June 22, 2021
On day eleven of our trip we were supposed to do stand up paddle boarding but with a big summer swell hitting the coast our outfitters decided it would be safer as well as more fun to have a surfing lesson instead. This turned out to be such a blessing in disguise as this ended up being most of the groups favorite surfing day! We were able to ride two on one board, two between two boards, and we had a couple kids even do headstands on their boards! Shoutout Sophie and Caroline for accomplishing the “wheelbarrow” move on a board together – they killed it! The larger waves due to the winds and the swell somehow allowed all of us to have our most successful lesson yet! Rhodes and Peyton were able to go out a little farther than the group and catch some bigger waves, while one of our leaders of the day, Lil G, continued to steadily stand up and ride every wave in. Some of us headed to our new favorite spot Kihei Cafe, while our other leader of the day Banks led the rest of the group to a local taco truck. We headed back to camp before hanging out at one of our favorite beaches in Paia. Some of the group walked the short distance into the town of Paia to do some souvenir shopping while others relaxed on the beach. In an exciting end to the day we ordered Poke bowls (raw ahi tuna with rice and sauce) and a couple of pizzas before driving from sea level to 10,000 elevation feet. On the summit of the Haleakala volcano we all shared a picnic style dinner as we waited on the sunset. It was an incredible view from above the clouds and few words were shared as everyone took in the special moment. Shaffer and Big G snuggled close as it got cold on the summit but they were determined to see the sun set all the way behind the clouds. Most of us fell asleep on the car ride back to camp, besides Sandra who was driving and Jack who was dutifully fielding song requests from the group. Our moonup question for the evening was, “where do you feel the happiest?”, and a lot of the answers were the same further proving the similarities and bonds between our kids. Of course one answer I have to mention that was given was “on a moondance trip”…
On our last full day together we woke up before the sunrise to head to the famous Molokini crater off the coast of Maui. The winds haven’t picked up yet this early in the morning which makes the current less strong and allows for clear visibility – making for ideal snorkeling conditions! We snorkeled at three different spots around the crater, with everyone’s favorite spot being the “elevator” section of Molokini (mainly because this part made Parks release his contagious laugh which had everyone smiling). We cruised around the crater as we dried off and were lucky enough to spot a pod of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. Our guides followed them through the water and everyone had big smiles hanging off the edges of the boat trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic mammals. We had sandwiches on the boat before swimming in the “jolly rancher blue” water and heading back to camp. For our last afternoon we headed to the beach to soak up our last bit of island sun rays, and Ford and Charlie beat the heat in their big matching sun hats. Following the beach we headed to goodwill where we told the kids to spend as little as possible on the craziest outfit they could find. Melanie rocked a patterned Hawaiian dress, while Sophie went for a JoJo Siwa onesie, and the boys decided to wear full suits. The group went to the #1 Mexican restaurant in Maui, Amigos, for our final banquet. The boys (Jack, Ford, Banks, Charlie, and Parks) gorged on burritos at one table while the girls (Sandra, Big G, Lil G, Shaffer, Carter, Melanie, Rhodes, Peyton, Sophie, and Caroline) swapped stories at another. We spent the night getting our bags organized before having our final moonup during which everyone shared their favorite memories from the trip. The kids decided to move all their sleeping bags up to the basketball court beside our campsite to have a giant sleepover under the stars.
Our last morning we got to sleep in late (9 am!!) and enjoy a big breakfast before breaking down our tents and cleaning up camp. We headed to the Kahului airport for some tearful goodbyes as the groups planes took off into the night! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing kids with us for the past two weeks they will be missed!
‘Til we meet again,
Georgia, Jack, and Sandra 🙂
June 19, 2021
On day eight of our trip, we woke up bright and early for a day of sea kayaking and snorkeling! Led by Griff (one of the OG Moondance Leaders), we explored the gorgeous coast line near Wailea. After a mile and half kayak, which the group crushed, we went for an excellent snorkel. The group was treated to numerous sea turtle, eel, and other aquatic creature sightings while in the water. Banks impressed the group with his ability to hold his breath and explore the vast coral reefs. Big Georgia (leader) and Carter took photos on the GoPro of the kids exploring the aquatic underworld! We then undertook a highly competitive kayak race through the gorgeous waters off the coast of Maui. While the winner of this contest is still a bit contested, the GoPro footage points towards Parks and Shaffer, but we may never really know. After a fun but tiring day on the water, the group headed over to Paia Beach park, where we enjoyed an afternoon in the sun and sand. Rhodes volunteered herself to be buried in the sand, which was quite a sight to see. After playing in the sand for a good bit, Banks, Charlie, Ford, and Parks all body surfed and played in the waves.
