Trip Updates

California 2A • June 29-July 12, 2019

Final Farewell on the Coast!

July 12, 2019

Hello from California!

It is with a sad but content heart that we write our final trip update for this Moondance trip. We have loved every second of being with these fantastic kiddos! Our last few nights together were especially lively and exciting, and we are all leaving full of incredible memories!

Upon arriving at our last campsite after hiking the Golden Gate Bridge, we all cheered at the beautiful sun setting upon Half Moon Bay Beach. This campsite is special to our group as it is the same campsite where we spent our first night. It is where it all began! We started the evening with a classic Moondance game of Iron Chef! Everyone broke out into teams, and we gave them each several ingredients to make a three-course meal on their own! Ann made us an especially delicious appetizer: bell peppers stuffed with quinoa and chicken topped with a special spicy sauce! Louisa and Kennedy also made a delightful desert of crepes stuffed to the brim with fried Oreos! The night ended with full bellies and lots of laughter. After Iron Chef, Thomas narrated a game of mafia on the beach! He had us all giggling with goofy stories and perfect narration of the game. Our second to last night left us all smiling and exhausted; it was not hard to go to sleep, especially since we were all eager and excited for surfing the next day!

When we arrived at Pacifica for surfing, everyone was astounded at the size of the waves! The water was much rowdier than when we had surfed before! After receiving a lesson on how to surf the larger waves by our guides, everyone braved the water and made their way out to the “line up” (where the surfers sit in the water to catch a gnarly wave). Ann, Reece, and Conner quickly blew all of us out of the water (literally) as they caught wave after wave. They were surfing naturals! Britain, John, and Ned also caught some waves from the line up, and it was clear that they were having blast! The sun finally came out as Thomas was catching his first wave; he put a big smile on his face as he rode it all the way into the beach! Lilly and Natalya led the group in body surfing closer to the shore, and Grace and Kennedy made large sandcastles on the beach. Their castles were filled with piles of dirt and large bridges with tunnels — definitely fit for a queen!

After surfing, we spent the day packing and cleaning up camp. We turned this into a game of duffle shuffle in order to make the experience a little more enjoyable for all! After cleaning, we all dressed up in our thrift-store-bought, extravagantly goofy outfits and hit the town for banquet! We ate food from a quaint Mexican restaurant in Half Moon Bay, and then we finished the night with delicious frozen yogurt! Grace, Britain, and Ann ordered burritos larger than their faces, and Ned and John stuffed their face with frozen yogurt with delicious toppings! Everyone ate well and left happy; it was a perfectly delicious way to end the evening!

Our final night ended with a walk on the beach, led by John and Ned! We all finished our last MoonUp as leaders of the day, Natalya and Louisa, led us in singing our favorite song together. It was a bittersweet evening; we were sad because the trip was coming to an end and also so thankful because of everything that the trip has been.

Thank you so incredibly much for sharing your children with us on this fantastic adventure. We couldn’t have asked for a better group, and we will miss all of them so dearly! With everyone on their flights and headed home, we are grateful for everything this trip has been!

Bittersweetly,

Thomas, Kristin, and May May


Fun in the Sun!

July 11, 2019

Hello there from California!

What an eventful past few days we have had! Before we arrived to our campsite, we surprised the group with a trip to the famous and equally delicious In-N-Out!! Afterwards, with full bellies, we hopped in the van for some more tunes and laughter. Since we arrived at our campsite in the evening, it seemed most logical AND most fun to all sleep on the giant tarp. Although, some of the group was hesitant, Grace and Kennedy’s enthusiasm motivated everyone to join and have one big group slumber party on the tarp. We all noted how incredible it is to fall asleep under a blanket of stars!

We slept in and had a leisurely morning as we had a relaxed day of exploring ahead of us. We ate a hearty breakfast of biscuits, bacon, and eggs. We got ready for the day and had a short drive to a beautiful walk to an even more stunning beach. Although, it was a bit overcast, the group’s spirit remained positive. Connor and Reece got the group together to go and explore a whale carcass named Rob! It was fascinating! John thought that it would be fun to run into the waves, and of course, as his excitement is contagious, a few of us joined, as well. Ned, Grace, and Britain were among the brave souls to run into the chilly ocean along John. Plus, thanks to Ann and her amazing photography skills, we got some great shots of everyone running into the water.

