June 27, 2018
We simply can’t believe our time with the most amazing girl gang has come to a close. To us it feels like yesterday we were hugging all 12 of the girls at the airport for the first time and watching them all introduce themselves to one another. Since our last update from the field, we spent a beautiful morning zip-lining through the rainforest at extreme heights, explored the small beachy town of Paia, had an awesome final Moonup, and a delicious final banquet lunch before heading to the airport.
On Sunday, we started our morning early to zip line amongst the big lush trees and canyons of inland Maui. We completed five different zip lines throughout the morning. The first line we all zipped down was 400 feet long and the only four person line in the state! The lengths of the lines only increased from there throughout the morning. Although Anna Settle was skeptical at first, she ended up leading the group down the lines, taking GoPro videos of course. Mason and Annie, the coconuts of the bunch, had the cannonball down the line to keep their speed and stick the landing on the other end! All of our outfitters have taught us so much about the island everyday and this activity was no different. Suzie had many questions for our guide about life on Maui and all of the girls gained insight to the island lifestyle.
After ziplining we headed to Paia, a popular and fun beach town on the north shore of the island. Charlotte and Margaux led the charge to Paia bowl, a well known lunch spot that serves renowned açaí bowls. Fresh fruit is spectacular down there, and the girls have taken full advantage of the fruit stands throughout the trip. Madeleine took a chance and opted for lychee fruit, while Elizabeth and Alex were fans of the local pineapples and mangoes.
In Paia, the girls took the opportunity to explore some local shops, picking up souvenirs to take home. Just next door to Paia bowl was a small bead shop where Laine and several other girls picked out their own beads and charms to create a unique and original piece of jewelry to remind them of their trip.
On our final day, we ate lunch around one big table at Polli’s in Makawao. The girls were decked out in their banquet attire (Goodwill’s finest Hawaiian shirts); Marlin even sported a crazy pigtail updo to accompany her local swag. We all enjoyed chowing down on some Mexican food and reminiscing on our favorite activities and also what we were most excited about upon returning home. Caroline, our New Yorker, was certainly excited about the opportunity to walk to her favorite restaurants near her house.
Once again, we are blown away by how fast these two weeks went.We are already feeling lonely over here without our little chickens. The fifteen passenger van is just too quiet without all twelve resounding singing voices. We want to say mahalo nui loa and aloha to our first twelve girls!! We love you and miss you!
-Kate, Alden, and Taylor
June 25, 2018
Aloha! Wow- what an incredible last few days. The past three days have been filled with a variety activities that have not left us disappointed. Since our last update from the field, we have rappelled down some beautiful private waterfalls, paddle boarded and snorkeled around Makena Beach, and participated in a breathtaking snorkel tour.
On Thursday, we traveled down the highway to Hana. Along these roads, the geography evolved from one of grassland and views of the coastline into the jungles of Maui. The flora and fauna were breathtaking, and we saw a number of peacocks, wild chickens, and prawns as we ventured towards rappelling down our first waterfall. Although intimidating at first, the girl gang conquered all three cliffs of the day. Mason and Elizabeth led the group in strength and traversed down the first cliff of the day. Later, Settie and Suzie, although hesitant at first, immediately picked up the skill and successfully repelled down both waterfalls with ease. That night, we cooked a pizza bagel dinner and left our campsite early enough to reach Haleakala for the evening’s sunset. This view rivaled no other. The girls were in utter awe; the various hues of the sky and rocky terrain gave a Mars-like feel to the night. We ended our time at the top of Haleakala with a wonderful Moonup. What an experience for us all- as we descended the 10,000 foot volcano, the girls were exhausted but ready for the next day’s activities.
Friday began with stand-up paddle boarding and a relaxing swim along the Makena Beach coast. Filled with more sea turtles and other ocean creatures, the girl gang has continued to experience all of what Maui has to offer. That evening, we took on the Ohai trail (next to an awesome blowhole!); Annie and Lainey, especially, were great fans of the deep blue waters and luscious green landscape. Afterwards, we ended the day’s main activities with the Coconut Caboose- both an island and girl gang favorite. Although the day was a moderate challenge, dinner was the ultimate test for these girls. We went total hands off; not to our surprise, Madeline, Margaux, Settie, and Charlotte prepared a fantastic spaghetti and garlic bread meal without any of the leader’s help. With a great dinner and successful end to the day, we drifted asleep early in preparation for our morning snorkel tour.
