July 25, 2019
With the roosters crowing and the sun rising over the dew-covered mountains and craters, we woke up excited for our snorkeling adventure. Everyone was drowsy because of the extra early wakeup call, but the kids got ready in no time and packed into the van. Margaret and Avery snuggled up together in the back and slept on our drive to the boat ramp. As soon as we got there to meet our guides, they gave us coffee and we were ready to go! Our ride to the crater was calm and smooth and the morning light was beautiful. The fish were swimming under our boat and Everett was the first to jump in. We saw schools of fish and varieties of coral that were different colors and sizes. On the back wall of the crater we saw the dark blue deeper ocean and bigger fish. On top of this, Pierce and Emmy rode the water elevator- the rise and fall of the waves against the tuff cone crater. We continued our snorkel party to the sea turtle cleaning station where Isabella and Liz got pictures with the GoPro. When the kids were ready to come in from swimming, our guides had a full lunch waiting for us. We had sandwiches and pasta salad and it was sooooo yummy! We got dropped back off at shore happy as clams and went on to our next fun voyage. A secluded nature reserve was our next destination for a short hike to a river. Everyone was hesitant about hiking but when we got there, they were ready to go with smiles on their faces! Pierce helped Scat fly her drone to take pictures of the curving trail next to the ocean. Sophia brought her camera to take pictures of the rocks and riverbed with the girls! After playing in the water, we were ready to head back to camp for dinner. We had a feast of orange chicken, rice, and salad and after Moonup went to bed early with full bellies and smiles.
The next day, we were rewarded with some much-needed sleep in time. Everyone woke up on their own and we had muffins and doughnuts for breakfast! We loaded up and went off to our surfing lesson a short drive away. When we got to surfing, we were given our surfboards and rash guards and were ready to jump in. It was very windy out but we were ready for the challenge! It was Everett’s first time surfing and he stood up right away, we were so proud! Kathryn worked on tandem surfing with Sophia and after a couple tries were able to stand up together on one board! After all this excitement, we headed to Whalers Village in Lahaina to eat lunch and shop around. Lillian got an açaí bowl to help cool off and the rest of the girls followed suit. The boys had a different idea in mind and instead went to the beach to jump into the water! Our laid back afternoon was much needed and we were ready to hit the road back to camp. Richard requested rock and roll songs for the way back and everyone sang along. When we got back to our lovely campsite the sun was setting and we started our dinner meal. The boys played football under the colored sky while others hung out and played cards. We had Moonup and reflected on another perfect day before going to sleep under the stars.
Our last full day on the island was bittersweet because although we are sad everything is coming to a close we still had amazing activities! We had a great day of windsurfing bright and early and everyone was ready to go. The kids learned the perfect 7 form to hold while on the board so that the wind has enough power to lift them away. This is much easier said than done and the kids learned slowly how to steer and turn while staying balanced. One of the instructors commented on Richard and Sophia for their hard work and dedication while learning, we were so impressed! They have amazing perseverance and were professionals by the end of our lesson. Isabella and Emmy both got a free ride on the instructors’ boards out to deeper water to look at the beautiful view! When our lesson came to a close, we washed off all of our gear and piled into the van to drive to the beach for lunch. We soaked in the sun and played in the crystal blue water before heading to Goodwill for some last minute shopping! Everyone was trying on different clothes for our banquet dinner of course. The girls decided to go with khaki shorts and polo shirts while the boys decided to go with jean shorts. To add to their outfits we returned to camp for some much needed tie dying! We all spiraled our shirts and poured on glorious colors to pop for dinner. Then we got in our banquet gear and took off for town! Our favorite local restaurant was our final destination, with live music and tons of delicious food. Everyone loved our outfits and we took pictures to commemorate our stylish looks! We stuffed our bellies ‘til they could explode and knew it was time to go home. Little did the kids know, we had a secret stash of s’mores waiting to be eaten. We got back and cooked them up so that we were truly stuffed! At our last Moonup, we reflected on our trip and memories and shed a few tears in the process! We have all had an amazing time together and are so thankful for everything we have done and learned. We can’t wait to see these kids return home to their families with a wealth of wisdom and memories from their travels!
