June 22, 2021
Good morning folks,
We cannot believe the trip has come to an end! We are thrilled to update you one final time. As we wrap up the trip, we depart with new friends, full hearts, and a newfound love for adventure. Us leaders are so proud of this group for stepping out of their comfort zone and trying new things. It is not always easy camping for the first time, trying new foods, and being away from home, but this group killed it.
Rewind back to Saturday, we had the best day. We started off our final day of service with a quick breakfast. The kids have really enjoyed their service, and we are so proud of their willingness to give back. We worked with Maui Cultural Lands doing ecological restoration on an historic site deep in a beautiful valley. The site used to be a major farming center since 1300 A.D. The group had a blast clearing out a terrace for new plants that will be planted in the next few weeks. Will and Brantley went to work with the pickaxe and quickly helped the group reach our goal. When the work was over Ekolu let us explore the grounds. It was so cool! The highlight was definitely eating tangerines straight from the trees— it was the perfect mid-morning snack.
After finishing up service, we took the kids to the local town, Lahaina. They were quick to find some of the popular food spots and enjoy a good lunch. Davis, Will, Wells, Brantley, and Dylan went to a burger spot, while Mary Skiles, Ren, Carson, Corinne, Morgan, and Ryan got pizza. They had a blast shopping around and came back with many fun purchases. Mary Skiles came back with the best “I’m a cool grandpa” t-shirt that gave the whole group a big laugh. We headed back to camp for a burger cookout. After dinner, we ended the night with another great Moonup led by our LODS, Dylan and Mary Skiles. As we looked up at the stars, we soaked up another night together.
For our last full day, we woke up excited and ready for the last adventure. The group enjoyed getting to sleep in and have a big breakfast. We made muffins, quesadillas, and pancakes! Wells says he rated the breakfast quesadillas 10/10. On our campsite, we made a slip n slide! Dylan went headfirst every time trying the craziest tricks. For lunch, we took the kids to our favorite açaí bowl place, called Paia Bowls. Corinne and Ren were so excited to try theirs. We let the kids explore Paia and enjoy a beach day. Afterwards, we headed back to get ready for our big night at the top of Haleakala. We trekked up the mountain early, with pizza in hand, ready to see the sunset. When we got to the top, we just sat and enjoyed the amazing view. It is known for being one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. It seems as if you are floating in the clouds. There is truly no better way to end the trip, then this spot. We ate cookies, watched the sun set, and discussed our favorite parts of the trip. We headed back to camp and had our final Moonup. We reflected on the amazing trip we had and how much we have learned. We learned to live in the moment and appreciate the outdoors.
On our final morning, we ate chocolate chip muffins and packed up our things. We cleaned up camp and got ready for banquet. We ate at the Paia Fish Market and enjoyed some of the best food on the island. Reminiscing on our amazing adventures, we are still in disbelief it went by this fast. The kids got to sit by the beach one last time before going to the airport.
Saying goodbyes are always hard, but we know as a group we will stay in touch. As we hugged and sent them off, we admired the past eleven days with joy and sadness. Fifteen strangers became family over a short amount of time. That is what makes Moondance so special. Thank you for joining us on the ride and thank you for sharing your kids with us. We feel as if we have learned just as much from them, as they have learned from us. We know they will do big things and cannot wait to see where life takes them.
Until next time,
Sidney, Miles, and Lillian
June 19, 2021
Aloha friends and family!
Oh, how much fun we have had over the past week! We cannot believe how fast it is going by and the progress we have made. The memories we have made will stick with us forever! It is sad knowing they will be leaving in a few short days, but we are soaking up every second.
We started on the North shore of Maui. This is known as the Mecca of windsurfing. Conditions were a steady 15mph wind blowing onshore, very ideal. The group was prepared and excited to get underway. Windsurfing proved to be a difficult and rewarding sport. Ren and Davis showed no fear, as they were the first to hop on the boards and hit the waves.
When the group was able to stand and catch the wind excitement filled the air. We learned the basics such as the matador. It involves moving your hands together and pulling them to your side, enabling the rider to go upwind. We also learned the bow and arrow, which is pulling your hands to resemble a bow and arrow. It allows you to move downwind. By the end of the morning, Carson and Sidney were riding tandem on the board. Feeling accomplished, we headed back to camp to make our lunch and change clothes.
We decided to check out the town of Paia for the afternoon. Coco (Corinne), Mary Skiles and Brantley enjoyed some delicious açaí and smoothies from Paia bowls. While Will, Wells and Brantley ventured around the town in search of large straw hats. Satisfied with their purchases, two group stopped at a local shaved ice shop for a sweet treat. Our afternoon ended on the beach splashing in the waves, playing games and hanging out. Before we got back in the van the group enjoyed a lively game of Duck-duck-goose and a few rounds of death frog. Back at camp we made a delicious Mediterranean meal and reflected on the day we had. The group was proud of their efforts windsurfing and were excited about their trip into town.