We dried off, ate lunch, packed up and headed back for a town visit and surprise ice cream stop in the lovely town. Thomas was so excited about his Cookies & Cream ice cream; he even got a whole pint! Next door, there was a candy/toy store, where many of us bought yummy treats and fun knickknacks. Not until we got back to our campsite did we find out that some of the group had bought silly string, which they used to start a WILD and silly string war that later turned into a water gun fight. Louisa took charge, getting all of us soaked! Afterwards, we had an eventful and delicious meal of hibachi! That night we all slept soundly under the stars for the second night.

We awoke for another leisurely morning with an exciting day ahead of us! However, today was particularly special because it was our own Lilly’s 13th birthday! We celebrated with a spectacular breakfast of cinnamon rolls made from scratch by Kristin, which were, of course, made with love, too. We also had a giant muffin cake for Lilly with a 13 candle that she blew out while making a wish as we all sang Happy Birthday. May May initiated a food fight when she smushed blue frosting all over Lilly’s face. But, don’t worry, soon, Lilly, John and Ned got May May back! Everyone got cleaned up after such an eventful breakfast and then we were off to see the Golden Gate Bridge!

We were fortunate to have a clear and sunny day for our trek on the bridge, although it was still windy. We all enjoyed the marvelous views of the city by the bay while on the bridge and were in complete awe of the bridge, itself. Natalya was fearless about the height of the bridge and walked across it like a champ as we all followed. Afterwards, we had the best time learning about how the bridge got built; Ned and John were particularly fascinated. Reece and Connor both bought books about what they had just seen. We were wall intrigued.

We walked back to the van for a ride full of singalongs until we arrived at our next stop: a thrift shop! Everyone bought the silliest outfits they could find for our final banquet coming soon. We can’t wait to see everyone’s final looks but are definitely not ready for the trip to be coming to a close. How time flies!

Peace & love,

Kristin, May May, & Thomas


American River FUN!

July 9, 2019

Hello there from California!!

On Saturday, we arrived at Camp Lotus full of excitement for the beautiful campsite!! We started off our experience there by serving a delicious ice cream bar, with lots of sugar rushes and laughs to follow! After our appetizer of ice cream, Natalya and Louisa graciously cooked us pasta for dinner. Still full of sugar, we all had a fun and energetic evening and Moonup. After Moonup, John led a team in sleeping outside, and a handful of people followed. It was a beautiful night sleeping under the stars while Reece enlightened the group on information about space!!

The next day, we began our day with some amazing pancakes and toppings! With our bellies full, we were ready to tackle our first day of rafting! Our guides, Mason and Sophie, blended in well with the group right off the bat, so we knew it was going to be an incredible two days. First thing first, we named our two boats, The Jets and Phyllis. Immediately we began splashing each other and shooting each other with water guns, hardly paying attention to the river and rapids. We had calmer water at the beginning of our trip, so everyone jumped in the water to swim when possible. Conner even led the charge in swimming a small rapid! After lunch, we faced some bigger rapids, and everyone did amazing! Almost everyone got off of the river saying that rafting was their favorite activity. After rafting, the group had a great time playing Blazo, especially Britain and Lilly who played for a long time! Ned also led a group in running through the sprinklers in a neighboring campsite. He then proceeded to hug the rest of the group to get everyone wet!! We ended our awesome first day of rafting with a delicious meal of steak, chicken, and pasta made by our beloved raft guides! Lastly, we had a heartfelt Moonup followed by our favorite exercise of Sally Ups, led by Ann!! Again, many of us slept under the stars, but everyone went to bed with smiles for the next day of rafting to come.

Today, we had our second day of rafting. We were all eager to get out on the river and tackle some bigger rapids. We started the day off with just that — everyone getting splashed in the rapids! Towards the end of the day, the river was calmer, so we were able to have splash wars and push one another in the water. Thomas was even able to steer the raft for a rapid; he is a natural raft guide! As we finished our second day of rafting, we sadly said goodbye to the river and our guides while we piled in the van for the drive to Point Reyes. The car was nothing short of loud with everyone singing, led by Grace and Kennedy’s consistent request of “Before He Cheats,” by Carrie Underwood!

We are full of smiles and happiness here in California, with an incredible last couple of days!! We have a surprise In-N-Out stop for dinner, and we look forward to all the fun to come in the next few days!!

Peace & Blessings,

May May, Thomas, and Kristin


Incredible Fourth of July in Yosemite!

July 7, 2019

Hello from Yosemite!

The past few days have been a fantastic mix of excitement, patriotism, and adventure! Yosemite has been nothing short of incredible! As we drove into our campsite from Tahoe, we already knew it was going to be an amazing experience. Our campsite was on the beautiful June Lake which sits on the backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Just like Tahoe, this lake combines the sunshine of a lakeside beach with the majesty of towering ski mountains. Needless to say, upon arriving, we were in awe!

