Field Notes

Maui 3A • July 13-July 26, 2018

A Final Aloha!

July 26, 2018

Aloha friends and family!

There is a lot to fill you in on since you heard from us last! After finishing our service with Imua Family Services and Maui Conservation, we entered into the jungles of Maui, famously known for their prehistoric landscape in the Jurassic Park films.  Surrounded by canyons of lush ferns and exotic flower, the group strapped up their harnesses and buckled their helmets, preparing for a day of rappelling down sixty-foot waterfalls.  With eager anticipation, Redmond and Cate led the group, as Leaders of Day (LODs), up through some of the most breathtaking views, as a light tropical mist filled the air.  Reaching the top, there was no more denial about what we were about to do, as we looked over the cliff’s edge and tamed the butterflies in our stomachs.  One by one everyone took the step of courage and became perpendicular with the canyon walls.   After the first step, nerves almost immediately diminished for everyone as the distractions of awe and wonder in the moment’s surroundings took over. By the end of the day we were all rappelling experts, with three total descents and two waterfall baths under our belts.

After our time with Rappel Maui, we packed into the van and celebrated our days adventure by breaking the monotony of camp dinners and treating ourselves to a surprise stop at McDonalds! But we rushed through and took our food to go in order to catch one of the most incredible sights Maui has to offer.  While enjoying our dinner we climbed over ten thousand feet up the inactive volcano Haleakala to enjoy a sunset that is unmatched.  Clouds painted vibrant shades of orange, pink, and purple left us speechless with a view that words cannot truly describe. Then when we thought it could not get any better, the sun fully set, and the stars and moon took the stage. Let’s just say, we now understand why it is ranked number four in the world for astrological viewing.

A great night sleep tied up our night’s volcanic adventures with the next morning where we enjoyed a breakfast of Mega Pancakes, decorated with M&Ms, prepared with the help of the day’s LOD Brookie. The morning carbs were crucial for the day’s Windsurfing lessons.  The group headed to the North shore where the trade winds notoriously blow through the island’s valley isthmus.  With a quick lesson, everyone hopped on his or her board to give it a try.  Almost immediately, Holcomb and Alex looked like pros.  Maneuvering the sails back and forth they conquered the ocean waves and winds setting an example that all the others quickly followed.  Lucy also had the time of her life, with a smile ear to ear the entire time! Afterwards, we made our way to the local town Paia for some shopping and island exploring, before heading back to camp for the evening.

The next morning, we all awoke early to fully embrace our last full day.  Embracing every minute, we had left together we spent the day laughing, reminiscing, and exploring the coral reef bays on stand up paddleboards.  With an audience of sea turtles and snorkelers we held the annual Moondance duos paddle board race that Anna-Leigh and Brookie won by a photo finish against Kate and Robby.

That night the LODs, George and Sam, team captained two teams in a heated iron chef competition, bringing out the finest culinary skills in everyone.  With score categories including taste, presentation, creativity, team name, and hospitality, a full five-star campsite restaurant was formed.  Competition included surprise mystery items of beets and sprinkles that were no obstacle for either team, and three course meals consisting of fiesta nachos, Chicken Ramen Mac N’ Cheese, Greek salad and more.  Even more spectacular than the food was the service, with August leading the charge, winning the overall MVP award for the evening.  To cap off the perfect last camp dinner, we enjoyed a night of dancing with tunes provided by DJ Kenan.  Dance moves continued until the moon was high in the sky and the setting was just right for our final Moonup.  Our newly formed family gathered round in the middle of our moonlit field and shared our favorite stories, memories, take-aways, and words of encouragement from our adventure of a lifetime.  Conversations lasted late into the night, and full advantage was taken of our quickly fading time together.

Now, as we say goodbye at the Kahului Airport the crew take in final their breathtaking views that only this island has to offer.  The realization that today we have to say our goodbyes to our newly formed family makes for some heavy hearts, however Kate, Legare, and I are overwhelmed with joy and anticipation to see what the future holds for all eleven of the incredible young men and women.  Each of them is so incredibly special and full of potential and the world better get ready. We hope that the experiences and lessons gained in this heaven on earth stay close to the hearts of each of them for a lifetime.  Thank you so much for blessing us with your each of them and allowing them to join us on this adventure.  The impact they have had on our lives and those of the communities in Maui are unable to fully be expressed in words, and we hope that their impact has been reciprocated by us. I hope you are all ready for some amazing stories as everyone returns home, and as I close would like to leave you all with one of my favorite quotes from the film “35” by Arc’Teryx.

“After all these years, I refuse to believe that joy costs something, or that you have to get on a plane to find it, or that it has to happen on vacation, and that dreams can’t come true on a Tuesday.”

