July 13, 2018
What a life changing trip it has been. As we wrap up the trip, we reflect on the first days and are awestruck how close the group has become. The once timid kids have grown into a family and forged friendships that will last a lifetime.
Since our last update from the field, we have rappelled down canyon cliffs, paddle boarded on the open ocean, and feasted at the final supper. Heavy rains changed the rappel route, enabling us to get a different perspective of the waterfalls. As Jack peered down the cliff, the mighty waterfalls roared in the background. He was cheered on by Christopher as he awaited Jack’s arrival on the canyon floor. After a short hike back to rappelling base camp, we were greeted with a fantastic lunch spread. William, having never eaten pineapple before this trip, was first to indulge the locally grown fruits.
That evening Kate, Caroline and Will prepared the students favorite, pita pizza on naan bread. The following day we headed for Makena beach where we met our paddle board guides. The crystal clear water yielded excellent views of the oceanic fauna. During our adventure we had a little competition-a paddle board race. Drew and Riley emerged victors with the best strategy, navigating two paddle boards across the finish line. Francie seized the opportunity to practice her headstands on the paddle board, impressing her peers and the guides! Lily and Ellie swam, enjoying themselves in the water and getting one last swim in with the sea turtles. Sallie was the paddle board queen, mastering the pivot turn.
The final day was an emotional roller coaster. We stopped by a local Hawaiian diner for our final meal, telling stories and reminiscing on memories. As we shared our last goodbyes in the airport, we couldn’t help but feel so fortunate to have shared this amazing experience with each other. From all of us in Maui, Mahalo and Aloha!
Steve, Legare, and Alec
July 8, 2018
“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity” -Douglas Adams
After our late night celebrating the 4th of July we had the great treat of sleeping in the next morning before we started our community service with Imua Family Services. This is a local non-profit that works with kids from birth to age eight. Our first day with Imua was spent working with their preschool classes, which is a part of their Inclusion Program. This means that kids typically developing for their age as well as kids with developmental delays or special needs are in the same classroom setting, working and learning together alongside one another. Our day started with water play with the kiddos. Christopher and Drew made instant friends and they never tired, running around the playground and dousing each other in water. Kate and Caroline had a little friend who snuck up on them and got them soaked without warning. Both had huge smiles on their faces and joined right in on the fun. Back inside, Will was killing it with his dance moves and one girl even said that she “never saw a boy dance like that before”; definitely unique! Once we wrapped up with Imua for the day we headed to a small beach town in Maui where we went souvenir shopping as a group. Lily reminded us to get gifts for our loved ones, as she thoughtfully picked out gifts for her own family. While we were shopping, Ellie enjoyed some famous Hawaiian shaved ice. Her mouth completely covered in blue let us know how much she really enjoyed it. We headed back to camp to debrief and have some grub. We got to finish our night with some s’mores which Sallie and Jack were so pumped about. They were even more thrilled when we told them there were enough for them to have seconds! Chocolatey-marshmallowy smiles were all around!
The following day we worked with Imua, but this time we met them at a local botanical garden. This garden is dedicated to protecting Maui’s rich native plants and cultural heritage. The kids we saw yesterday were so excited that when we arrived, many of our students were greeted with hugs. We split into two group with some of our students working with the 5 year old class and the other group working with the 3-4 year old class. We ran around the garden and played with the kids all over. Our “teenagers”, as we were affectionately called, were having a ball! Riley got tired out by all of his little friends requesting piggyback rides up and down the hill. Later we partnered up with the preschoolers and helped them with a leaf identifying activity. Francie and her partner did their leaf rubbing and found the tree that corresponded with their specific leaf first! They spent the rest of this time playing and showing off cartwheels for one another. After our service was over for the day, we headed to a local fruit stand to get some fresh pineapple to have for dessert. William was through the roof ecstatic when he saw that we got three Maui Gold pineapples to share! He is now hooked on pineapples and said the first thing he’s going to do when he’s home is get a pineapple!
As leaders it was so fulfilling to hear our students reflect on their time with the preschoolers at Imua Family Services. They were engaged the whole time with the kids and did everything they could to get smiles on their faces. Drew shared how he was so impressed with how much these kids knew about Maui’s history and indigenous plants. Christopher and Ellie both said that it was difficult for them to notice which students had special needs in the class. This was interesting to hear since this is part of the Inclusion Program’s goal.
The next morning we made banana and M&M pancakes! They were such a hit and so filling before we hit the road for our last day of service. We headed to a local beach to do a trash sweep, which helped us truly understand the importance of taking care of the community that we are lucky enough to be visiting. After a trash collecting contest, we had lunch at the beach. It made us so much more aware of all of our micro-trash that could’ve been beach litter. We then headed to another beach to cliff jump after lunch. The kids were thrilled and we were excited to share such a special spot with them. GoPro in hand, William got all the footage of everyone’s jumps. Lily was cautious and told us she might be nervous of heights but she got up to the top and jumped straight off with no hesitation. We were all so proud of her! She even went back to jump again. After we were done with all the jumps for the day we piled back into our van for a scenic ride home to camp! We can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by with your wonderful kids. We’ve loved the opportunity we’ve had to get to know them and learn so much about them.
‘Til next time!
Legare, Steve and Alec
July 5, 2018
As we wrap up another beautiful day in Maui, we can’t help but appreciate how fortunate we are to be surrounded by such great people. Each student brought with them an amazing mindset and attitude, creating a cohesive family, that ultimately makes Moondance so special.
Round 2 of surfing brought us tastier waves and sweeter rides. William and Jack brought out the quicker, more maneuverable short boards to home in their skills. The bigger boards provided more surface area and buoyancy, allowing multiple folks to surf one board at the same time. Sallie and Francie jumped at the opportunity and made sure to capture the moment on film!
