June 25, 2019
I cannot put into words how incredible our trip with your children has been. Every moment was truly unforgettable and each and every one of our kids made the trip a time we will never forget. Our time on Long Caye in Belize was the perfect way to end the trip. We had a beautiful island to ourselves to scuba, play soccer, swim, explore and eat amazing food together. Our house we stayed in was right on the beach so each morning we could wake up for breakfast before going to scuba dive and could watch an incredible sunrise as we listen to Adair and Jackson sing “sweet home Alabama”. Our first day on the island we settled in and explored the island for a little and had an incredible lunch. I’ve never seen kids eat so much food! The cooking was by far a favorite part for everyone. After that we had to test our swimming skills and tread water. Ella smoked us all as she showed off her speed during the swimming test. After that we had a great dinner and the boys and Chris played a good game of volleyball before Moonup. The next day we had our first two shallow dives. We split into two groups the “ladles” which was the girls group and then “Emma and the boys” which was all of the boys. We worked hard learning the skills we needed to learn before we did our first dives the next day. Branch and Patrick were naturals in the boys group, they picked up every skill immediately and helped out the rest as we practiced. After our first set of lessons we had some free time before lunch and Emma and Anne Elizabeth enjoyed splashing around in the water! While the group was learning scuba skills Cole and Clay went to a beautiful dock on the back of the island and got to spend some time fishing and caught a massive fish that they gave to the kitchen to cook. While they were fishing they saw a shark and sting rays. Then we went out for our second set of skills and everyone did a great job and finished out the day strong. Before dinner all the girls spent some time on the porch reading and Hunter and Wes couldn’t get enough of their books. The next day we got to practice our skills on some deep dives going 20 and 30 feet. Both groups got to see sharks which was incredible. Faith came out of the water with the biggest smile on her face she was absolutely amazed by the shark. Swimming under the ocean and experiencing some of the most beautiful marine life was a feeling we can’t put into words and the kids couldn’t get enough of it. After our first dive we came back to the island and had the best quesadillas we have ever had. Then after some well deserved rest we headed back out for the second dive. Determined to finish all the skills, both groups did amazing and got to spend most of their time exploring the ocean floor and seeing a whole new environment. After the second dive we headed back and Chris took all the boys fishing off the back dock and Jackson caught another big fish. That night we had another incredible dinner and “the best cake we have ever had.” The next day was by far one of the best days. It started with pancakes, eggs and bacon. Then came the deep dives, and both groups finished their last lessons and headed to explore. We loved seeing everyone’s faces as they got back on the boat. Adair talked out how it was truly the coolest thing he has ever seen or done. The last dive before getting our certification was a favorite of the group. “Emma and the boys” got to see a massive manta ray which Danny couldn’t have been happier about. He jumped on the boat so excited to share his experience with the group. In the girls group, Ava had the incredible experience of swimming underneath a sea turtle as it glides along above her. After we finished diving, we got back on the boat and headed back to the island for our last night together. Everyone had a great day hangout together on the docks and in the hammocks. It was a day well spent. We ended the day with delicious barbecue and had one last Moonup and then surprised the kids with cookies and brownies for banquet. Our last night was filled with so many laughs and smiles and will hopefully be a day they will remember for a long time. The following day as we said our goodbyes at the airport. It was a hard sad goodbye for everyone but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that everyone will stay in contact and remain good friends for the years to come. We couldn’t have wished for a better group of kids. It was truly a trip of a lifetime.
Thanks to everyone who made it possible!
Emma, Chris and Clay
June 23, 2019
We are checking back in after our amazing white water rafting section. We spent two days rafting along beautiful scenery and going down some pretty fun rapids along the way. Adair and Jackson took the lead in Chris’s boat showing off their paddling skills. Emma and Ella had a smile on their faces the whole time as they looked around in amazement at all the beauty. They were always eager to jump into the water every chance they got. Anne Elizabeth kept spirits high in Chris’s boat, and we could hear laughter and giggles spilling out of the boat from all the way down the river. After the first day of rafting we got to spend the night in an incredible location surround by the beautiful Costa Rican jungle. That night we got a mean game of spoons going and Wes did not hesitate to bring out her competitive side as she won the game. Day 2 of rafting did not fall short of our expectations; it was the absolute best! Danny and Patrick loved being in the water, and really enjoyed finishing off rafting trip with a final class 4 rapid. Everyone had a huge smile on their face and excitement in their eyes. Hunter lead that boat down the class 4 rapids showing off her paddling skills. There was not a moment on the rapids on day two that the boats were not hysterically laughing as we raced down the river together. Clay led the group that went by the name of “Branch and the Squirrels.” Ava, Branch, and Cole took turns in the front of this boat seeing how hard they could paddle, meanwhile, Faith kept position in the middle and continued the intensity throughout the trip. We are now on our way to Belize and are super excited to get SCUBA certified and explore all the wonderful things Belize has to offer.
