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Dolomites 3A • July 15-July 28, 2018

A Final Farewell from Venice!

July 28, 2018


Ciao from the airplane! We hope this update finds you all well! As we sit here on the plane with your kiddos we are filled with many mixed emotions-very sad our time together has come to an end, yet extremely proud and grateful for the precious time we have had with your incredible kids over the last two weeks. We truly could not have asked for a more dynamic and kindhearted group.Since we last touched base we were canyoning away in the beautifully quaint town of Claut! Our canyoning experience consisted of repelling down waterfalls and sliding down rocks into crystal clear pools of water… talk about a WOW moment day. Isabel was super helpful in helping the others get on all of our gear, as well as creating a calm source of energy for each of us as we headed into the experience. Zoe was super positive in leading us up our mini, yet challenging, hike to our canyoning spot. The hike was especially tricky in full wetsuits, harnesses and helmets, and Zoe really helped keep the positive vibes rolling on our way up. Nolan was the first to jump in the chilly water, and was a great leader the rest of the day in fearlessly showing the others how it was all done. Molly went Superman style sliding down one of the rocks, having all of us others follow suit! On our last repel of canyoning, Cole went down a 22 meter waterfall with a huge smile and much enthusiasm. It was wonderful to see as leaders, as well as really helped the others feel confident in taking on this endeavor with grace and ease too. Needless to say, canyoning was a definite highlight of the trip!After canyoning, Amelia led us to a delicious gelateria where we all indulged in some much deserved gelato-goodness. While waiting for gelato, Rylee and Reece led the boys in a hacky sack game in the town square. It was described in our last Moonup as one of the boys favorite memories of their Moondance experience thus far. Our Leaders of the Day, Shad and Mollie, led us in a great Moonup at the town playground to follow our yummy supper. They asked the group to describe their favorite attribute about themselves – it was a very powerful question that we think really provided a platform for each of the students to celebrate the many wonderful things about themselves.Yesterday, we had our town day in Venice…woohoo! We got to roam the streets and canals of Venice with one another, and what a day we had. Charlotte helped lead us to an incredible gelato spot near the famous Rialto Bridge… everyone loved it so much that we came back for more after dinner! Virginia also helped us all hop on the gondolas and explore the canals around Venice. We even got to pass by the spot where Marco Polo was born. After a day of exploring the special city of Venice we all headed back to our hostel across the canal. We had a special last Moonup right on the water with the sun setting behind us… it was surely a moment us leaders will remember always.We would like to thank you all so much for sharing your kids with us on our incredible Moondance Adventure here in the Dolomites. We truly could not have asked for a more wonderful trip. The enthusiasm, light and passion each of your kids brought to our group made this a trip of a lifetime, and we are so grateful for our friendships with each of them. We will miss them dearly, but can’t wait to keep in touch and hear all about each of their future successes.

Many thanks and ciao for now!Mary Hill and Reece

Via Ferrata!!

July 25, 2018

Ciao from the town of Claut! We have just arrived to our hotel after finishing our trekking and climbing sections of the trip wooohoo! What a wonderful last few days we have had climbing in the notorious Cinque Torri area…


Our first day of climbing we did another Via Ferrata / hike in the morning, and let us just say… it was awesome! Amelia, Zoe and Virginia led us up the mountain, showing everyone how to proficiently climb as well as traverse across the rock to reach our summit. Once we reached the top, Cole signed the summit book for our group marking our group triumph! He also helped encourage all of the others in feeling more comfortable on the descent down the mountain, as it was very steep and daunting for many. In the afternoon, we walked over to Cinque Torri where we began rock climbing! Nolan and Shad raced one another up a single pitch climb with all of the other students below belaying and cheering them on. Isabel and Molly were also a dynamic duo in the single pitch climbing that afternoon helping each other belay and provide tips for foot placement in reaching the top. It was so wonderful as leaders to see such great demonstration of expedition behavior from these two girls. The following day we began our multi-pitch climbing. Rylee, Charlotte and Mollie immediately took this challenge on – not only reaching the top but also doing so with incredible grace, ease and skill. The multi-pitch climb they and many others in our group took on entailed of clipping into pitches as each student climbed higher and higher up the rock while connected to others in the group, and then repelling down the opposite side of the rock… talk about a WOW moment. Aside from all the rockin’ climbing we did, we have also been treated to some absolutely delicious meals. From pesto pasta, to rotisserie chicken, to gelato cake, we have surely been fueled up for our big days. Today, we had our last day of trekking. We hiked about 10 miles and had delicious sandwiches about halfway through. We even had newborn donkeys greet us along the way! Overall, we have hiked approximately 65 miles this last week, and we could not be more proud of your kiddos for doing so. We are sad the trip is coming to a close, but are so excited for our last few days together and all of the adventures they hold for us.


Off to canyoneer!

Mary Hill and Reece


P.S. Here are some shoutouts from your kiddos-they sure miss y’all!