On the next day, we started our first day of service. We met up with Ekolu, who is our service guide on the island. Our first day was dedicated to learning about the wildlife on the island. As a group, we were invited into his home, which sat on the water overlooking Lanai. He took us on a walk along the beach, teaching us the names and history of the islands. He then had everyone pick up a rock and describe it. Our adjectives were soon expanded as he taught us the geological formation of the island. We repeated this activity with a piece of coral and learned about the main compositions of the sand. Following this exercise, we grabbed our snorkel gear and headed into the reef. Here, we tallied the number of certain species we saw. The group was given underwater paper to take notes on, which was super cool!!! This enabled Ekolu to see how species on the reef were changing. He taught us about the impact humans are having on the reefs. Such as the effects of sunscreen, oil, kayaks, and land runoff. We concluded our time at Ekolu’s with a reflection on what we had learned. His mother brought us fresh watermelon, which was greatly enjoyed. We ate a quick lunch and headed to a popular spot known as “Cliffhouse”. Some of us faced our fear of heights and jumped off a few small cliffs into the ocean! Dylan killed it and jumped about five times. The kids loved it, and it was a fun way to step out of our comfort zone and get a good adrenaline rush!
After, we went back to play more spike ball and wind down the night. It is crazy to see how close they have gotten throughout the trip. We made mac and cheese for dinner, in need of some comfort food! Ryan helped us out with dinner and has really enjoyed being in the kitchen. After we filled our bellied up we just hungout and enjoyed each other’s company. For our Moonup we talked about where we see ourselves in 10 years. It was so much fun hearing everyone’s answers. We went to bed early to get well rested for our big day of service!
For our second day of service, we woke up early to meet Ekolu at the Maui Cultural Lands site. As part of a ritual, we asked permission to enter the lands and they blew the ceremonial conch shell. Then we followed our guides through lush, green jungle but were mindful not to step on any of the freshly grown plants. In rotations of two groups, we worked through the heat to remove invasive species and cleared the ground for new trees to be planted. The students learned about the importance of Aloha, which is more than just a greeting here: it is a practice.
After convincing the kids we were going on a seven-mile hike, we surprised them with Olympics day! We had t-shirts, paint, and glitter to get our group all geared up. Carson took the lead in getting the group hyped up. Once we got decked out, we took them to meet all the other Moondance groups for a day full of fun and games. We played the other teams in capture the flag, birdy on a perch, kickball, and long jump. Morgan and Ren won birdy on a perch, which was a big deal. We loved getting to see our friends on other teams and play fun game. For dinner, we made quesadillas and hungout with the other group. We headed back home, with a sleepy group in the back. We finished the night out with another great moon up.
As we go into the last part of our trip, we hope to grow even closer and have even more laughs! We are so thankful for such an amazing first group. They mean the world to us!
Sidney, Miles, & Lillian
June 16, 2021
Aloha! It is absolutely crazy to think that the trip is halfway over at this point! Time truly time flies when you are having fun.
Monday started off with some much needed sleep, but we quickly got moving thanks to some delicious breakfast sandwiches prepared by Ryan, Will and Wells. Our LODs, Dylan and Mary Skiles, got the group excited during the morning huddle for our upcoming morning at the Garden of Eden.
We hopped in the van to drive the winding roads of the famous Hana Highway. The views were spectacular! “All summer long” by Kid Rock has become a quick favorite for this group and we haven’t had a car ride without it. We turned into a Hawaiian paradise and were greeted by peacocks, cats and Ducks as we walked to the base for our rappelling adventure.
Rappelling the canyons in the Garden of Eden the group quickly conquered any doubts they had. The first rappel was over a steep, grass slope. The next two rappels looked like we were descending into a postcard. The group made two waterfall rappels. The first of the two was an order waterfall that fell into a large, natural pool. The next waterfall was our last. We had the waterfall breaking over while descending. Carson and Corinne faced their fear of heights and crushed it!
We came back ready to feast. Thanks to Brantley, Will, and Wells we ate some yummy pizza bagels. The sky was painted in with bright orange and pink streaks, which were the perfect backdrop for Wells and Will sunset spike ball match. We all had the best time playing games, swapping stories, and hanging until the moon rose; and we could spot the first star of the night. Our LODs, Dylan and Mary Skiles, lead the group’s Moonup. It was a perfect end to another great day in the Hawaiian sun.