Thanks again and Aloha,

Robby, Legare, and Kate


Meaningful Community Service in Maui!

July 22, 2018

Aloha friends and family! Legare and Robby and I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of our trip here on Maui. We have been busy working with our community service partner over the past three days, also making sure to spend some time exploring in the afternoons. We took advantage of these days to get to know the community that we are living in and the culture of the island.

 

Our first day of service took us to Imua Family Services, a nonprofit organization that has been helping families in Maui county “move forward” for 72 years. Imua helps families who are facing challenges with their children’s development, behavior, or disability. The professionals at Imua provide services for young children from infants to age six. Lucky for us, we were able to spend time with Imua’s preschool class on their last day before their graduation into kindergarten!

 

We had several tasks our first day at Imua. George and Lucy put their artistic skills to work and made a poster with photos of the preschoolers throughout the summer to be displayed at the graduation party that evening. Legare, August, and Anna-Leigh blew up lots of balloons for the celebration as well! I walked around to the playground to find Cate and Kenan soaking wet and playing with about 20 four year olds. We were happy to be included in their last day of school and see them off before they start kindergarten next month.

 

In the afternoon we headed over to Black Rock and jumped off a big cliff! The water was perfectly clear and the tide was high when we all lined up to take our turn plunging down twenty feet. Redmond overcame his apprehension about the height and jumped off twice! Holcomb was ready to jump from the get go and took full advantage of our time here and rapidly jumped three times, obviously doing it with style every time.

 

Our next day of service at Imua showed us the other side of working with children — cleaning up the mess they often make! We quickly learned the Hawaiian phrase “laulima”, which means many hands make light work. We took every toy from the most used playroom in the building and hand cleaned each one, a two hour task that knocked out what would have been a whole day of work for one person. Alex, Brookie and Sam went to town cleaning the tables and chairs in the therapy room.

 

On our third and final day of service we volunteered with Maui Cultural Lands and travelled up into the Honokowai Valley to help remove invasive species taking over in this special archeological site. We hiked down into this valley in the West Maui Mountains and spent the morning removing an invasive grass from the area so that the native plants can have a better chance at thriving in this important cultural space. We learned about ancient native plants, like taro, a food source that has been a staple in the Hawaiian diet for centuries. We all learned so much about the history and plants of this place and gained a greater appreciation for this sweet little island!

 

Can’t believe that we only have four days left here with these incredible kids! Here are some messages they wanted to send back home:

 

Brookie: hey Family, I’m having fun and miss you

 

Kenan: hey Family, I am having so much fun in Maui right now. I love and miss you guys and can’t wait to see y’all

 

Sam: Hey fam! Miss you and I’m having so much fun see you soon and tell everyone hi

 

Anna-Leigh: Hi Family, I’m having so much fun, but can’t wait to see y’all

 

Cate: Hey fam jam! Miss y’all and love y’all say hi to the kitties for me, but not Benj. See y’all soon

 

Lucy: Sup fam. Having tons of fun in Maui. Tell Kathryn I said I miss her and love her. Miss y’all too, love y’all. See you soon

 

Alex: Hey family, I’m enjoying Maui and having loads of fun, I miss you guys and will see you very soon

 

George: Aloha Ohana, Moondance has been lit! Also, boss. Can’t wait to see you and the dogs. I have a lot of stories to tell.

 

Holcomb: Hi family it Holcomb. Maui is fun, see you on the flippity flop

 

August: Hi Mom and Dad and Ellet. My time hither has been a vast array of swellness. Thanks for this magnificent opportunity.

 

Redmond: Aloha Ohana, I’m having a great time, Moondance is so fun! I can’t wait to see y’all, I miss you!

 

 


Surfs up!

July 19, 2018

Aloha family and friends!

 

Our Ohana (Hawaiian for family) has been busy experiencing everything Maui has to offer since we last checked in! We started off getting to shred some “tasty waves” first thing in the morning. George was pumped to show us his surfing skills and our awesome guides helped him improve them. Shakas were flying everywhere as our students were standing up and catching waves on their own. Lucy and Cate decided to test the waters by tandem riding one board. After a couple practice rounds they got up and were showing off dance moves for us while surfing a wave together. It was so impressive, especially when they did the wave with their arms and didn’t fall off. Holcomb and Redmond used our time surfing as an opportunity to learn how to catch some bigger waves on their own. Once they got the hang of it they headed out to deeper waters and caught some swells at their peak. It was gnarly!

