July 29, 2017
Sea Kayaking and surfing were the best endings to an incredible two weeks. We woke up early on Wednesday to ride to the kayak put-in, a beautiful beach up the way from our beautiful campsite at Waipa. We could not have asked for a more determined group; every student embraced the challenge of having to paddle 17 miles. Joey and Kenzie kept the spirit lively as they led many sing-alongs, Taylor Swift and country songs seemed to be the most prominent. Julia was a professional sea turtle spotter by the end after spotting many turtles coming up for air. Thanks to the calm weather, we were able to kayak into a few sea caves and marvel at their beauty, getting wet from fresh water cascading down us, it was such a refreshing feeling.
Griffin and Camryn set the pace the entire trip, very much in-sync, they even huli’d (flipped over), and still managed to maintain their lead. After 12 miles, we stopped at a beach that happened to be a state park, only accessible via boat. We had a great lunch of sandwiches, brownies, and delicious fresh fruit. At this point, with only 5 miles left, our group was driven to finish strong. There were strong finishes all around, with Rosie’s mental resolve pushing the entire group to record speeds. At the takeout, everyone jumped back into the water to relax their muscles and revel in the victory of paddling so many miles. Shep and Andrew kept all entertained on the way back to Waipa with their stories, interesting sounds, accents, and jokes.
On Thursday, we woke up early and walked to meet our surfing instructors right on Hanalei beach. This entire squad of rockstars were standing up shredding immediately, leaving no wave untouched. Lanier, Kate, Meagan, Julia, and Camryn truly tested their balance by pairing up and attempting to surf the same wave on the same board and they were successful on most attempts. Camryn stole the show with her fluid style and nonchalant dabs while riding into the beach. The acrobatics were endless, with Laney following up Camryn’s act with a flawless handstand on her board as she coasted into the beach.
Needless to say, this group has performed far and beyond even our steepest expectations. Never on this trip was there a complaint. Instead, every day was filled with positivity, determination, and enthusiasm so contagious it permeated every aspect of our experience. As powerful as the good times were, the final goodbyes were tough to swallow. We’re beyond thankful for the time we’ve had with these 12, for the memories shared, the laughs exchanged and the lessons learned. To the families of: Rosie, Meagan, Kenzie, Laney, Julia, Camryn, Lanier, Kate, Shep, Joey, Griffin, and Andrew, thank you for sharing these wonderful and bright individuals with us, we could not have asked for a better group to wrap up our summer with, mahalo nui loa. That’s a wrap from us here in Hawaii.
Until next year,
James, LK, and Gray
July 26, 2017
Aloha! The Garden Island has been treating us so well!
On our first full day, we tackled the KTC Challenge Course at the Waipa Foundation. Julia took charge of the tarp flip game and the group completed it! Rosie learned how to belay and took charge in helping everyone get up to the zipline platform. We all enjoyed the challenge of climbing and traversing over the cables. After the challenge course, we took to downtown Hanalei. Everyone enjoyed walking around and taking in the sights and sounds of the beautiful, quaint, town. Many of the girls truly embraced the culture. After our time in town, the group went on a walk to the Hanalei Pier. Lanier and Shep made sure to get creative with their entries into the water off of the pier!
The next day we woke up ready to conquer some meaningful service work at Waipa, a sustainable farm where we are staying. Laney helped get everyone excited for service work by talking about her dream to be a sustainable farmer. Meagan and Kenzie helped keep moral high during the day through their positive energy and can-do attitude, while Andrew’s sickle prowess took down the farm work in no time.
After community service, we swung by the local farmers market and then headed to a nearby beach. The setting was perfect–a short walk through the luscious forest opening onto beautiful white sand beach. Griffin helped in commemorating our time there by helping with the group’s GoPro videos, from big jumps into the ocean to capturing the intense human pyramids we built in the water.
Dinner tonight was key, a vital fuel-up for tomorrow’s kayak adventure on the Na Pali coast. With Joey and Lanier’s help in the kitchen, a delicious breakfast-for-dinner was whipped up in no time. One of the most perfect days on our trip was properly closed out by an incredibly meaningful Moonup. Big shout out to Camryn and Kate for the inspiring words they shared, and to the rest of the group for the mentality we built up for tomorrow’s activities. With full bellies and our game faces on, we’re hunkering down for sleep tonight. Tomorrow, Na Pali coast. Bring it on Kauai!
-Gray, LK and James
July 24, 2017
July 21, 2017
The time here in Hawaii has flown by; we can’t believe it has already been 5 days! This crew skipped right over the awkward first hellos and went straight to life-long friends. The first night Julia, Lanier, Andrew, Shep, Griffin, and Joey joined the leaders on the beach to fall asleep to the natural sound machine of the waves and majestic starry sky.