When we first arrived, Britain and John led the charge as they sprinted out into the chilly lake for a bit of a polar plunge. Their enthusiasm encouraged many more of us to dive in, and the evening turned into a great big beach party on the shores of June Lake! The next day, we slept in (for some well-deserved rest), and we began the day with a delicious waffle bar! It was a fantastic way to start the day! From here, we drove into the North side of Yosemite National Park where we hiked the pristine Dog Lake Trail. Our Leaders of the Day (LODs), Britain and Connor, led the hike and set an enjoyable pace for the experience. At the top of the hike, we ran into a beautiful lake surrounded by piles of snow. Naturally, Ned and John decided to start a snowball fight. Louisa, filled with a competitive drive, joined in on the fun. All three of them pulled us into a ruthless snowball fight. Sides were taken, clothes were soaked, and everyone was laughing!

After finishing the hike, we made our way back to our campsite where we spent the greater part of the afternoon on the shoreline of June Lake. Everyone enjoyed a nice dip in the lake as the sun had made us all quite hot. Kennedy and Grace led a tanning session for those that wanted to soak up the sun (sunscreen was worn, of course)! Thomas and Reece thoroughly enjoyed throwing the frisbee in the sand, and Britain and Lilly learned a brand new frisbee throw, which they tried out many times before the evening was over. We ended our beach time with games of Spikeball and Monkey in the Middle. John found himself in the middle often, but he always managed to make everyone smile with his eagerness to chase after the ball! We went to bed with full bellies and happy hearts, and everyone was ready to wake up the next day for some climbing!

The next morning was filled with patriotism as we woke up to May May’s patriotic playlist blaring our favorite Fourth of July tunes! We all got in our festive, patriotic clothes and got in the spirit to celebrate America! As we showed up to Yosemite in our ridiculously goofy outfits, everyone was eager to begin rock climbing! The outfitters taught us some techniques and showed us how to scurry up a rock face. Connor and Reece quickly caught on and managed to scale every wall offered! Natalya and Louisa conquered much fear as they pushed through some of the harder routes and courageously made their way to the top! We are so proud! After everyone got to climb for a while, we left Yosemite and drove to the nearest ice cream shop where we all sipped on deliciously refreshing milkshakes! That night, we finished the day with a big party to celebrate our beautiful U.S.A! We played football, soccer, and frisbee. Ned, Lilly, and Reece started a water fight with water guns, pots, and pans. Louisa and Connor got into it, and all of them ended soaking wet before dinner even began! We stuffed our bellies with burgers and potato chips, and then we sat around the campfire roasting marshmallows! John managed to tackle multiple s’mores, and everyone went to sleep with happy hearts and full bellies.

The next day, we woke up and drove back into Yosemite for more climbing! Ann managed to astound us with her quick ability to climb up the wall. She also helped and encouraged many friends on the wall. She was an incredible climber! After we finished these new routes that overlooked the stunning Tuolumne Meadows, we found a nearby lake in Yosemite and the afternoon turned into a swimming party (yet again)! Thomas sprinted into the water and would not get out as he was having such an incredible time! Reece and Ned worked on their football passes on the beach, and Ann courageously dunked her head in the icy water! Needless to say, Yosemite was a blast! Our LODs for this beautiful day, Louisa and Natalya, ended the night with organized meditative breathing, which calmed all of us down, getting us ready for a full night of sleep. The leaders were grateful for this touch!

Now we are making our way into Yosemite Valley to see El Capitan and Half Dome – Yosemite staples! From here, we will drive to the American River where we will white water raft for the next few days! This trip has been so incredible and so much fun! Thank you for sending us your wonderful children; we love them all so much!

With full bellies and patriotic hearts,

Thomas, Kristin, and May May

SHOUTOUTS:

Lilly – Thank you for sending me on this trip! I hope the farm is fun! Miss you & love you!

John – Hi Mom & Dad! Thanks for sending me here. Love you!

Ned – Thanks for having me come again! Love you!

Kennedy – Thank you for sending me. Love & miss y’all!

Natalya – I’m having a lot of fun! I love you guys and can’t wait to see you soon!Louisa – I miss you all and can’t wait to see you soon!

Britain – Thank you for sending me on this trip!hope y’all are having fun! Love & miss ya!

Ann – Hey Mom & Dad, I miss y’all sooo much, but am having a lot of fun! Tell Bea and Joy that I miss them, too. Love you!