 

After our surf lesson we headed to a nearby beach to have a lunch picnic and enjoy the day. Man, oh man was it perfect! It was not windy at all and we had a pristine section of beach to ourselves with both shade and sun. We ate and swam and played for hours. Our favorite thing we did was everyone starting at the same spot looking out onto the horizon of the water and sprinting as fast as we could into the ocean. Splashing and running over the waves until we ultimately all fell in the water, usually face planting. It was quite a sight for anyone else to see but a good time for us! Once we were done soaking up the sun for the day we headed into town to get a nice ice cream treat! August’s eyes lit up when he saw that they had a Hawaiian Punch flavored shaved ice. Naturally he treated himself to one that was bigger than his head!

 

The next day we headed out to the Molokini Crater for our snorkeling tour! An early, early morning wake up brought with it calm waters and clear skies. Our first dive spot had views of many types of fish, eels, octopi and even one reef shark. We were shocked and felt so lucky to have seen all of these sea creatures at the first spot in our adventure. At our next spot we were able to swim with some Hawaiian green sea turtles. Kenan was able to get up close to one turtle and take some sick pictures. After our fun day out on the water and eating a great spread of food, we headed to another beach to hang out for the afternoon. The winds ended up picking up a bit and the waves got a lot bigger than yesterday. Instead of this being a hindrance to our fun we took advantage of this great opportunity. The boys stood with their arms interlocked and tried to brace themselves for the waves. Wipeouts were hilarious, and the rest of the group played “over or under”, calling if they would swim under or over a wave right in the knick of time. That night Anna-Leigh told us at Moonup that if she could be any animal that she would be a dolphin and after seeing her in the water snorkeling we can totally see how this would be true.

 

This morning we got up and headed to our second day of surfing! We were excited to show off our skills and to challenge ourselves to further improve. Sam and Brookie took their turn this time at tandem surfing. All our kids were getting up on their boards quicker and able to steer on their own. It was so cool to see how well they were doing, we felt like proud parents. Once our time surfing sadly came to an end we made our way to a black sand beach to enjoy the views. Then we went over to the town Lahaina to get some lunch, souvenirs and shop around. George, Brookie and Sam all got matching Hawaiian shirts. Alex got an eno hammock made right here in Hawaii so that he could relax in the sun back at camp. That’s all for now! We are headed to our next adventure, talk to you soon!

 

Legare, Robby, Kate


Aloha from Maui!

July 16, 2018

Family and friends! What an adventure it has been so far. Our first leg of the trip included an abundance of Hawaii’s highlights. From swimming in the Pacific to ziplining through the forest, we have already experienced so much together. We started our trip at the Kahului airport where Legare and Kate greeted eleven weary travelers. The drive to our campsite was BEAUTIFUL. Driving west we were faced with an awesome sunset that served as a good omen for this trip. Being the first to arrive at the airport, Redmond showed us an amazing playlist that narrated our drive home. “Surfing USA” was perfect as we passed some evening wave riders in the water alongside the road. The whole group was jamming out and soaking in all the views along the way.

We got to our home for the next two weeks and our third leader, Robby, arrived and our new Ohana embraced him quite literally with open arms. We all got a well deserved and much needed good night’s sleep, but we were up and at ‘em in the morning enjoying some banana pancakes. After breakfast we headed to the beach where we had our first encounter with a Hawaiian Green sea turtle! August and Kenan were surprised by how big he was and after we watched him return to the sea, we also took some time to enjoy the salt water and sunshine.

In the afternoon we headed up-country to zipline along the edge of the rain forest and take in some of the most breathtaking views of both land and sea. We had many wages set on who would be the fastest down the line and Cate took the gold more often than not. You would have thought that Alex, August, and Holcomb had known each other forever with the amount of inside jokes they had and the level of comfort with one another after having just met the day before. We headed back to camp and our first cook crew, Brookie and Kenan, made some awesome quesadillas for the whole gang.

This morning we rose with the sun and made our way to the South shore to sea kayak and snorkel. Our first Leaders of the Day, Lucy and George, carried us through the day with reminders to drink water and wear sunscreen. Anna Leigh was one of the first in the group to free dive down and swim through the reef arch in “turtle town”. Here we saw two turtles on the ocean floor getting their shells cleaned by the fish hanging around the reef. On our afternoon hike we saw the strength of the wind and waves crashing against the rock of Maui’s most recent lava flow in La Perouse Bay. In the evening we returned to camp and Sam helped in the kitchen to prepare a tasty stir fry to replenish us after a long day of activities. After our first student led Moonup, it was off to bed!

That’s all from the field for now, aloha!


All is Well in Maui

July 14, 2018

Aloha Families!

We heard from our leaders, and the trip is off to a great start! Stay tuned for more updates from the leaders over the next few days.

  • Moondance HQ

Students

  • George
  • Brookie
  • Kenan
  • Alex
  • Holcomb
  • August
  • Sam
  • Redmond
  • Anna-Leigh
  • Catherine
  • Lucy

Staff