June 26, 2018
We truly can’t believe how our time has flown by with your wonderful kids. We want to thank you so much for sharing them with us for 2 weeks and for entrusting us with your most prized possessions. We think they are just the bees knees too! The past two days have been a whirlwind and action packed!
The morning of our last full day started off early again after community service came to a wrap. We were excited for our last water activity but sad that our time enjoying the South Pacific had come to a close. Lizzie and Cate our resident hair braiders jumped right into the swing of things early with a line of girls in front of them waiting for French and Dutch pigtail braids. With full bellies and skin covered in sunscreen we headed to our trusty van for a fun filled ride singing oldies!
Back in turtle town we unloaded and got ready for standup paddle boarding! SUPing early in the morning meant the waves wouldn’t be a hindrance and we would again have the chance to see our turtle friends coming to the surface to warm up. Luckily it was a calm clear morning and the water visibility was amazing! We saw so many turtles and could see lots of fish underneath us as we paddled out. Davis and Grace took advantage of our break spot and decided it was an opportune time to take a nap on our paddle boards. What a picture perfect spot for a rest! We tried some yoga on our paddle boards which ended in some people falling in! Bea loved this relaxing activity and told us stories of taking her siblings on paddle board rides! Our LODs for the day, Maggie and Charles Law kept reminding everyone the importance of living in the moment since this would be our last day on the water! We took advantage of every chance to swim and to soak in all that this beautiful island has to offer.
After a snack of some Maui Gold pineapples we loaded up to the van and headed to go thrift shopping! The group was ecstatic about this since they had been looking forward to this the whole trip! Many of our group members got matching pants and Camille suggested that everyone wear them together in the airport to match!
Back to the van for a long car ride to a cool viewpoint in an area of Maui that we had yet to explore! We headed up the coast with breathtaking views and an awesome ride enjoying all of our time together. Then we had a short walk to see the Nakalele Blowhole. It was incredible to see the power of the seawater being pushed up to 100 feet in the air through a tire sized hole in the lava rock. We all climbed around a safe distance away from the actual blowhole and got some great views of it and the ocean!
Afterwards we had a treat and got some famous Hawaiian shaved ice from a stand! The flavors blew us away! Some people even got coconuts so we got to see how they opened them up for us to enjoy! Once we were done drinking the coconut water they cut the coconuts in half for us to try the meat. So refreshing!
Back at camp, our cook crew, Carter, Mack and Harrison killed it making hamburgers and hot dogs! An all around favorite meal was had by all to finish out our camp cuisine for the past two weeks. After dinner we had our minds blown by intriguing talks about space facilitated by Davis and Steve and settled in to our longest and most heartfelt Moonup. Cate and Camille read a list of memories from the trip which gave us all the feels as we added to it and laughed about the good times had by all.
Our last day together sadly had to come. We woke up and had a slow breakfast enjoying each other’s company in this setting for one last time. We cleaned up camp and headed to our banquet dinner in the quintessential surf town Paia. It was a wonderful lunch and ended in many of our kids getting a smoothie or milkshake treat. We had our last Moonup, tears and all, and somehow it was time for us to go to the airport. Goodbyes were all around but it felt so surreal for us leaders. Now that we no longer have our 11 kids in tow it’s starting to feel like they are actually gone and headed back to y’all’s arms. But we are sad about it. We are so thankful to have gotten the chance to know each and every one of your kids during these past two weeks. Thank you for sending them on this trip with us…it truly is because of each one of them that we feel the way we do right now. Mahalo nui loa forever to you and to your kids!
– The A Team
Legare, Steve, and Alec
June 24, 2018
What an eventful couple of days it’s been! The day after our wind surfing adventure, we hit the road into the jungle for a canyon rappel. As our guides led us on the Hana Highway, we traded beach views for lush rainforest scenery- our destination was a park named “The Garden of Eden”. Here we would hike through sprawling tropical flora to our first of three rappels. Lizzie was the first to peer over the 52’ cliff, as she executed a flawless rappel with textbook technique. Maggie’s moment of triumph came as she conquered her reluctance and safely arrived at the bottom of the canyon, thrilled that she overcame her fear.
As we continued deeper into The Garden of Eden, we were greeted by towering waterfalls and soaring, green canyon walls. Mack was the first to step up to the waterfall rappel, in line with the flowing water as he braced against his gear. At the bottom, he splashed down into a 30’ plunge pool where the rest of the group joined him to lounge. As we approached the final waterfall, thick jungle walls yielded protruding canopy trees that shaded us from the harsh Maui sun. While the guides secured her gear, Camille gazed down the canyon and mapped out her next photograph. Back at the rendezvous spot, our guides provided local lunch digs, including wraps and Maui Gold pineapple.