We woke up early to hit the surf. After a quick breakfast of yogurt parfaits with all the toppings, the group headed to the van. The car was buzzing with excitement, as we made our way to the shore for our 2nd day of surfing. And let me tell you— it did not disappoint. The waves were perfect, with no wind, or a cloud in the sky. It is the first day that we could see the entire ridge line of the West Maui Mountains. It was spectacular. Already familiar with the terrain and basics of surfing, the group charged into the wave break. This allowed the group to have ample time on the waves. The instructor commented that it was one of the top 15 days of surfing he’s seen there in 13 years of being out there. Morgan showed us her best moves by catching the first wave of the day. Davis navigated the waters with ease and skill, while Will and Wells impressed the group by catching a tandem wave 3 different times throughout the morning! Carson, Will, Morgan, Wells, Davis, Dylan, Miles and Lillian closed out our set with a giant “party wave” that impressed the whole beach.
With sandy hair we headed back to shore feeling very accomplished. The group gathered in our favorite beach park to play some spikeball and eat lunch. Then, we hopped in the van and drove down the coast line to go explore the beautiful Nakalele Blowhole. The whole group was in awe of the views. Out of the windows, we spotted massive, blue waves and a rocky coastline. On the interior, there was a thick jungles that spanned up the mountain. Upon reaching the parking for the blow hole, we took a small hike that seemed as though we were hiking on Mars. Ren had the best attitude that kept the group’s spirit high the whole time! The blow hole was epic. The water shot up through the opening in the rocks, and created a mist that traveled along the shore. We then traveled back to camp to conclude our day with cheesy chicken and rice, potatoes, and green beans. After another great Moonup, we hit the hay!
We can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip holds, and will continue to soak up every second in this amazing place! Nonetheless, these kids miss their fams and wanted to give y’all some shoutouts!
Will— Hey mom and dad I’m alive, love you and happy late birthday dad
Wells— Hey mom and dad I’m alive, and happy early Father’s Day
Coco— Hey! I miss y’all so much hope everything is going well! I am having the best time and cannot wait to see y’all xoxo
Ren— Heyyyyyy, Mom and Dad, Maui is so much fun, hope all is well, and happy early Father’s Day Dad. Also special shout-out to Margaret.
Carson— Hey dad Casey and Anneliese if your reading this I’m here and alive and having the best time ever I miss and love you all and happy early fathers day dad love you see you soon:)
Mary Skiles — Hey! I’m having such a big time here I miss u guys and can’t wait to see u when I get home. Happy early Father’s Day dad love u see u soon.
Davis— Hey Mom and dad. I’m doing great and it’s been an awesome time. Can’t wait for Fripp! See y’all soon.
Brantley— What’s up mother and father, I am alive and doing fine. I am having a lot of fun. Happy early Father’s Day dad. I hope you guys are doing immaculate.
Dylan— Hey mom and dad I am having great time here. I’m excited for the last week and to see you guys again. Love you.
Ryan— Hey fam, I’m having an amazing time, everything is so beautiful here. love you and miss you lots! See you soon.
Morgan — Hi Mom and Dad, I just wanted to let you know I am having so much fun and I can’t wait to tell you all about my trip when I get back!
June 14, 2021
Aloha friends and family! Miles, Sidney, and Lillian here to give you guys another update. The past two days have been incredible! It has been amazing to watch friendships form in such a short amount of time!
Rewind back to day 4, Carson and Ryan cooked the group the most incredible chocolate chip pancakes breakfast. The breakfast went fast, and the kids prepped for the day. Our LODs, Corinne and Davis, got the group excited and ready for the day with some morning stretches. Then we headed the beach to watch the locals surf the big swells. It was awesome. The boys got a fun match of spike ball going on the beach, while the girls explored the coast in search of sea turtles.
The group headed back to camp for a quick lunch before venturing into Maui’s peaks to zipline through the canopies. Dylan was the first to step up and courageously led the group through the trees. The views were incredible. The last leg of the zip sent us 1/2 mile down the mountain with the most incredible 360 view of the coastline and a working ranch. It felt like we were flying!
With big smiles on our faces and windblown hair, we headed back to camp for dinner. Will, Brantley, and Carson made us a feast of potatoes, BBQ + Buffalo chicken, and some stir fried veggies. After cleaning up, the group closed the night with Moonup and some late-night ghost stories.
