July 11, 2021
Aloha Maui 5A families,
We want to thank you all again for sharing your kids with us over the past two weeks. We loved getting to know each and every one of them and hope they will all return home with stories of their new friendships and adventures in Maui.
The last few days of the trip began with a scenic drive to our rappelling activity deep in the rainforests of the North Shore of Maui. We traveled on the famous “Hana Highway” before reaching the Garden of Eden, our scenic waterfall rappelling spot. Although this activity was quite daunting at first, all of our kids made it down the three steep rappels into the crystal-clear spring water that flowed from the top of Haleakala. Both Carly and Caroline showed no fear as they quickly made their way down to the bottom of each cliff. Charles also took the challenge head on and was able to exemplify his love for big rocks and freshwater by taking the toughest route to the bottom straight through the waterfall. After working up a large appetite, the kids planned and created their own menus for our girls vs. boys iron chef competition later that evening. On the way home from this activity, the kids stopped at the grocery store to gather all of the materials they needed for their meals. The girls team prepared a chicken Parmesan dish with homemade chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. Carson also won over the judges with her special concoction of passionfruit and guava juice. The boys chose to make pulled pork sandwiches, French fries, Carmel apple soup, and a delicious vegetable medley including: Lima beans, green beans, and corn. Baker even bought us an apple pie and topped it with whipped cream! We were especially impressed with Will’s hospitality towards the judges and Miller’s ability to make homemade Carmel. Although we thoroughly enjoyed both team’s meals, the girls took the victory with a 2-1 vote.
We woke up the next morning full of excitement and sadness as it was our last full day. We drove to surfing and listened to all of our favorite songs to pump us up! Emma was not afraid to belt out the lyrics to her favorite Taylor Swift songs. When we got in the water, it was clear the group wanted to make the most out of our last activity. Smith showed off his new skills and caught wave after wave and Sophie also accomplished her goal of catching a wave without a helping push from the instructors! After surfing, we explored the small surf town of Kihei. The kids ventured through the local markets to find little treasures and keepsakes that would remind them of their time in Maui. We also went to a local thrift shop to pick up funny outfits that would be worn later that night at our final banquet. Bryan purchased some jean short—or “jorts”—and has refused to take them off since. Kennedy and Carson were posing as runaway brides, buying old wedding dresses for only one dollar. When we returned to the campsite, the group prepared for our journey to the top of the island for a sunset picnic on the top of Haleakala. When we reached the top of the volcano, the kids put on their thrifted outfits and enjoyed the stellar views of the island. As we drove down in silence, each of us took time to reflect on our past two weeks on this beautiful island.
Today was tough as we waited for the inevitable and finally said our last goodbyes at the Kahului airport this afternoon. We were so lucky to have such an incredible group of kids—we already miss them so much! We can’t wait to see what life has in store for them next.
Until we meet again,
Owen, Mary Clarke, and Maggie
July 8, 2021
Since our last update, we have been working hard and have just completed the service section of our trip! After a week of thrilling activities, our group spent the last three days working with the local community and learning more about Hawaiian culture, sustainable agriculture, and the effects of pollution on the Pacific Ocean (and everything inside it)! Maggie, Mary Clarke, and I could not be happier with this group of kids. Their enthusiasm, respectfulness, and maturity made work seem like play—while making a difference and learning more about the planet we all inhabit. It was truly incredible to watch them attack this challenge head on and come closer with each other during the process.
We spent the first two days of this section at the Pono Grown Farm Center—a local non-profit focused on farming the ‘Pono’ Way (with righteousness). Our first day started with a presentation from our host, Evan, on Hawaiian history, culture, and the concept of Earth stewardship. Kennedy was an absolute rockstar answering questions and she really set the tone for a great session! Next, we learned how to weed and prep beds for the planting we would get to do the next day. Sophie and Charles showed great enthusiasm for learning each and every aspect of the process and Miller became a pro-forker by the end of the day! Mary Clarke kept the whole group on their toes with her incredible riddles (although, I think some of us still may be a little confused). When we got back to camp, Bryan and Carly fed us all with their delicious personal pizzas!
The next day our LODs, Baker and Kennedy, kept our whole group energized with their positive attitudes and big smiles as we learned how to plant fennel, carrots, beans, and more! Just as they had done the day before, Carson and Bryan took advantage of every moment on the farm to have great conversations—not only with members of our group, but with members of the Pono team as well! Because of the kid’s effort and attentiveness, we finished up work a little early and got to enjoy an awesome slip-n-slide! Caroline, Emma, and Charles took full advantage of this bonus adventure as they slid down time and time again! It was such a joy to see all of those big smiles after a long two days of work.