The next day, we embarked on day two of our surfing lessons. While the waves weren’t as “rad” as we were used to, the whole group still had an excellent time. For the three of us (Georgia, Jack, and Sandra), it is fantastic seeing all the kids stand up on the surfboard when for most of them, it is only the second time they’ve ever surfed! Rhodes continued to impress us with her surfing ability and offered lots of pointers to the group throughout the day. Sophie and Shaffer tried surfing into shore in tandem, which made for some incredible GoPro shots! After surfing, we headed to Lahaina for a well-deserved day in town and the chance for some ice cream and souvenir shopping. Ford, Parks, Banks, and Charlie all went in search of cool hats to wear on the beach, while the girls went searching for fun T-Shirts to bring home. Peyton was able to find some awesome t-shirts to bring home that she showed to the group as we headed to the Nakalele Blow Hole.
On the tenth, the group woke up early and determined to conquer a morning of windsurfing. We quickly found it to be way harder than the surfing we had done earlier in the week, but the group did not give up! Rhodes, a total natural on the water, was quick to learn and was shortly zipping around the cove that we were windsurfing in. Charlie and Banks took quickly to windsurfing as well, and before we knew it, they were halfway down the beach! Little Georgia (Lil G) was superb at windsurfing today and probably had some of the best balance out of the entire group! Caroline and Melanie rode side by side on their boards, which quickly ended with them both in the water laughing. After a fun morning of windsurfing, the group headed over to meet one of the other Maui Moondance groups, and we held the Maui Olympics. While we did not fair too well in the kickball game, Melanie brought us a victory in capture the flag with her speed and quick hands. After a hot afternoon in the Hawaiian sun we headed to a scenic overlook for some pizza and watched the sunset on another incredible day in paradise
It is so hard to believe that are time is winding down wit this awesome group!!
Jack, Georgia, and Sandra
Some Shout Outs!
Caroline- Happy Fathers Day dad!! I hope you have the best day and I love and miss you tons. See you soon
Sophie- happy Father’s Day dad!!! Miss and love u see u soon!!!!!!
Banks- sup dad happy Father’s Day! Excited to see you miss you!
Mel- Happy Father’s Day dad! I saw some rly nice golf courses and thought of you love you!!
Carter- Happy Father’s Day Dad!!! I love you so much! See you soon!
Shaffer- HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!! I love and miss you and will see you soon!!!!
Peyton – Happy Fathers Day Dad! Thank you for all of the things you’ve taught me throughout my life so far. I love and miss you.
Rhodes – Happy Father’s Day dad!! Saw some SUP surfers out in the water yesterday and thought of you. Love you and see you soon!
Georgia- yo pa I happy dad day love u so much u da best. Love u too family
Parks- HEY DAD!!! Happy Father’s Day! Having so much fun over here. Love you too mom! Hope y’all had fun or having fun on y’all’s trip don’t really don’t know what day it is “haha””.
Ford- Happy Father’s Day dad! Hope that you have a great day, I love and miss you. And hey ma!
Charlie- Happy Father’s Day dad! I love and miss you.
June 16, 2021
Aloha from the tropical island paradise that we have been calling home!
We have had an action packed few days. We finished off our community service section with some hard, but very rewarding work in the Honokawai Valley. The group worked to remove invasive species from the land to allow for the native plants to once again flourish. Peyton showed the weeds who was the real boss in town with her pick axe skills. After working hard for a few hours, our guide Ekolu, took us on a little nature walk where we again had the opportunity to try some fresh fruits and nuts from the native trees. As usual Banks was first in line to try the guava tree! Followed by Charlie, the boys quickly discovered the difference between a ripe and non ripe guava. We closed our service section with Ekolu with a great group picture and a lot of “thank you’s”! We walked back down out of the valley and headed to Black Rock Beach because the group had been begging to jump off some rocks into the water. While certainly more tourist-y compared to other beaches due to the surrounding luxury resorts, Black Rock had great views, bright blue water, and a cool boulder that almost the whole group jumped off of. While swimming back towards the beach the group happened upon a turtle which swam within inches of them. To reward the kids for their hard work during service and their sense of adventure, we took them to Island Cream Co for a sweet treat. We headed back to camp where the group creatively hung a hose from a tree and used the water to shower. For dinner we had burrito bowls with chicken, lots of veggies, salsa, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Our leaders of the day, Ford and Melanie led a hilarious moonup by having everyone share their most embarrassing story! The group stayed up talking and laughing for awhile before they all drifted off to sleep either in their tents or in their hammocks.