Today was absolutely spectacular. From the food (warm cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit) to the abundance of sea life surrounding the Molikini Crater, the girls were not left disappointed. Our guides blasted fun music while we swam around and learned about parrot fish and all other kinds of sea creatures. Marlin and Caroline also crushed today’s snorkeling activity as they led the girl gang eagerly and proudly as the LODs. For our day under sea, Caroline and Alex essentially turned into fish themselves and loved observing all the underwater activity up close.
To end our incredible day on the ocean, our LOD’s lead a great Moonup. Tonight, they asked a great question. The question was, “what is your favorite hobby and why?” We all heard some great answers and got to know even more about each other. We can’t believe that we only have a couple more days with this incredible group of girls on the island of Maui!
June 21, 2018
Aloha from the Maui girl band! We cannot believe that the trip is halfway through. Days fly by and activities pass in a wink. Our past three days have been filled with community engagement and service! We’ve had the opportunity to work with Imua Family Services, a local nonprofit that works with children with disabilities from all over Maui county. On the first day, the girls learned a lot about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how early intervention has the potential to change a child and family’s life. After an orientation of the organization given by executive director Dean Wong, we all gained a deeper understanding of the lives of children with special needs and then set off to play and work with a preschool class. Margaux was an immediate hit with Ella and Carlos, two adorable preschoolers. Marlin and Settie were equally excellent buddies and helped multiple teachers manage the children during story time and a field trip to the park. Although we were impressed by the group’s attitude and determination throughout these last few days, our true WOW moments came from our Moonups and afternoon activities.
On Day 2 of service, half the girls worked with the preschool while the other half of the group helped Imua’s administrative staff. This evening, at least for us, was one of the most memorable of the trip thus far. For hours, the girls had a huge dance party. With the help of Suzie and Elizabeth and a few strobe headlamps, the girls created the optimal dancing environment. We loved seeing Mason and Madeleine dance. Moreover LODs Lainey and Caroline maintained the group’s energy that night with a great Moonup question: “What is an experience that has changed your perspective or view on something?” For Lainey, learning about children with special needs was an eye opening experience. Similarly, Annie also explained how she now is more aware of those with disabilities and recognized how isolated many of these children are both in her school and society. Charlotte pointed out that there are so many people who need help, whether on Maui or elsewhere, and even one person can leave an impact. After listening and reflecting on such a great question, the girls were excited to finish off the service portion of the trip on a strong note.
Day 3 of service reflected much of Day 2’s activities- the groups switched off to work with kids and continued to help out the office staff. In the afternoon we were able to hangout at an awesome beach park! Nestled behind a busy hotel, this spot had some great spots to jump into the ocean. Alex and one of our leaders, Kate, were apprehensive jump at first but overcame this fear and were so proud of themselves after the fact. After this exciting afternoon excursion, we drove back to camp and finished the night off with quinoa and a lemon basil chicken.
We are excited to end the trip with activities like rappelling, SUPing, and zip lining! Again, all fifteen of us are blown away by how fast this trip has been going and are dreading having to say goodbye in a few short days! Nonetheless, these girls miss their fams and wanted to give y’all some shoutouts!
Mason: hi family! Having a great time, love you lots!
Madeleine: hi! Hope you are enjoying Spain!
Caroline: Maui is fun! Miss you! See you in a week!
Laine: What’s up fam. Miss you, see you soon, love you
Elizabeth: Aloha!!! Maui is pretty great. Hope y’all are having fun with no kids for a week. See you soon! <3
Charlotte: Hi mom and dad! We’ve done so many cool things here and I’ve met so many new people! I love the trip leaders. Thanks for this amazing experience. Love and miss you both.
Margaux: hi peeps! I miss you guys. Maui is fun and I’m getting much tanner than Dad. Love you!
