July 28, 2017
Hello families!! We all are either in flight or awaiting for departure now. It’s hard to believe how fast this trip came and went. We loved getting to know your sweet girls from start to finish, and we cannot thank you enough for sharing them with us these past couple of weeks. At the end of our trip, we paddle boarded and enjoyed our last few hours soaking up the sun at our favorite beach. On Wednesday morning, we packed up our camp and drove across the island to Makena Beach Park for stand up paddle boarding. Some of the girls attempted yoga poses on the boards, but most of us failed miserably. For lunch we stopped by one of our favorite local places for acai bowls and smoothies. Sally Anne, Sydney, and Ann Riley indulged in what looked like the most delicious thing on the planet: a smoothie bowl filled to the top with fresh fruit, coconut flakes, and granola. Hayden ordered the brightest, yummiest smoothie ever. Needless to say, our lunch was quite a treat. Anna Parker and Ella walked next door to the bead shop to purchase beads and rope to make homemade jewelry. They needed some souvenirs to remember their time on Maui 🙂
After lunch, we headed to Hookipa Beach Park to finish our last beach day where we started. All the girls lay on the beach and played in the strong waves for the afternoon. Last night, we went to Goodwill before going to our banquet dinner. Mary Hunter and Mack sported matching outfits from the thrift store that included heals and sparkly skirts. It was so funny! We all stuffed our faces with delicious pizza and focaccia bread as a final treat to end the trip. Last night we talked about what we learned from Moondance these past two weeks. Everyone had really great answers that represented what Moondance is all about. All the girls said they learned how to live in the moment and how to step outside of their comfort zone. It brought smiles to our faces to hear what they gained from their time on Maui. This morning, we cleaned the van, the kitchen gear, and the campsite. Fiona helped Will take inventory of the tents while Alex and Ellie cooked mac and cheese for lunch. Everyone was such a help today; we could not have done it all without them! We cannot believe the summer is coming to a close and that we will all be back into the routine of the school year soon. Again, thank you for sharing your kids with us on Maui. We have made such sweet memories that will last a last time. We hope that everyone has a smooth transition back home and an amazing conclusion to their summer.
July 26, 2017
The service portion of our trip just came to an end, which means our trip is nearing its end. We cannot believe how fast it has gone by! It feels like these girls arrived on Maui yesterday. On our first day of service, we snorkeled at Ulua Beach in the morning and traveled to Hookipa Beach in the afternoon. At Ulua Beach, we saw all sorts of awesome marine life. Hayden got to hold a sea cucumber. Ann Riley held a velvet sea star, and Mack held a cushion sea star. Nina and Luke, our two volunteers with Hawaii Wildlife Fund, taught us about the native species found off the coast of Maui. We learned about the parrot fish, the green sea turtle, the trumpet fish, and many more. At Hookipa Beach, Sydney and Sally bought original Hawaiian bracelets while Fiona and Alex bought shaved ice from an island-famous food truck. Sunday night we had the opportunity of a lifetime to camp on Makena Beach and look for a critically endangered turtle, the Hawksbill sea turtle. At about 10:00 pm, the Hawksbill crawled onto the beach to lay her nest. We got to see her lay her eggs up close: it was such a surreal experience that only a few people ever get a chance to see! On Monday, we trekked to Kahakaloa to do manual labor on Uncle Oliver’s land. We cleared a pond that was covered top to bottom in weeds. Ellie and Ella were not afraid to get down and dirty with the sickle. Our time working quickly turned into a mud fight, so we spent a lot of time washing off and cooling down in a fresh water stream. Anna Parker was the first to slide down the waterfall into the stream! It was so funny watching everyone disguise themselves head to toe in mud. I am so excited for you all to see the pictures from Uncle Oliver’s! Today on our last day of service we searched for Hawksbill turtles at Maluaka Beach. Even though we didn’t see any Hawksbills, we saw plenty of other exciting species. Today we saw an octopus and numerous green sea turtles. Mary Hunter led our snorkeling tour today by making sure the group stayed together and pointing out the turtles to the rest of us. Soon after snorkeling, we had a picnic lunch at the youngest lava flow on the island. We finished up this afternoon learning about conservationism and how we can limit our impact on the environment. All of the girls had ideas about utilizing reusable shopping bags and minimizing the amount of trash they produce. Our time doing service was exciting, valuable, and memorable. Right now we’re headed to the top of Haleakala, the largest shield volcano on the island. We’re going to eat dinner at the summit, so we’re looking forward to a nice view with our meal! Everything in Maui has been incredible and we have been so fortunate to call this place home for the last 2 weeks with these girls! All is well here and be on the lookout for a final update in the next few days!