Until next time,
Chris, Clay and Emma
June 17, 2019
All is well over here in Costa Rica as we have just completed our community service section of the trip and will be heading to rafting now. It was truly incredible to see how much the kids leaned from the community we were working in. We were helping a community build a garden to grow food for them which took a lot of hard work but our group never failed to complete the tasks with a smile on their face. Right off the bat, Patrick took charge and showed his leadership skills on the first day of service. Ella and Anne Elizabeth took on the task of sifting dirt and may I say, crushed it. They made it so much fun for all of us. The second day was another hard day of work and Branch, Wes, Danny, and Jackson worked hard at digging a massive boulder from the ground and eventually after all of their hard work, they were able to move it out of the garden. It was a great accomplishment! On the third day some people wanted to play some soccer, so we took a break from working and let Cole and Ava take the field and lead us in a soccer game. They made some great connections. The last day of service was a great one and Emma, Faith, and Hunter did an amazing job of keeping spirits high as we laid the cement down. After service we had a community soccer game with the neighborhood kids and it was a great time! It was amazing to see Adair running around the field with his new friends and engaging in the community. We are all so excited for rafting and for the following activities to come. We are soaking up every minute of this incredible adventure!
June 17, 2019
Happy Father’s Day from your kiddos!
Branch: Merry Father’s Day hope everything is going stupendous at home. Tell moultrie and coal hi!! You’re the best for sending me on this trip. Dad you’re the best sorry I missed Father’s Day much love
Jackson: Happy Father’s Day dad. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I can’t wait to see y’all when I get back home. I’m having really fun in Costa Rica, and I can’t wait to tell all of y’all about it.
Ava: YO!!! Happy Father’s Day pop!!! Having a pretty groovy time here and I miss u lots lil man:) tell everyone I miss them and scratch Holly’s ears for me. The world thanks u for ur service as a father to the greatest grift to mankind(me). Also happy anniversary tomorrow love y’all to the moon and back.
Adair: I am having a great time with everyone It is a fun experience all this amazing things I made new friends and I like all the counselors Happy Father’s Day
Hunter: having so much fun here in Costa Rica! Happy Father’s Day dad and I wish i could be there with y’all. I can’t wait to see you mom Millie and mags
Emma: Hi Mom, Dad, and Benton! Thank y’all for sending me on this trip, it is so much fun. Happy Father’s Day! I love y’all!
Faith: Hey mom and dad I am having an awesome time here and I hope y’all are doing good. Sorry I missed Father’s Day again but hope you have a great day. I love y’all!
Wes: Hey family miss y’all. I’m having a great time in Costa Rica and I actually made friends. Also happy Father’s Day dad!! I miss you so much and I hope you got my present. I love you so so much and give my pups a kiss for me.
Danny: Happy Father’s Day dad. I miss u and the fam so much. I know you’re having an awesome time in Aspen(I think). Costa Rica has been so much fun. I have a newly found phobia:bugs… lol. Tell everyone I love them and happy Father’s Day to my rock.
Cole: Happy Father’s Day dad. Miss you and the fam so much. I’m having an amazing time in Costa Rica, we just finished community service which was an awesome experience. Hope you guys had a good time in California. Thank you for sending me on this so far amazing trip. Happy Father’s Day dad ur a true role model, say hi to mom and Winnie for me. Love you, Cole
Patrick: Happy Father’s Day! I miss y’all and can’t wait to be in Europe. I am having so much fun and just finished my community service. You are the most amazing dad ever and do so much for me. I love you. Say hi to mom and Thomas
Anne: Sup brad, hope you are having a great Father’s Day! I am having a great time, tell Allison that I miss her too. Can’t wait to see y’all and hb on the 24th! Hope y’all had a great, stress free vacation for a few days! Love y’all!
Ella: Hey guys! I am having an incredible time but miss you all so very much! We just finished community service and have a few days left in Costa Rica… then on to Belize! Happy Father’s Day to the best father in the world, I miss you sooo much and can’t wait to give you a big hug when I get back! I hope mom and cole are treating you well today! Anyways love you guys so much please give cole and Chesi big hugs for me! 🙂
June 14, 2019
Hola Belize + Costa Rica families!
We have just finished day three of our amazing adventure and it couldn’t have gone better. Our group clicked from the beginning and have been inseparable ever sense. We have spent the last two days surfing and zip lining, and just got started on our community service. Right from the start Hunter and Jackson were balls of energy that put a smile on everyone’s face. We went into our first activity of zip lining very excited, and Wesley did an amazing job of conquering her fears and ended up having an amazing time. Branch loved the monkey zip line and getting to zip upside down over the beautiful Costa Rican rain forest. Adair and Anne Elizabeth put in a lot of hard work that morning and ended up surfing some amazing waves later that day. Patrick and Ella were pros and showed us all their amazing skills as they caught countless waves over the past few days. It was amazing to see how much fun the group was having as the day went on.
After we finished surfing, we played some pick-up beach soccer and Cole showed off his amazing soccer skills, schooling us all. Ava had such a great attitude as we went into community service, and did an incredible job working on our first projects with the community. Faith and Emma put in a tremendous amount of hard work, and had a smile on their face the whole time. As we have ended day three of our trip, Danny has been a constant bundle of laughter and excitement, bringing so much energy to everything we have done. We have had an amazing time together and can’t wait to experience so much more of Costa Rica’s beauty over the next few days.
Chris, Emma, and Clay
June 11, 2019
Hola Belize + Costa Rica Families!
All students have landed safely in San Jose, and the group is headed to their hotel for the night. The trip is off to a fantastic start and we cannot wait to share more stories from their adventure!
– Moondance HQ