Annie: sup fam!! I’m livin it up in Hawaii and am NOT sunburnt yet (I haven’t even worn my swim leggings yet). Luv ya -bubz
Settie: I miss y’all but I’m here and having fun. Have fun and I’ll see u at the airport.
Suzie: hey guys! Love and miss you! You guys would LOVE it here. Happy late Fathers Day Dad! See y’all when I get home. love you -the favorite child and favorite sibling
Alex: Hey y’all, I’m having a great time! Everyone is super nice and we’ve done a bunch of cool stuff. I’m actually pretty decent at surfing! Happy late Father’s Day! I’ll see y’all on Matt’s bday!! love y’all
Marlin: Heyyyy fam. I am having so much fun here in Maui love ya see you soon and happy late Father’s Day!!!!!!!!
June 17, 2018
Aloha! Our girl gang has officially settled into our campsite, a location which boasts breathtaking views of the island, beautiful sunsets, and clear night skies. Although Day 1 consisted of several hours at the airport (shout out to Mason for being at the Maui airport the longest and had 9 hours of positivity), the girls embraced their first day in Hawaii and celebrated with a huge pizza dinner.
Day 2 began with Annie and Alex as our for set of LODs (Leaders of the Day). Here in Maui, our days begin very early. Since the winds tend to pick up in the afternoon, most of our water sport activities are completed before noon. Despite the early wake up call and jet lag, Annie and Alex happily arose, woke up their peers, and were ready to take on the day. As we piled into the van after a hardy bagel breakfast, the girls showed great resilience, enthusiasm, and excitement as we headed to Kalama Beach for surfing lessons. Now, let me tell you, these girls were pros. Not only were the outfitters astounded by their incredible listening skills, but they expressed their excitement and surprise as the girls quickly rode the waves. Elizabeth and Margaux, our natural surfers of the group, managed to even ride the waves together on a single board. Suzie and Caroline, after some successful rides, were found chatting with other outfitters, eagerly learning about Hawaii and its people. Later that day, we were able to hike the beautiful Pali trail and relax on Baby Beach. Here, we saw a sea turtle beached while soaking up the rays- a definite highlight for Lainey, who loved that every step in the ocean was a mystery. Was she stepping on a rock or turtle? She’ll never know. After a rigorous and day full of various activities, we then ventured home and ate our first home cooked meal as group. Fajitas were a hit, no thanks to Settie who cut up our vegetables and killed the skillet game. With full bellies and exhausted from the day, we held our nightly ritual of “Moonup” and drifted into a deep sleep quickly after.
For the next few days, as the group quickly became well acquainted, our water sport activities of surfing and windsurfing became even more enjoyable. After our final surfing lesson, the girl gang traveled to La Perouse Bay for a memorable hike along the beautiful Maui coastline. Flanked by mounds of volcanic rock, lava flows, and a beautiful blue ocean, this hike was one for the books. What truly stood out to me, however, was not the view but the company. This group has a strong, positive presence. I had a great conversation with Marlin and Madeleine about Madeleine’s school class on gender- a discussion on social problems in modern society. Not only was this fascinating, but a true testament to the maturity of the collective group. Moreover, our Moonup that night further validated our initial impression of this group. Posed by Day 3’s LODs Settie and Suzie, the question “what has been your greatest challenge and how were you able to overcome it” elicited strong answers. Every girl had such great advice, and we were thankful to be a part of it. With a strong end to the night, the girls were eager to begin wind surfing the following day.
Today, the 15 of us spent time learning how to windsurf (all while watching a competition right next to us!). Charlotte, one of the most coordinated teens I’ve seen, was insanely successful with each try, which warranted countless compliments from our instructor. Mason, Marlin, and Elizabeth were the last girls out there on the water and by the end of the morning they were all sailing out, navigating the wind and challenging turns, and sticking the landings back on the beach. After a couple tries, everyone managed to get the hang of this challenging activity and grew appreciative of the athletes who do this for a living. Now, we are feasting over Açaí bowls as we do some laundry and prepare for the next 10 days. I’m looking forward to the many more memories to come, and I know the girls are as well.
Taylor, Kate, and Alden
June 14, 2018
Hello Maui Families!
We have heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Maui! We are so excited to hear about their upcoming adventures. Stay tuned for more!