Grace – Hey Mom & Dad! I am having the best time. Thank you so much for sending me. I love and miss y’all. See you in a few days!

Reece – Hi Mom & Dad. I am having so much fun! Thank you for sending me on this. Why is my flight home at 5:00pm?

Connor – Hey Mom & Dad. Having fun here in Cali. I love y’all!

Thomas – Hi Mom & Dad, Thank you for sending me here. Love y’all both.

 


Hello from California!! 

July 3, 2019

All members of our group arrived safely in San Francisco on Saturday and we were all so excited to begin our journey!!

While us leaders waited for everyone to arrive, we had multiple card games going, led by Thomas who showed everyone how to play Egyptian rat slap! After everyone arrived, we eagerly hopped in the van and made our way to Half Moon Bay where we would surf the next day. Of course, we immediately named our van, Peter Van! When we got to our campsite, we ran to the beach to hang out. The boys led the charge in jumping in the cold ocean, with many people following them in. We also threw the football around on the beach for a while! Before dinner we went over some lessons such as Leave No Trace and how to set up tents. It took no time for our superstar group to set up their tents, especially the girls who set theirs up in minutes! We also set up our enos in a bunch of trees at our campsite. After a yummy dinner of pizza, salad, and fruit, everyone helped clean dishes, and we had our first Moonup. We were all eager to put our heads on our pillows, so we didn’t struggle to fall asleep at all!

On Sunday, our Leader of the Days (LODs), Ned and Ann, woke the group up early to prepare for our big day of surfing!! We had savory burritos for breakfast, YUM! Kennedy didn’t hesitate to step in and help cook in the kitchen this morning. After breakfast, we packed up camp and went surfing. The van was nothing short of loud with Louisa requesting lots of awesome songs on the drive! No surprise, we had tons of fun with the surfing guides as they taught all of us to surf and let veteran surfers ride bigger waves. We had many amazing surfers such as Britain and Reece, who showed up the entire group and caught almost every wave! Not only did we surf on our boards, but Lilly led the charge in body surfing many of the waves and giving the rest of the group a laugh when she stood up with her hair all in her face! Natalya joined Lilly in body surfing and playing multiple games in the water. There were nothing but smiles at Pacifica beach while surfing! After surfing in the morning, we travelled to the beautiful Lake Tahoe where Kennedy, Thomas, and Lilly cooked us a delicious stir fry for dinner. With our first day in the books, we fell asleep with smiles on our faces!

On Monday, we eagerly hopped out of bed in the morning to begin kayaking and exploring Lake Tahoe. Led by our LODs for the day, Reece and Lilly, the group didn’t struggle one bit while kayaking. We were able to explore Emerald Bay Cove in Tahoe, and we even docked on an island in the Bay! Connor didn’t hesitate to start the splashing wars which, no surprise, quickly erupted and everyone was soaked! Our wonderful guides taught us all a lot about the history of Tahoe, and we were even able to explore an island on the lake. We ended our kayaking trip with a race where Ann took the victory in getting to the finish line first! After our long day of kayaking, we had to treat ourselves, of course, with GIANT cookie and ice cream sandwiches. These obviously ended in lots of sugar rushes and laughs as we all sang loudly on our van ride back to the campsite! On the way home, we stopped at a beautiful cove looking out at Tahoe. Grace led the charge in jumping in freezing Lake Tahoe, but the group quickly followed her as we all took a swim!! We ended the day with a delicious dinner made by John, Louisa, and Ann!

Today, we had our favorite breakfast of sweet breakfast burritos! We then headed down to the lake to paddle board for a couple of hours. Everyone was hesitant to jump back into the freezing cold water like we did yesterday, but John didn’t hesitate to hop in and encourage (or force) others to join him in the water by pushing them off their boards! Another splash war began with many people soaked but full of laughter! Somehow Ned was the only person to manage to not be flipped or splashed in the war, as he out-paddled every other member of the group!

Now, we are on our way to Yosemite where we will rock climb and explore for the next couple of days! Thank you to everyone for allowing us to spend the next two weeks with your incredible children. We already love them all SO much, and the group is getting along great! All is well here in California!!

Peace & Blessings,

May May, Thomas, and Kristin


Safe Arrival in San Francisco!

June 29, 2019

Hi California Families!

 

The group has arrived in San Francisco! They are off on their adventure and we cannot wait to hear all about it! Stay tuned for their adventures in the Golden State!

 

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Ann
  • Britain
  • Connor
  • Grace
  • John
  • Kennedy
  • Lilly
  • Louisa
  • Natalya
  • Ned
  • Thomas
  • Reece

Staff