Today was our last day as a group, and we got right to work cleaning and packing. We surprised the kids with Krispy Kreme doughnuts for their hard work and they were so happy! Sophia and Kathryn helped out by cleaning dishes while Isabella and Liz did a trash sweep. Everett, Richard, and Pierce helped throw away the heavy trash bags and scrubbed the coolers. Everyone was so helpful and thankfully we got everything done in no time! To celebrate our last couple hours in Maui, we headed into town to get lunch and walk around. Soon after we took off for the airport! We have had the best time with these kids and can’t wait for them to get back safe and sound!
July 21, 2019
We got to sleep in for some much-needed rest! The kids woke up happy and hungry and we got right to work whipping up chocolate chip pancakes, yummy! We stayed in our PJ’s and hung out after eating breakfast playing cards. Soon enough it was time to get moving to get to waterfall repelling! We loaded up to meet our guides Travis, Mike, and Taylor not too far from camp. We drove down the Road to Hana, a beautiful scenic drive to the Garden of Eden where we were greeted with a delicious lunch! We took on one dry land repel down a hill and then were on to the two big waterfalls. Isabella was a natural and brought her GoPro to capture cool pictures of everyone. Lillian was nervous at first but was smiling ear to ear by the end, such a courageous gal! After repelling we headed to camp and had a delicious meal of homemade guacamole and chicken quesadillas, a crowd favorite. We ended our day with a Moonup under the stars!
The next day we woke up early and headed to Makena beach landing where we were going to be sea kayaking! We loaded up our boats and kayaked out to our snorkeling spot, “turtle town.” This is a place where fish eat the algae off the turtle’s shells so there are so many turtles to get up close to! Everyone loves the excitement of seeing such abundant sea life! Margaret was the first to jump in and start swimming with the turtles. Isabella was excited to use her GoPro and captured some unforgettable shots. Pierce and Everett even found a secret tunnel to explore. This was a snorkeling experience no one will ever forget! We headed back to shore in our kayaks and enjoyed lunch overlooking the bright blue ocean. After an action-packed morning we decided to head to a local ice cream shop and indulge in some delicious homemade ice cream. Richard got the cookie dough ice cream and said it was some of the best he’s ever had. What a treat! From there we went to the beach and spent the afternoon playing in the ocean. Sophia and Kathryn were playing in the waves, and Everett enjoyed some relaxing time in the Eno. We headed back to camp, had dinner, and decided to head into the small local town for their Friday night block party. Everyone had a blast trying new foods, line dancing, and listening to a local band play their famous folk music. Avery and Liz were the first to jump on stage and start dancing to the band. We were able to really feel like we were a part of the local community and everyone loved getting to know more about the town and the people we have spent the last week and a half with!
Yesterday we woke up early and had a yummy breakfast of sausage, eggs, and fruit. We then headed to our morning SUP (stand up paddle boarding). Being that they are from the beach, Kathryn and Sophia had a ton of SUP experience and was able to share that with the whole group. Sophia even was able to do a headstand on the board! Emmy was a natural at SUPing and used her positive attitude and contagious smile to keep the group going when the winds picked up and paddling became more challenging. Lillian was on turtle watch and was able to point out over 7 Hawaiian green sea turtles over the course of our activity. We then headed back to camp, ate lunch, and got ready for our afternoon in the town of Paia. Paia has everything from souvenir shops, boutiques, and delicious food. Everyone had the best time shopping around, and gifts for their friends and families back home. After town we headed back to camp, put on warm clothes, and headed to the top of Haleakala Crater to watch the sunset. Haleakala is 10,000 feet in elevation and is above the clouds. This lends its way to amazing sunset! The sunset was incredible, and everyone was amazed with how gorgeous the view was. On the car ride back through the clouds we listened to some chill music and reflected on our trip so far. We had Moonup and headed to sleep in preparation for our early morning snorkeling at the Molokini Crater today!