Next on our agenda, a popular cliff jumping spot, Black Rock Beach. Mind over matter is key as you leap 20’ from ancient volcanic rock, into the crystal blue waters below. Harrison approached the jump point, without hesitation, and sprung off the cliff- perfect performance as to not allot anyone enough time to think about it. As the first group swam safely back to shore, the second group assembled, and leading the charge was Davis. His peers followed closely as he scrambled up the rock to the jump point and leapt into the clear water below.
Imua Family Services has been providing child care in Hawaii since 1947. We were fortunate enough to spend three days with this group and gained tremendous insight into the work they do! Having worked with children with autism in the past, Bea briefed us on a couple things we could expect in the next coming days. The first day, Cate and Grace worked with a 5 year old boy with autism. He took to the girls immediately as they practiced word articulation and other physical learning games. The next day we met the preschool group at the botanical gardens, where they were quick to vocalize their knowledge of local verdure. Carter quickly befriended one boy and provided many laughs as well as piggy back rides, undoubtedly making his day. After a fun, full day at the botanical gardens, we headed to a local beach park to recharge and soak up some rays.
During our last service day today, we made a sensory garden with “Grow Some Good” for the students at Imua. We all were sweating as we exerted ourselves pulling weeds, repotting plants, and creating new planters. Charles Law was incredibly helpful due to his terrific strength and endurance. Whether it was moving cinderblocks, raking gravel or moving large soil bags, he was in the zone and always willing to give a helping hand. After lunch while on the way to snorkel this afternoon, we surprised the kids with an ice cream stop! It was a wonderful way to wrap up our day- a good time was had by all!
As we wrap up the trip, we can honestly say we’re sad to see it coming to an end. We’re all cherishing the time we have left together and making every moment count!
All the best,
Steve, Alec and Legare
June 21, 2018
Before I begin the trip update, I would like to say how lucky we (Alec, Legare and
Steve) are to have such an amazing group of kids! First session trips are always the most hectic, and it makes it so much easier when you have kids who are so well behaved, fun, and love to be around each other. We can honestly say that all the kids are getting along and having a great time together.
Our fourth day of adventure was kicked off with some morning surfing! We headed to the beach to shred the gnar after devouring a delicious breakfast prepared by Lizzie, Cate and Maggie! We were stoked to hear from our surf instructors that we were surfing in the best swell of the year! As Carter says, we got “pitted.” As soon as we got out there, everyone was getting up on their boards and riding some waves. Everyone also had some hilarious wipeouts. Bea and Harrison got the hang of it quick and were starting to look like Kelly Slater by the time the activity was done.
After a brief lunch, our LOD’s (Leaders of the Day) Camille and Davis led us on a nature hike thorough a deeply wooded trail. The hike consisted of us cranking tunes, laughing, and taking in all nature has to offer. The day was finished up with Grace, Cate, and Davis whipping up some mouth watering quesadillas for the whole gang. Oh and that guac we had was heavenly!
Day five was another early, yet exciting morning with our group snorkeling the Molokini crater. We saw lots of exotic fish, huge turtles, vivid coral, and even an octopus! After snorkeling, we headed into town to explore. We stopped at a local cafe where most of the kids treated themselves to açaí bowls. Grace tried her first bowl and loved it! We capped the night off with stir fry for dinner and a terrific moon up.
We surfed again on day six and all the kids were absolute pros the second time around. Everyone was doing cool tricks including walking up and down the board, laying on their backs, and even doing sweet camera tricks with the GoPro. However, the best part of the day came later when we decided that we would drive up Haleakala and watch the sunset. The drive was an absolute party as we played Disney songs the entire way up the 10,000 foot volcano. Everyone in the car was belting out lyrics to classic songs like “Circle of Life”, “A Whole New World”, “Strangers Like Me”, and so on. To our amazement, we found out that all of the boys, especially Charles Law, knew every word to each Frozen song. Nonetheless, it was truly a great night filled with lots of pictures, laughs, and songs. It was truly breathtaking to experience the sunset above the cloud and experience how cold it got as the sun went down. We enjoyed dessert as we waited for the stars to come out and then we had the most memorable Moonup at the summit of Haleakala. The kids said it was the “best night ever” and so “lit”.
After a long night, we slept in and recharged our batteries for our morning windsurfing session. We treated ourselves to chocolate chip pancakes and headed over to the cove where we met our guides. Mack’s sailing background was evident as he was the first to get up and windsurf around. We finished up our day with a stop at the local laundromat and then lunch/hike at Baby Beach. We even had a few turtles come up and visit us on the beach. It was awesome to see these creatures up close and out of the water!