Following, we woke up with the sun and headed to the coast for a snorkeling adventure around Molokini Crater! Our LOD, Ren, helped get the group excited on the early morning as she led the group’s morning activities. As the sun was rising, we enjoyed some fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls on the boat. Following this, we all jumped into the clear water in the crater. There were fish all around and coral of all different colors. Will and Brantley showed off their free diving skills as they explored the beautiful coral reef. We swam and enjoyed the underwater scenery. After this we boated to the outside of Molokini Crater, known as “The Elevator”. We continued to explore La Perouse Bay and Turtle Town, some of Maui’s most famous snorkeling spots. After, we enjoyed our captain taking us over some big waves in the zodiac boats. It was awesome!
After snorkeling, we went for a hike at a nearby state park. The scenes were straight out of Jurassic Park! We made a hike up and down a path beside a river. Wells and Morgan were a positive force and showed great trail etiquette. The group learned about proper river crossing techniques. It was a great way to change up the scenery and teach a lesson!
After the hike, our group enjoyed a Moondance classic, Tommy sauce noodles. This is a Moondance spin on pad Thai. Mary Skiles showed off her chopping skills in the creation of the dinner. This was a crowd favorite and helped the group refill after a long day. We ended the night with another great Moonup and ice cream sandwiches under the stars.
We are so grateful for this group and couldn’t ask for a better group of kids! As the Hawaiians say, “A Hui Ho”, or until we meet again!
June 12, 2021
Aloha from Maui 1C !
The first few days of our trip have been a BLAST! It has been busy, but we are finally settled into our awesome campsite. Thank you for sharing your incredible kids with us. From surfing to snorkeling to learning about Hawaiian agriculture, this group has done it all. Tune in and join us along the ride!
After a long day at the airport the group celebrated our first night together with a pizza dinner and our first official Moonup. We quickly hit the hay to prepare and rest up to start exploring Maui together.
We started the morning with a yummy breakfast for our first full day on the island. The roosters on the farm helped us welcome the morning as we headed off to the beach for our surf lessons. The instructors suited us up with rash guards and sunscreen and after a quick lesson on the shore we headed to break.
Let me tell you— this group makes it look easy! Everyone got up on their first try, and you would’ve thought they were pros. Morgan showed off her skills from her previous Moondance trip by shredding the waves. While Ryan and Will impressed everyone with their ability to never let a good wave go to waste. We were having so much fun that three sea turtles decided to hop in the action too.
Afterwards, we found a shady spot to have a picnic lunch on the beach. Our group had found a quick love for the game Birdy on a Perch and Ren’s introduction to “death frog”. For our afternoon activity, we learned about Hawaiian farming. Our host on the farm, Evan, gave the group a fantastic presentation on the history of Maui culture and farming on the island. The kids loved getting hands on in the field. They picked, washed, and tried farm-grown carrots. After the carrots were picked, Brantley led a group weeding the garden via ‘hula hoe’. This tool helps remove weeds and looks like one is doing the hula while weeding. We then had a great game of telephone and connecting with Evan.
We then walked down the hill to our campsite where Will helped the group construct the “Eno Village” as we call it at camp. As our stellar cook crew, Wells, Davis and Dylan prepared a delicious taco dinner for the group. The perfect first day ended with a Moonup under the stars led by our LOD’s Carson and Wells.
The weather has been beautiful here in Maui with no rain so far (fingers crossed it continues). We had an early morning wake up call for our sea kayaking and snorkeling adventure. For breakfast we had the Moondance classic ‘Davis breakfast’. This includes apples with cinnamon, granola, and peanut butter all on a tortilla. It was a crowd favorite! Our LODs got us pumped up with yoga lead by Will, and a morning quote given by Ryan. The drive to our kayaking spot was topped off with Davis’ song request for ‘Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride’ which the group loved.
We met with our guides to prepare for the trip in the deep, blue ocean. We maneuvered our kayaks through the clear waters with ease. Mary Skiles and Morgan were absolute naturals. We traveled along the rocky coast with catamarans off in the distance. The snorkel spot was teeming with fish and a few turtles. Corrine and Ren worked on their photography skills making sure capture every moment. On the way back, there was a kayak race with no clear winners but many groups claiming victory. After this, we drove to the other side of the island to check on some beaches. We had a great stop to get fresh fruit and smoothies at a local market. Next, we headed to Baldwin Beach which sparked the interest of the group due to its legacy of body surfing.
With sand on our feet and big smiles we made our way back to camp to clean up and prepare for dinner. Tonight’s cook crew Ren, Corinne, Morgan and Mary Skiles prepared a delicious Italian feast that made everyone beg for seconds. We closed out the day with a sweet Moonup full of stories and laughter. Now we are heading to bed to see what adventures await us in the morning!
We are already so thankful for this group and all they have taught us over the past few days. We cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store!
Miles, Sidney, and Lillian
June 10, 2021
Hello Maui 1C Families!
The whole group arrived safely in Kahului last night, and they are off on their adventure! 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