We woke up the group with Krispy Kreme this morning as a surprise for Bank’s 15th birthday! We all sang for him as he blew out candles and passed out party hats. Afterwards, we headed up to Piihilo’o Ranch for our zip lining activity. We were able to spend about five hours zipping down a bunch of different lines over the rainforest canopy with the last one spanning half a mile. The group went in varying teams of two and were able to get some awesome GoPro footage. At each stop Ford continued to make us all laugh with his raps as we watched each duo attempt to race to the end of the line. We headed back to camp for lunch where Parks suggested we have a choice of ramen or sandwiches, and he took the time and initiative to set up the ingredients and the stove. After changing into bathing suits we headed down to Paia beach (next to to the bustling town of Paia) and set up our crazy creeks near the water. Some of the boys went off to play basketball on the court next to the beach while others swam, hung out, napped, and read books. For dinner we honored Bank’s request of chicken and pasta with a choice of alfredo, red sauce, or pesto! Our leaders of the day, Charlie and Caroline, winded us down for the day by starting off moonup with a great quote about adventure: “The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong – thats when the adventure starts” – Yvon Chouinard. We wanted to include this quote in the trip update to acknowledge that while the group has faced some challenges they have also realized that growth comes from pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and learning to adapt when the plan goes array. Sometimes the adventure shows itself in unlikely scenarios and we must be flexible, creative, and optimistic in order to enjoy the ride!
For our sixth day of the trip we headed out to Kihei cove early for a gorgeous morning of surfing lessons! Everyone was really pumped for this activity and after hearing that Rhodes had competitively surfed before we were looking forward to seeing her shred the gnar! After seeing her in the water it was clear she was a natural and as one of our leaders of the day she set the bar high! Our guides at Maui Beach Boys loaned us some cool rash guard and booties, and before we hit the waves they taught us how to paddle, stand up, and be safe in the water. The entire group was able to stand up on the board, and it was a super successful lesson (our guides told us more than once how impressed they were with our group). Our other leader of the day Lil Georgia (we are now going by Big G and Lil G) stood up on some big waves and rode in tandem with Melanie a couple times! After surfing we stopped by Kihei Cafe for optional coffee and snacks as everyone was pretty wiped out from being in the water all morning. In the afternoon we headed up to Pono Farms to meet with our guide Evan, who is a renowned expert on Hawaiian agriculture. He gave a great presentation on conservation, dispersion of resources, and how fragile the Hawaiian ecosystem is. We split into three groups with Jack taking Banks, Charlie, Melanie, and Caroline to fertilize lime trees. Big G took Fords, Parks, Rhodes, and Sophie to harvest cilantro seeds and to remove seeds from cucumbers to be replanted. Sandra took Peyton, Shaffer, Lil G, and Carter to weed, spread compost, loosen soil, and plant green bean seeds. Evan’s wife, who was a five time Moondance leader back in the day, and his seven year old son came to watch us work, and he quickly took to joking around with the boys in our group. We ended the day with our version of a cookout and everyone had belly’s fully of burgers, fries, mac and cheese, and cookies! After a beautiful sunset and thoughtful moon up everyone headed to their tents to rest up!
We have now almost reached our halfway point of our trip and today everyone couldn’t help but remark about how quickly our time together is passing. After a lot of early mornings the group got to actually sleep in and enjoy a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fresh fruit. Energized and ready to tackle the day we travelled along the winding road to Hana and met with our guides at Maui Rappelling. We split into two groups with Sandra leading Carter, Peyton, Ford, Charlie, Rhodes, and Caroline; and Jack and Big G led Sophie, Melanie, Banks, Parks, Lil G, and Shaffer. One of our leaders of the day, Carter, conquered her fear of heights as she descended two forty meter rock walls and one seventy meter waterfall. Our other leader of the day, Sophie, kept the energy high with her positive attitude and infectious laugh. We were so impressed with everyone in the group today and so after heading to Ho’onokipa beach for a couple hours we treated everyone to famous Hawaiian Shaved Ice from Ululani’s in Paia. We headed back to camp later than usual and the group headed up to their favorite hangout spot: the basketball courts. After a lot of games of knockout they all came down to devour some chicken and veggie fried rice. Huge shoutout to Parks for doing the breakfast and dinner dishes without being asked, and to Shaffer for helping cleanup around camp. During moonup these two were selected as the first repeat leaders of the day for their helpfulness and friendliness to all. After discussion our role models we corralled the group into their tents as we have an early morning tomorrow!