Stephanie, Nick, Scat
July 18, 2019
We woke up bright and early to get ready for an exciting day of service! After making a yummy breakfast, a toast bar with fruit, we raced to the van. We enjoyed a scenic drive along the coastline listening to our favorite songs. Sophia, our DJ, was quick to give us songs that everyone could sing along to, a true professional! We arrived at our preserved site tucked behind a coffee field. This area has been protected for archeological purposes and was originally a taro field for ancient Hawaiians. Our guide, Ekolu, blessed the land for us alongside his mother Pionani and sang a chant for all to hear. The kids were impressed with this practice and we were all safe to enter into this holy land! Richard led us on our way down the side of a beautiful red rock wall into the valley. We were given the tour of the site and learned about the dry riverbed, dammed up for human use a few miles upstream. Soon enough it was time to commence our cleanup! Ekolu gave us tools and gloves to clean up around an ancient rock wall. Everett was given the big bad weed wrench to get the tough roots out, and he did just that! Before we knew it we had cleared out the area and broke off to eat lunch. Ekolu hand picked us papayas from nearby trees as a gift for our hard work, a true treat! With full tummies, we hiked back up to the car to depart for the beach! We drove to black sand beach, a popular cliff jumping spot, and all jumped into the water. Avery led the way jumping off of the rock with ease. For some it was harder to jump; Emmy conquered her fear of heights and jumped off into the water gracefully! After spending a couple hours in the sun we started to get hungry for dinner and knew it was time to head home. We ate a filling dinner and headed into Moonup before going to bed for some well deserved rest.
The next day we woke up to the sound of roosters and knew it was time to get ready for the day ahead! We met up with our guide Ekolu for an exclusive windmill tour in the valleys of the Maui mountains. The group was in awe beneath the towering windmills and learned about the renewable energy on the island. Margaret and Avery were motivated like no other and went right to work pulling up fireweed, an invasive species from Madagascar. Meanwhile, Isabella and Liz were working on pulling invasive vines off of the native plants surrounding the windmills. Our crew did a fantastic job at this site and left a grand impact on the area! Our reward was hiking up to a scenic spot for lunch and boy was it beautiful! We saw waterfalls, valleys, and birds from up above with an amazing breeze to cool us off! Ekolu taught us about the Hawaiian gods that created the mountains and sun surrounding us, the perfect history lesson for our view. On our way back down from the hike we picked more fireweed and planned our afternoon surprise for the kiddos! We took them back to camp to unwind and hang out before heading to taco Tuesday at our favorite local restaurant. They were jumping for joy when we told them our plan and could not wait to get there! Besides tacos, Lillian got a cheese quesadilla while Margaret ordered Dinosaur chicken nuggets off of the kids menu, yummy! After stuffing ourselves we drove to the beach to watch the sunset and swim. It was so relaxing and the perfect closure to our day before heading home for Moonup!
Today we awoke to our rooster alarm clocks and ate bacon and muffins for breakfast before heading to community service. We drove to Ekolu’s personal home to learn about his backyard reef and ocean. He taught us all about sand composition and the currents and how it affects the surf. While wading through the water, Pierce spotted black tipped sharks! Everyone gathered around to see these friendly fish, who don’t bite, and are essential to the aquatic ecosystem. After learning about the fish and reef, we returned to his backyard to learn how to tie a fishhook knot! Ekolu told us about the symbiotic relationship between local fisherman and the barracudas they would train to bring them schools of fish. We then learned more about cultural preservation because tourists use those barracudas as trophies, and it hinders the relationships the locals have made with the barracudas. If we take care of the fish, they will take care of us! Similarly, we discussed plastic use and how long it takes for them to turn into micro trash, pieces that will never break down completely. Kathryn used her experiences from volunteering at home doing beach cleanups to help lead the lesson on single use plastics! After parting ways with Ekolu and thanking him for his hospitality, we drove down the road to go cliff jumping! Lillian and Everett conquered their fear of heights and leapt off of the rocks into the crystal clear water. We even saw turtles and mermaids swimming by! Hours later and hearts full, we left the cliffs and went back to camp to cookout for dinner. Nick and Margaret cooked burgers, hot dogs, and fries for everyone while watching the sunset. We are so thankful to be in this amazing place with these amazing kids!
Scat, Nick and Stephanie!
