July 25, 2018
What a wild, crazy (and safe ;)) ride it’s been. Since our last update, we’ve been helping out Imua Family services. Imua is a local nonprofit that helps over 300 families in Maui county; specializing in helping children with disabilities. Imua has done a fantastic job bringing together families and providing them the ability to create and operate a successful home environment. Over the last two days, our Ohana has helped clean, organize, and prepare the Imua preschool for the next school year. During our time at Imua, Will and Emmaline far exceeded expectations, and scrubbed, cleaned, and reorganized all of the classroom’s messy cabinets. Moreover, Emma and Tommy had the opportunity to work with a child with autism. While playing this boy, Emma and Tommy were able to make a new friend and help provide a unique learning environment. Finally, Jack, Landon, and George were in charge of the guinea pigs- yes, guinea pigs. We all enjoyed caring for these little guys as Clay and our fearless leader, Stove (Steve), cleaned out their cages. After an eventful few days of service, we all were off to enjoy one of our last evenings together on a beautiful, black sand beach where we took in the surrounding sunset views accompanied by sounds of waves crashing – a scene I think we all will miss.
This trip has been an absolute treat; these kids have made the past two weeks some of the most memorable of the summer. As Saya and Mary Kate led our last Moonup, us leaders could not help but reflect on how incredible our summer has been. Moreover, when our LODs asked the question, “What is one characteristic you wish to improve on and why,” we knew we had gotten lucky. From Hayes’s answer on patience to Eleanor’s answers on living in the moment, I think we all learned a lot that night. As we ended our Moonup shouting something we were grateful for, we all laid back silently, and stared up at the stars. I’m so sad to see our ohana split up, but I can’t wait to see how these kids continue to excel from Maui to back home. Thanks for an incredible summer!
Aloha and all the best,
Alden, Steve, and Taylor
July 23, 2018
Reporting to you from the beautiful island of Maui! When we last left off, our team had just finished a wild surfin’ safari that brought unforgettable memories. Since then we’ve experienced wind surfing, sea kayaking and our first day of community service.
Maui, one of the top windsurfing destinations in the world, provided prime time conditions that had folks cruising like champions. A long time instructor commended George’s persistence when his hard work paid off, executing the perfect jibe and tack maneuvers. Hayes’s natural athleticism had her cruising in no time, leaving her peers in awe! When we got back to camp, Mary Kate and Will prepared a chicken curry dish, a local camp favorite, that would leave Gordon Ramsey himself salivating.
The next day we took to the open ocean via sea kayak, a popular exploration vehicle. The calm water provided excellent snorkel conditions in our favorite spot, “Turtle Bay”. Keeping true to its name, Landon and Emmaline got up close and personal with two turtles, swimming with them along one of Maui’s many radiant reefs. As they dove deeper into the reef cove, Jack and Clay discovered an octopus as well as a Spotted Ray- what a treat!
Our first day of community service provided us some insight on just how harmful plastic is to our environment. As we picked up minuscule bits of plastic scattered along the shore, Saya noted how the pieces blended with the sand, so we needed to keep our eyes peeled! Emma acknowledged that no matter how small, everyone’s help is important, and together we can rid our waste from the beaches. That evening we ventured up 10,000’ to the summit of Haleakalā- one of our favorite parts of the trips. As we breached cloud cover, Tommy gazed over the island, noting the beauty from this uncommon vantage point. Eleanor’s favorite part was the cotton candy colored clouds that revealed themselves as the fleeting daylight slipped away.
As we begin to wind down the trip, we repeatedly affirm how lucky we are to be in this beautiful place, able to share this experience with incredible people.
Until next time, Aloha!
Steve, Alden, Taylor
July 21, 2018
We simply cannot believe that our trip is past the half way mark. What an incredible time we’ve had all together exploring the beautiful island of Maui. Since our last update from the field, we’ve surfed the majestic waves of the island (two separate times) and traveled by boat out to Molokini crater to snorkel the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
On Tuesday, our LODs Clay and Saya woke the crew up early in order to get on the water for our first day of surfing. We were some of the first ones on the water to surf the rolling waves on the southwest side of the island. Hayes and George were two of the first to hop right up on their boards like pros. The rest of the group also absolutely crushed surfing and were able to spot some incredible turtles riding the waves beneath their boards. Landon and Emma were constantly found balancing on their boards while trying to capture the moment on their GoPros. After a tiring morning of surfing, we headed to Lahaina to explore one of the coolest towns on the west side of the island.
