. I’m trying to grow my lettuce out. Xoxo love, Charlie 

George: Hi it’s George. I’m having a lot of fun! I’m really enjoying myself and I have met a lot of really nice people. I love you, George

Maggie: Hi Mom, Dad, and Charlie. I am having such a fun time!! Right now we are flying to Costa Rica and I am so excited to make some more memories! We saw a few sharks scuba diving and it was amazing!! Love and miss you! 

Brooks: Dear family, I’m having a great time! I miss you but scuba diving was great and tell Sam I’m going to be better at surfing than him.

Sarah Katherine: Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having the best time ever!! I’m scuba certified! Yay! Tell all the fam hello for me! Miss and love y’all!! See y’all soon! 

MK: Hello Family! (Name that movie) Miss you guys lots. See you so soon! Woot! Tell Libby I miss her the most and give her a hug for me. 

Noah: Hi Natalie I’m having fun! My students call me Pablo cause my stache is on point. See you in 10 days


Hitting the Ground Running... and SCUBA-ing!

July 15, 2017

Hi Belize + Costa Rica Families!

We’re so excited for this adventure to begin. The group arrived safely in Belize yesterday and are eager to start their SCUBA certification this morning. Stay tuned for more updates!

-The Moondance Team


Students

  • Spencer
  • Charlie
  • Sarah Katherine
  • Brooks
  • Maggie
  • Laney
  • MaryBeth
  • Caroline
  • Tommy
  • Caroline
  • Kearny
  • George
  • Lillie

Staff