Nolan: I had fun hiking and we stay in nice places. Miss you guys!


Zoe: Hey Mom & Dad, it’s so pretty and I’m having fun. Miss you


Charlotte: HELLO! Miss everyone and the scenery is gorgeous.


Amelia: Hi family! I love it here! It’s so pretty! Love you and miss you!


Isabel: Hey! I’m having the best time and it’s the prettiest place. Love & miss you!!


Molly: Ciao Myers Fam! I’m having tons of fun! Love and miss y’all !!


Mollie: I am having so much fun see you soon! I haven’t lost anything else!


Virginia: Hey! Italy is amazing! Miss y’all and see you soon!


Cole: Hi everyone who is reading this! I will see you soon and I will have lots of  pictures!!!


Shad: Today we drove to Claut. Having fun see you soon!


Rylee: I love my leaders so much, and I’m coming home with cornrows.

Ciao from Cinque Torri!

July 22, 2018

We arrived earlier this afternoon to the rifugio where we will be staying for the duration of the rock climbing section of our trip. This morning we descended down WWI tunnels, learning all about their history and significance in the areas we have been trekking through this last week. The past few days have flown by as we have completed the majority of our trekking section. We have trekked almost 50 miles with over half of that being comprised of uphill climbs. On our first day of trekking, Shad and Charlotte helped lead the group up onto the mountain – it was a difficult trekking day and they did a great job at motivating the others and getting each of us through it. That night Zoe led us in a slacklining competition as the sun set behind us… it was a wonderful way to end our first long trekking day for sure! The following day we hiked to our next rifugio and Virginia and Cole were excellent Leaders of the Day in leading the group on this hike as well as finding us a shaded lunch spot to enjoy some delicious Italian sandwiches and take a mini cat nap before continuing on. Once we arrived at the rifugio we headed over to the nearby lake where we all jumped in! Rylee was the first to jump in, getting the rest of us pumped to follow him into the refreshing (yet chilly) water! That night Nolan had us all playing card and ping pong games, keeping us all entertained and happy before catching a great nights sleep. The next day we enjoyed a nice day hike to a beautiful pass where we were able to spot Austria! Isabel and Amelia did an incredible job at leading us on this hike, as well as keeping our minds off of the steep incline with great conversation. That night we were also able to see all of the stars so clearly… talk about a WOW moment. Yesterday was one of our biggest and most difficult trekking days and the two Molly’s (Mollie and Molly) really helped each of us keep on keeping on through it. We were hit with a rainstorm about halfway through our trek which added another several miles to it as we sought refuge in a nearby rifugio. However, Mollie and Molly were extremely positive about this hump in the road, and really helped in spreading this attitude to the rest of the group. Needless to say, we could not be more proud of your kids throughout the trekking they have completed over the course of this week. They are such a strong, mature and dynamic group, and we can’t wait for all that is to come the second half of the trip!


Ciao for now!


Mary Hill and Reece


Ciao from Cortina!

July 17, 2018

Ciao from Cortina!


We hope this update finds you all well. We are so thrilled to have your kiddos in Italy with us… what a wonderful first few days we have had! Upon arrival, Rylee and Shad were extremely helpful in helping us leaders load up the bags and carry them out to the bus – setting a great tone for the positive expedition behavior we hope to emulate on each of our Moondance trips. We then jammed to some tunes as we rode up the mountains to the famous town of Cortina. From there, Zoe and Mollie led us to a yummy pizzeria in town where they ordered the group some delicious pizzas to munch on after a long night of travel. We had the afternoon to rest and get to know each other and then were treated to another delicious meal at our hotel. Amelia did a wonderful job at keeping the conversation going and making everyone feel welcome and excited for our adventures ahead!


Isabel and Nolan were our first Leaders of the Day today, and did an incredible job at leading the group on a 16 mile hike and Via Ferrata where we traversed across a canyon and beautiful waterfall! Molly and Virginia led the group to some much-deserved gelato after our long hike, and helped everyone pick out the best flavors. We just finished our second Moonup reflection of the trip with our group, and Charlotte and Cole were named our next Leaders of the Day. Their positive, kind and encouraging demeanors were recognized by today’s LOD’s who knew they would do a wonderful job at leading our first day of trekking tomorrow….woohoo! Over the next 5 days we will be trekking ~50 miles through the Dolomites, and we couldn’t be more excited to start this experience with such a dynamic and mature group of students… thank you for sharing them with us for the next two weeks!

Ciao for now!

Mary Hill and Reece

Safe Arrival in Venice!

July 16, 2018

Hello Dolomites Families!

We heard from our leaders last night, and all students have arrived safely in Venice! The trip is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more news from their adventures.

  • Moondance HQ


  • Isabel
  • Amelia
  • Rylee
  • Mollie
  • Shad
  • Cole
  • Molly
  • Virginia
  • Nolan
  • Charlotte
  • Zoe