Before we wrap this up, the kids all wrote shout outs to each of their parents and we would like to share them with you.
Maggie: “Hi Mom and Dad. I am having so much fun. It’s amazing here and so pretty. I miss and love y’all! Ps: I nearly tripped over a turtle!”
Bea: “Totally moving to Maui! Love this place so much! I can’t believe how many turtles I have seen!”
Camille: “Hey Mom and Dad! Maui is so much fun! I learned to surf and I know y’all would be so proud! Love y’all….. never coming home!”
Lizzie: “Hey fam! I am having so much fun but I miss y’all! It’s so pretty here and I’m having an amazing time! Love you all!”
Cate: “Hey Mom and Dad, love you but I’m not coming home! I’m having so much fun and learning so much! Thank you so much for sending me to Maui!
Harrison: “Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! I have had so much fun and learned so many things already.”
Grace: “Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having so much fun! Maui is amazing and I miss you guys.”
Davis: “Hey Mom and Dad and everyone. I miss you guys. I am having a lot of fun. Maui is so pretty and I love y’all so much.”
Charles Law: “Hey Mom and Dad, Maui is amazing. Tell Hazel and Fonz I say hello.”
Carter: “Hey Mom and Dad. I miss you guys and love you so much. Me and Camille are having a lot of fun. Thank you for sending me on this trip.”
Mack: “Hey Mom and Dad, I have had a great time in each activity this trip. Thank you for sending me here. Miss you both.”
The A Team
Alec, Legare, Steve
June 16, 2018
Aloha from Maui!
Our first day at the airport started off early and ended late! With almost everyone coming from the East Coast, we were expecting some tired kids to be meeting us in the airport. We were happily surprised when we were met with all of our students smiling faces and great attitudes! Davis was our first arrival, who got to know everyone as they trickled in throughout the day. He captured the group’s attention while he showed us all how to play so many games in the most hilarious fashion. We continued to get to know each other, frequently taking walks around the airport and enjoying group games. We greeted our last arrival by chanting “Cate! Cate! Cate!” Despite being an exhausting day for her, she arrived in great spirits and was thrilled to be with us in Maui! We all went back to camp, ate some much-deserved pizza, had our first Moonup and headed to bed.
The next morning, we had some early risers due to jet lag and our rooster friends. Needless to say, we took advantage of it! Our first cook crew, Lizzie, Mack and Maggie, made us delicious eggs, bacon and hash browns for breakfast. We had a slower morning, went over the layout of our camp, and learned a little about the history behind the island we’ll be calling home! Harrison and Grace were our first LODs and were excited to find out that we were headed to the beach and then ziplining in the afternoon. Harrison’s great sense of humor kept us laughing all day and Grace’s thoughtfulness for others made sure the whole group was doing well.
Our first look at Maui’s beauty was at the beach, and being there fired up everyone’s excitement and enthusiasm. Camille lead the way into the water, GoPro in hand, to capture every moment!
We were all blown away by the aerial beauty the zip-line revealed. One minute we were at the beach, the next we were in a jungle and zipping over gorges—breathtaking! Carter was born ready for this and in the zone from the beginning – he was ready to race on every single section of the zip! The last zip section was 1/2 a mile long over a canyon with stunning depths. Oceans, gorges and natural pools underneath us yielded a pure adrenaline rush!
Exhausted, we headed back to camp. After a handful of group games, team building exercises and a fantastic dinner, we retired to our tents. It was amazing to see how close we all got at the end of the first full day together!
The next day, Charles Law led the group on another adventure with an early morning start- a new found skill of his! Lizzie motivated the group and kept our time so we could get out of camp on time for sea kayaking. We were lucky enough be on the water so early because of the sea turtle activity in the morning- we probably saw 15! Bea was so excited to kayak and snorkel, her proficiency shining through from her past experience. The water felt great and we enjoyed some fresh pineapple as a snack on our kayaks. Once we headed back in to shore we decided to go to another beach and have a picnic for lunch. Everyone was fascinated watching the surfers who could actually hang with the intense “shore-break” waves. We went on a drive after that and got to see the most recent lava flow on Maui—it looked like another planet! This lava flow was estimated to have happened in 1419 and still looks similar to how it did when it first cooled. This gave us a greater appreciation for the island, not to mention an awesome photo opportunity!
Mahalo nui loa from the bottom of our hearts for sending your wonderful kids on this adventure with us!
Legare, Alec and Steve
June 14, 2018
Hello Maui Families,
We’ve heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Maui! We are so excited for this adventure to be on its way. Stay tuned for more adventures coming soon!