Troublesome for most, windsurfing was no match for Drew! He stunned the instructors with his determination and skills, performing masterful tacks and jibes on the open ocean. Ellie showed her skills during the evening cook crew, expertly crafting chicken and bacon quesadillas that would impress the most seasoned chef!
The turbulent ocean provided a wild aqua coaster that was enjoyed by all the students! Caroline noted how fascinating it was to watch the turtles clean their shells using other fish- Nature is neat! Lily was interested to learn about the most recent shield volcano’s lava flow, which dates to about 250 years ago. Will showed his skills when he disembarked the boat, nailing a perfect backflip into the water! We all thoroughly enjoyed the breakfast and lunch spread the rafting guides provided us, filling up on cinnamon rolls, pasta salad, and huge sandwiches.
Back at camp, Riley kept us all laughing while forging barbecue favorites, hotdogs, and hamburgers. Christopher will have the forehand flick down, for his frisbee skills are already incredible, and rapidly improving. Kate continues to keep the group entertained with her arsenal of card games and witty personality. To celebrate the holiday, we ate a patriotically decorated cake while listening to staple American songs. We surprised the students with sparklers and could even see fireworks from our campsite!
We’ll wrap up this trip update with shout outs from the whole gang- until next time! Aloha from all of us!
Kate,” Hello Glennifer, it’s me Kate! Great news, I haven’t lost anything and saw a gaggle of fish while snorkeling today!”
Riley, “Dear Mom and Dad, I’m living my greatest life here in Maui, my leaders are the best! Miss you and love you! P.S I’m shredding the gnar!”
Will, “Dear Mom, Dad, Mike and Allison, I finally learned how to stand up on a surf board and think I want to move to Hawaii!”
Jack, “Hey Mom and Dad, got a sick hat at rafting today and I’m having a great time in Maui. Thank you!”
Christopher, “Hey Mom and Dad, I had a blast windsurfing yesterday! I miss y’all!”
William, “Thanks for sending me to Maui, I still haven’t gotten burned! See you soon!”
Francie, “Hey Mom and Dad, I’ve taken a bunch of selfies with Sallie and we tandem surfed too!”
Drew, “Windsurfing was so fun, I think I’ve got a new hobby! Wish you were here!”
Sallie, “Dear Mom, Dad, Ted, Bailey, I had a lot of fun surfing and we do have access to bathrooms!! P.s. Boop! Hugs- Sallie”
Caroline, “Hi everyone, I’m having a great time in Maui! Happy late birthday Dad! Love y’all!!”
Lily, “Hi Dad and Mother, Maui is so fun! Can’t wait to see y’all!”
Ellie, “Dear Madge and Padge, thanks for sending me to Maui, I’m having a blast! I hope you’re having fun without me. See you soon!”
All the best,
Steve, Legare, Alec
July 2, 2018
Aloha from Maui!
Our Maui adventure is underway, and we are all having a great time in paradise. Our journey started on airport day where we were greeted with hugs and smiles from our kids. To pass the time we played numerous group games and walked around the airport, while waiting for each camper to arrive at the baggage claim. After each camper finally arrived, we then set off to camp. Before we could get acclimated, we stopped to get some well-deserved pizza for our hungry campers. We then had our first Moonup and headed to bed.
The following morning Lily, Christopher, and Ellie cooked us some delicious oatmeal to start our day. We then loaded up the van and headed to the beach to swim and play. Kate, Caroline, and others bodysurfed the crystal-clear waves, while Drew, William, and Jack played catch in the water. We returned to camp to make gourmet turkey, ham, and cheese sandwiches for the whole crew. After a much-needed rest, we loaded up the van and headed to our afternoon zip-line session! We soared through immense eucalyptus forests, native and indigenous plants — all while catching spectacular coastal views. Francie and Riley really enjoyed the activity as they raced down each zipline, hoping to cross the finish line before the other. After ziplining Ellie, Christopher, and Lily prepared us a fantastic pasta dinner. Alec, Legare, and Steve lead a great Moonup, and we headed to bed.
Our third day of adventure was kicked off with some morning surfing! We headed to the beach to shred the gnar after devouring a nutritious breakfast. After a lot of funny wipeouts, everyone began to get the hang of surfing. Sallie especially got the hang of it and was looking like a pro! To make the activity even better, the kids also got to see lots of green sea turtles! Following our lunch, we decided to hit the forest and go on a 6.2-mile hike! This forest was absolutely stunning with massive Koa and Redwood trees towering over us like skyscrapers. We played some tunes, took some pictures, and crushed the hike. After returning to camp we played numerous games like frisbee, where Will’s ultimate skills were on display. We finished the night with Riley and Francie leading a powerful Moonup before bed.
The fourth day began very early with some slow rising campers. We munched on some breakfast pastries and got on the road to our morning sea kayak session! We were lucky to have perfect conditions consisting of water visibility up to 40 feet, no waves, and a nice breeze to cool us off. We kayaked about two miles off shore to a large coral reef. At the reef we snorkeled and saw many different types of marine life. We saw an octopus, an array of colorful fish, and even a pod of bottle nose dolphins! All this paddling made us tired, so we decided to park it at a local beach. We had lunch and many of us took some well needed afternoon naps. After charging our batteries at the beach, we decided to play capture the flag at camp. The kids and us played for hours, which finally ended with William scoring the game winning point. It has truly been an awesome last couple of days and we are all so blessed to be your kids leaders!
Mahalo Nui Loa,
Alec, Steve, Legare