Having a blast, can’t wait to share our next update with you
– Georgia, Jack, and Sandra
June 12, 2021
Aloha family and friends!
Checking in with you from island paradise!
After collecting our awesome group at the airport with just one hiccup (shoutout Rhodes for being such a great sport), we headed to our campsite and had lots of pizza for dinner. Following our first Moonup and a talk about respecting Hawaiian culture before we all climbed into our tents for some much needed rest!
We woke up early for our first full day on the Island we spent time at the Olawalu Peterglyphs learning about the rich history of Maui’s agriculture and exploring some of the cultural lands. We had some brave individuals bite into native fruits that are typically only used for medicinal purposes (which our guides described as “smelling and tasting like sweaty socks”). We had a lot of questions about invasive species and got to see some local summer camp kids perform Hula.
Afterwards we headed to the beach for a relaxing afternoon of lunch and swimming. We were lucky enough to be headed towards the water when a huge sea turtle emerged onto the shore (and then we spotted three more!). Banks, Ford, Parks, and Charlie put on a little spikeball tournament and took the initiative to set up their eno hammocks in the shade, after which the whole group got in the crystal clear water together.
We headed back to camp and after rinsing off, Sophie and Schaffer enthusiastically helped prepare for dinner (and ended up laughing till they were in tears when they couldn’t get the can opener to work on a single can)! We enjoyed a hearty Tex-Mex dinner family style around our picnic tables! Our moonup for the night was led by our leaders of the day Peyton and Parks, who rocked their matching bucket hats and did a great job keeping the group on track! Melanie put on a hilarious performance before we headed to our tents ending the day with lots of smiles and laughs.
For our second day of service we were fortunate to have sunshine and clear skies! We headed to Lahaina to meet with our friend at Maui Cultural Lands, Ekolu, who welcomed us into his beautiful home right on the water and he taught us about the marine life in the area! We were able to snorkel, walk on the beach (where we had some cool finds including Rhodes with the body of a lobster shell), learn about fish and the ecosystem, and we even got the special treat of seeing not one but two rare Monk Seals!! They are an endangered species so it was really great to get to sit on the beach and observe them in their natural habitat!
Our leaders of the day, Schaffer and Banks, decided our plan for the afternoon should be to head to Dragon Tooth trail and stop by the beach depending on how tired everyone was feeling! Dragon tooth trail was an incredible collection of rocks and cliffs over the water in West Maui. Unexpectedly a small wave came up over the rocks showering the kids in water leaving our group laughing and standing around for another ten minutes hoping another splash of water would come, which Caroline described as her high for the day!
Ford spotted a washed up pufferfish and we also came upon a labyrinth used for prayer which our group explored. Following our small hike we decided to head to a local fruit stand where we grabbed some fresh mangoes, pineapples, and guavas! Everyone tried the fruits and commented on how sweet and fresh everything tasted. We returned to camp where our cook crew got started on our Asian style dinner! We had Georgia enthusiastically volunteer for vegetable duty and we continue to appreciate her relaxed attitude she brings to the group! (side note: there is leader Georgia and student Georgia, they are still figuring out which nicknames they want to be called but so far we have George, Georgina, and ‘Pitt’).
Following our delicious dinner some of the boys played with our new football outside while some of the girls worked on friendship bracelets. Carter has graciously volunteered to make a woven bracelet for us to attach to the van key! We had Moonup under the stars in a circle and everyone’s energy was magnetic, we could barely get them to stop talking and laughing! We ended up hanging out for a little longer and exchanging stories before we headed to our tents ready to take on our final day of community service tomorrow!
We are so excited to keep you updated on our trip!
– Georgia, Sandra, and Jack 🙂
June 10, 2021
Hello Maui 1A Families!
The group arrived safely in Kahului last night, and they are off on their adventure! One more student is arriving late tonight and they are all excited to greet her! We have heard from our leaders that the trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!
– Moondance HQ