We awoke the next day to fuel up with some breakfast burritos before our day hike in the Pololu Valley. We began by descending down to a beautiful black sand beach that opened up at the end of a beautiful valley. There, we had lunch and then continued up the ridge to a jaw-dropping view of rolling cliffs. The following day we started our SCUBA certification with Jacks Diving Locker in Kona. Over the course of 4 days we did a combination of pool skills and open water skills.After our first full day of scuba we went on a Manta Ray night snorkel where got to observe the mantas feeding on zooplankton while doing flips RIGHT below us.
On our second day of scuba, Camryn, Griffin, and James explored a beach next to the boat harbor that was home to over a dozen sea turtles. After the final in-class scuba portion, we treated our taste buds to Acai bowls. After scuba we headed back to camp to play in the water some more! Rosie, Julia, and Joey splashed around with some adorable little kids in the water, spreading the Moondance love while Laney shared her artistic skills and tattooed (temporary!!!) everyone up with henna.
On Thursday, we had our final checkout dives, everyone was amazed by the beautiful fish and coral that we saw. During lunch Kate kept everyone’s energy high with her killer dance moves. Kenzie and Meagan assisted in leading the instructors on their mini-dive, and aced it. And just like that, the gang was officially SCUBA CERTIFIED!!! With cert cards in hand, this squad of superstars boarded the party van en route to Punalu’u Beach for our next stellar campsite. Enter: beautiful black sand beach and savory BBQ sandwiches for dinner. Morale could not be any higher on this trip. Every single person has an incredible attitude and an insatiable hunger for adventure. Next up, Volcanoes National Park and community outreach. Stay tuned folks, there’s no telling what stories we’ll have for you next. Hawaiian Islands, out.
-James, Gray and LK
Kenzie- Hey Mom and Dad! I’m having an amazing time and I’ll see you soon. Say hi to Aspen and Roxie. Love y’all. Miss you.
Laney- Hey Family! Miss you guys so much! I’ve seen and experienced some awesome stuff so far in Kona, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Love you guys!
Julia- Hey guys! I miss you guys so much! I am having a great time and I’m looking forward to the rest of the trip and I can’t wait to see you guys. I love you.
Camryn- Hi mama, dad and spence! Miss you all so much but this trip is awesome. Thank you so much for this opportunity! Love and can’t wait to see you all!
Joey- Hey Mom and Sis! Hope y’all are doing well. The trip has been great so far with hopefully a lot more in store. Say hey to the dogs for me and I’ll be home soon. Love you guys so much!
Andrew- Hey Mom, Dad, Sis. Really miss you guys. Hawaii is very fun and scuba diving is litty (def: (adj) awesome, spectacular, out of this world) Can’t wait to see y’all again.
Griffin- Hey guys I’m having a great time in Hawaii! I’ve loved scuba diving and swimming and am excited to surf and kayak. Thanks for sending me. Love you guys.
Shep- Hey guys, I’m having an amazing time in Hawaii. I’m almost a certified scuba diver. I can’t wait to kayak and surf. The stars over here are amazing, thanks for letting me go. See you soon. xo
Lanier- Hey Fam, Hawaii is awesome! We are almost finished with our scuba certifications … it’s so cool being down there with all the fish and even sea turtles. Hope you guys are doing well, see you soon! Thanks for letting me experience this great opportunity! Mom- Kate says hi too!
Kate- Hi family! I’m having the best time of my life being outside and seeing how pretty Hawaii is; it makes me so happy! Two nights ago we swam/snorkeled with Manta Rays and it was the coolest; most exhilarating/terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced because they were nearly touching us. I hope you guys are doing well and I can’t wait to tell everyone all about it. Don’t worry, I am keeping sunscreen on my scars! Love you all to pieces and can’t thank you enough for this opportunity! xoxo
Meagan- Hey Fam! Hawaii has been so cool so far. We have been scuba diving for the past couple days and I am almost certified. We also went night snorkeling with Manta Rays and it was the most awesome experience. Can’t wait to tell you guys about the rest of my trip! See you soon! (Rosie says hello) xoxo
Rosie- Hi Mom, Dad, Eagan, Graham and Timmy! I hope you guys are having fun in Michigan! Hawaii has been incredible. The island is so beautiful and Ice met some great friends. A couple nights ago we went night snorkeling with Manta Rays and it was the coolest experience I have ever had. I miss you gifts so much and I’ll see you soon to tell you about the rest of this amazing trip. Xoxo PS my lip is feeling much better.