On Wednesday, we woke up at the crack of dawn to meet our guides who would be taking us out by boat to Molokini crater. This partially submerged, crescent shaped volcanic crater has some of the most amazing snorkeling with visibility up to 150 feet down to the big blue. Our group not only saw but swam amongst countless Parrot fish, Trigger fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and many more beautiful animals throughout the day. Although MK originally struggled with seasickness, she persevered and embraced the morning on the water snorkeling amongst the majestic creatures. Emmaline, Will, Tommy and Eleanor, to name a few, made a point to get into the water at every different snorkel spot, fully embracing the opportunity at hand. At one of our last snorkel spots of the day, Jack was the first to spot an unbelievable huge Hawaiian green sea turtle that we were all able to float above and follow for a few minutes. After our long and eventful morning on the Pacific, we headed to a beach to relax in the sun and enjoy the sand.
On Thursday, we rose early in the morning for our second day of surfing- feeling like true pros before we even began! The waves were much bigger this time but we were all up for the challenge. After a few hours on the water surfing, we headed back on shore and drove to a beautiful and scenic hike along the coast.
From hiking, to surfing, to snorkeling the depths of the ocean, we’ve enjoyed every moment so far and cannot wait for the next few days with this amazing group. We’ll be back in touch soon with another update from the field!
All the best,
Steve, Taylor and Alden
July 17, 2018
Aloha! What an exciting few days it’s been with our new ohana. These past few days have been busy; although airport day wasn’t as exciting as the rest, these kids immediately connected, embraced the waiting time, and celebrated with a pizza night before beginning their first full day as a team.
Day 2 began with a bang; with zip-lining through the Makawao forest in the morning and tackling a 6-mile hike in the afternoon, these kids were in for an exhausting but exciting day. Beginning with zip-lining, our ohana quickly learned the techniques to soar through the sky and race one another. Tommy and Clay especially loved the competition, as us leaders soon found ourselves with some worthy opponents. After a great first activity, we headed to a shaded and relaxing hike through another part of the Makawao forest. We especially loved this hike, as it provided our ohana an opportunity to grow closer and get to know one another. Saya and Mac (MK) took on the hike like champs and excelled in getting to know the group and appreciating the views around. Once we finished the hike, our team headed home for a night of fajitas and stargazing. After a successful first full day together, everyone was ready for the following day of waterfall rappelling!
Waking up to the voices of our first LODs (Leaders of the Day) Hayes and George, everyone rose ready to take on some beautiful waterfalls! Early in the morning, we stopped for a nice beach day and a preview of snorkeling. Squiggs (Emmaline) and Will were lucky enough the see our first group of sea turtles! Finding two baby turtles with its mother, we could not have started the day off better. Later, after a beautiful ride on the Hana Highway, we arrived to a beautiful overlook eager to traverse some waterfalls. Despite some fear of heights, our ohana conquered all three waterfalls. Emma and Landon, especially nervous at first, were some of our best climbers and quickly descended 60-foot cliffs. After an exciting few hours, we came back home for a fun basketball game while cook crew Jack, Hayes, George, and Clay cut fresh veggies and whipped up a beautiful stir fry! After a good dinner and great Moonup, we were ready to take on the next day’s activity: SUPing (stand up paddle boarding)!
Today we had the privilege of cruising along the beautiful Makena Beach while SUPing. The water surrounding the beach boasts clear, bright blue water rife with diverse sea life; as we paddled around, we were able to spot the gorgeous coral below along with a sea turtle or two! To Elle’s (Eleanor) relief, the water was shark free and was able to conquer her fears of the ocean and join in on all the fun (big nugs to her!). Later in the day, we departed for a beautiful hike outside of Lahaina; despite the shorter hike, the views of deep greens and dark blues did not leave anyone disappointed. Truly, what an incredible past few days we’ve had. This group has come together so quickly, and we are all eager to see what the next week and a half have in store for us. Lots of love from the ohana!
Mahalo and aloha,
Taylor, Steve, and Alden
July 14, 2018
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.