Here are some shout outs from the kids-
Hi Mom and Dad! I’m having a blast! Tell the pups I say hi! Love you! – Lillian
Hey mom and dad! I miss you guys so much and I’m having a blast here! Also hey Lauren! See you soon I love you so much! -Isabella
Hey mom and dad! I’m having so much fun! Can’t wait to see everyone soon! -Liz
Maui is so much fun, I’m having a great time! – Sophia
Hi fam! Having the best time we have to come back here!! love you – kathryn
Hi family love you to Tiger -Pierce
Hey ash and pres what is good I miss u and Rosie sooo much but I’m having a lot of fun love you lots and see you soon!! – Avery
Hey Mom and Dad I am having fun love Maui great times awesome love y’all – Margaret
Hello mom and dad I’m having such a fun time In Maui can’t wait to do the rest of our activities. Love you – Everett
Hey Mom and Dad I am having so much fun In Maui I cant wait to do more activities and I’m looking forward to seeing y’all again- Richard
Hey mom and dad, miss you so much and having so much fun. See you guys soon. Love you guys. -Emmy
July 15, 2019
Aloha from Maui!
After a long day at the airport we successfully gathered all of our students and headed for our campsite. When we drove through the gates we were welcomed by a beautiful sunset and spectacular view overlooking the whole island. For dinner we picked up multiple pizzas from the famous Serpicos, which were completely devoured within the first thirty minutes of being at camp. During our first Moonup we discussed Moondance policy and shared some laughs about everyone’s long day traveling. After Moonup we had an early bedtime that everyone was very happy about due how tired everyone was from their flights.
Our first full day in Maui started bright and early with a huge breakfast full of fruit, toast, bacon, and eggs. After breakfast we piled into the van eager to get to our first surfing lesson. While at surfing we relied heavily on Margaret’s surfing experience to give us some pointers from her recent trip to Costa Rica where she became a pro. Richard who had never surfed before was the first to catch a wave and make it look effortless. Our surfing guide was very impressed by our group and began taking us out to the bigger waves within 30 minutes of getting into the water. Sophia and Avery led the charge and managed to both catch giant waves that they rode all the way back into shore. It wasn’t long before our entire group started to look like pros and catch giant waves all on their own. Everyone in our whole group had so fun. One of our guides even made a comment about how Liz’s smile never left her face the entire time we were out on the water. When we left surfing everyone was sad so we ate lunch and then headed right back to the beach. The whole car ride to Baldwin beach was filled with excitement due Kathryn’s impeccable song choices that energized the entire car. Once at the beach we spent over two hours playing in the water and getting to know each other even better. When we got back to camp everyone eagerly awaited the arrival of our last two campers, Everett and Pierce. Once they arrived and the group finished bombarding them with questions everyone was exhausted, so we ate a huge dinner then moved straight into Moonup. Following Moonup everyone went to bed ready for the next day!
Zip lining day as the kids referred to it started off just as early as the first day. Everyone woke up ready to get going to start our zip line tour. We ate a huge bagel breakfast and had a few extra hours to kill before our scheduled tour, so we decided to do our first town visit. In Paia we went to Toby’s Shaved Ice where everyone got whatever food they wanted for lunch. Isabella and Lillian both got Toby’s famous Açaí bowls that they both loved and ate every last bite off. Pierce got a seasoned chicken that he was unsure about when ordering but ended up eating every last bite. Once we finished in town, we headed off to zip lining where five incredible lines waited. The kids were stoked to glide down the ropes in a deep valley, a beautiful scene. Everett was hesitant to getting started due to his fear of heights but conquered his fear and was smiling from ear to ear! By the fifth line he was a professional and we were so proud of him! When we returned to camp to hang out, Emmy led us in a game of cards while others played spike ball. We had a blast hanging out together as a group and worked up an appetite! We started getting ready for dinner, pasta night. Everett volunteered for cook crew and Sophia volunteered for cleanup crew, a huge help to everyone! We enjoyed dinner while watching the sunset over the mountains and got ready for Moonup soon after. While laughing under the night sky, Isabella spotted two shooting stars, a perfect closing to a perfect day!
We can’t wait for our next adventure tomorrow, Community Service!
Scat, Nick, Stephanie
July 13, 2019
Aloha Maui Families!
We heard from our Leaders late last night, that all students scheduled to arrive in Maui on 7/12 have safely joined the group! Scat, Stephanie and Nick cannot wait to pick up their final two students this afternoon. The trip is off to a great start, and we’re excited to hear more stories from their adventures. Stay tuned!