Until next time,
William, Virginia, and Lilly
July 23, 2017
The past three days we have been busy running from activity to activity without much of a break. On Thursday morning, we began our two days of windsurfing. Windsurfing is one of our most challenging activities, but these girls made it look effortless. Mary Hunter, Sally, and Ann Riley sailed through the waves without trouble. Mack cruised with Will on his board towards the end in order to get some good GoPro footage, while Sydney learned how to direct the sail through the strong winds with our outfitter, Scott. Thursday afternoon we went to Iao Valley to play in the waterfalls and soak up the beautiful Hawaiian sun on the rocks. The valley is one of the most beautiful sights on Maui, so everyone enjoyed themselves despite the refreshingly cold water 🙂
After our trip to Iao Valley, we made a quick stop to the laundromat to wash some of our clothes before we began the second half of our trip; we can’t believe our trip is already halfway over. We all applauded Ella for doing her summer reading while waiting for her clothes to dry-impressive, right? Yesterday, we completed our second day of windsurfing. The girls were able to turn their sails and have control their boards with ease. Alex ventured far off shore like a real professional! The outfitters loved hanging out with such a free-spirited, fun-loving group: it was truly a treat for them.
We spent Friday afternoon in Lahaina, a historical town on the west shore of Maui. Everyone bought souvenirs and t-shirts to bring back home. We treated ourselves to dinner in Lahaina and dropped in our favorite ice cream shop before returning to camp. This morning, we rappelled in a canyon near Bamboo Forest. This impressive group stepped up to the challenge, despite a few hesitations. No fear here! Hayden and Ellie rappelled down a 150 foot slope with ease. Elena, our guide, told us she had never seen such intelligent, athletic teenagers! AP and Fiona were the LODs today. They did a wonderful job encouraging our group members and lending a hand whenever we needed. Tonight, we are calling a new campsite home. This school is home to some beautiful sunsets and colorful rainbows so we are looking forward to the time we have here!
July 20, 2017
Greetings from the beautiful land of Maui! On Tuesday morning, we went surfing at Kalama Beach Park. All the girls (and Will) loved it! Hayden was the first to get up on her board, but Mack and Mary Hunter stood up soon after. We had so much fun playing games in the water between waves, and we took some of the best GoPro footage that we’ve gotten all summer! By the end of the lesson, all of us were riding the waves into the shore without hesitancy. Sydney and Ann Riley even managed to hoist up their long legs on the board! Some of your girls may be headed pro pretty soon!
After surfing, we went back to our campsite for lunch before heading to Bamboo Forest. At Bamboo Forest, we saw the most beautiful waterfalls and natural swimming holes. It was like it was out of National Geographic! Anna Parker and Ella were the first to dive into the fresh water, but everyone soon joined them. Rainbow trees lined our hiking path; the path looked like an enchanted forest from a fairytale movie. We all had a blast feeling dazzled by Mother Nature’s beauty.
Last night, Ellie’s pasta, chicken, and broccoli turned out perfectly. The girls are such impressive cooks! Someone call the Food Network! This morning, we went snorkeling at Molokini Crater. We took a boat out to the crater where we saw exotic fish and colorful coral. Alex and Fiona sat at the front of the boat in order to really feel the adrenaline rush when the boat ran into the waves. Now, we are back at Kalama Beach Park showering and lounging. Sally’s adventurous soul is out bodysurfing in the waves with Lilly while we anxiously wait for dinner. Will is grilling hamburgers tonight so cook crew finally gets a night off. We have an exciting day planned for tomorrow, so everyone is looking forward to full night of sleep! All the gals say hi!
July 18, 2017
Everyone has arrived in Maui safely and is ready to have fun! On our first night, we downed some New York style pizza before beginning our first Moonup. Moonup is a tradition we cherish at Moondance where we gather together as a family and get to know one another better. At the first Moonup, our two alum students, Fiona and Alex, were chosen as LODs for Sunday. LODs are what we call Leaders of the Day: two students who keep the group focused on our goals and who also take responsibility for a number of tasks throughout the day.
On Sunday morning, we took the gals to their first beach park in Paia. Sally and Mack quickly became friends with a sea urchin swimming near a pack of massive green sea turtles. Mary Hunter, Sydney, and Anna Parker joined Lilly and I on the beach while Will took the rest of the group out in the waves. After a relaxed morning, we packed up and took on our first adventure at a zip-lining ranch. We zipped down five different lines over a beautiful gulch with an ocean view. All the girls were so brave – none of them were hesitant to jump off the landing into midair!
At Moonup on Sunday night, Hayden and Ella were chosen as the LODs for Monday due to their lively spirits and contagious joy. This morning we kayaked at Makena Beach Park, and this afternoon we spent time in Paia lounging on a beach on Baldwin Avenue and trying fresh aćai from a local store. While we were waiting for dinner this afternoon, Ann Riley showed us her super soccer skills. None of us could keep up, but hey at least we got a workout in for the day :). The cook crew has blown it out of the water the past two nights. Every day two LODs and two other lucky members of the group head up meal times. They prepare the food, cook the food, and clean up the mess. Last night, we devoured chicken, quinoa, and vegetables, and tonight we enjoyed veggie quesadillas and homemade cheese dip. Ellie will be serving us pasta, broccoli, and chicken tomorrow night for dinner. We are excited for her to show her skills in the “kitchen!”
We have had so much fun these first few days. We cannot wait to see how each girl makes ten new lifelong friends. It’s such a blessing to be able to wake up next to these amazing young women every morning for the next couple of weeks!