Today, we met Hunter from the Maui Ocean Center at Kanaha Beach Park for our final leg of service! We helped pick up trash and micro-plastic along the beach, recorded information about basking sea turtles we saw, and learned how even the smallest changes in our daily lives can make a big difference when it comes to helping the environment. Sophie, again, led by example and was such a huge help all morning long picking up trash and Smith was right there next to her helping, learning, and asking some incredible questions. During our lunch break, Will and Caroline led the group in an awesome volleyball game which really rallied everyone’s spirits. To end the activity, our guide had us reflect and talk about ways we can reduce our waste—Carly and Emma gave thoughtful answers which provided the perfect ending to our service section!
To celebrate, we headed back to Pa’ia for some shopping, gelato, and beach time! Jonas Hill, a Moondance #LeaderLegend, met us at Baby Beach to hang out and take some videos—only to be convinced by our group to come back to Camp Olowalu with us for dinner and Moonup! Bryan and the rest of the all-star cook crew cheffed up Jonas’s specialty: fajitas!
We have an incredible group of kids with us here in Maui. Thank you so much for trusting us with them. It has truly been a pleasure to watch them come together as a group and we’re going to cherish every last moment we get with them!
Until next time,
Maggie, Owen, and Mary Clarke
July 5, 2021
Since last checking in, the MAU 5A gang has been hitting the water—and the rainforest—with four days full of adventure! After breaking through the ice over the first few days, we have become a very tight knit group—getting closer and closer with each activity we tackle! We can’t believe that we have already reached the halfway point of our trip. Time is truly flying by over here in paradise!
We started this section of our trip with some surfing in Kihei. We were lucky enough to have this activity right as a big swell hit Maui, so the waves were absolutely perfect. All thanks to our awesome guides—everyone on our trip was catching huge waves by the end of the session. Carly was a natural on the surfboard and looked like a pro out there in the waves. Another all-star shoutout goes to Kennedy, who was a little fearful of the surf at first but ended the lesson yearning for more big waves to catch. We had an incredible morning on the water together!
Next, we hit up a local beach for some cliff jumping! Bryan led the crew, eagerly searching for the biggest cliffs that were safe to jump off of. After finding some cool spots, Charles impressed the group with his gnarly backflips into the water. This group’s hunger for adventure was shining brightly during this activity!
The next day we hit the water again—this time for some windsurfing! The winds were strong and provided great conditions for us. Baker utilized his skater skills and was killing it on the windsurfing board from the start! The kids loved trying this challenging new water sport, and the guides were impressed with all of their athletic ability out there in the wind! After this, we headed over to the small surfer town of Pa’ia and had some delicious açai bowls for lunch. Then we ended the day with a nice boys v girls game of basketball! Caroline shined for the girls’ team—using her baller skills and leading the girls team to victory!
After surfing and windsurfing, we completed our 3-day water-sport extravaganza with a morning of stand-up paddle boarding! Our leaders of the day, Baker and Sophie fearlessly led our team out into the open ocean on our paddle boards. The winds were still pretty strong from the big swell that had just rolled in, but the kids were all-stars in the water paddling against them. Safe to say that everyone got their workout in that morning! Smith was especially excited to be out there on the water and was a beast on the board. The highlight of this activity was definitely the sea turtles, or “Honos” (Hawaiian for sea turtles), that we got to get up close and personal with!
After our 3 days of water activities, we woke up on the 4th of July—full of American pride—and excited to tackle our next adventure: ziplining! We started the day with some pancakes, which were cooked to perfection by Miller. Then, we headed to Piiholo Ranch for some ziplining! Will was the hype-man of the group throughout this activity, making sure everyone knew how to be the most aerodynamic and catch the most speed!
After a day full zipping through the rainforest, we headed to a “Hoedown Throwdown” 4th of July celebration with the other 4 Maui groups! At the cookout, Bryan and Carson carried our team to victory in a watermelon eating contest! We continued to celebrate America’s birthday with other fun games and lots of music and dancing—Emma kept the team up-beat and having a blast throughout! We ended the night with a delicious barbecue dinner and a Moonup underneath the fireworks! This 4th of July was definitely a memorable one for all of us.
These past few days have been such a blast, and we can only imagine how much more fun is in store for us during the final week of our adventure! This group is thriving together—it’s so hard to believe we all met just one week ago. Being in this place, with these people, truly is paradise on Earth!
Below are some shout-outs from your incredible kids!
Until next time,
Mary Clarke, Maggie, and Owen
Bryan- Hey mom and dad I miss you. I hope y’all are having fun without me there. Can’t wait to see y’all but I don’t want to leave!
Carson- Hey y’all, miss and love you guys. I hope Marshall is having fun at Tybee. I am having so much fun here! Sending love!
Smith- Hey mom and dad, Maui is super fun and surfing is the best. Can’t wait to see y’all.
Sophie – Hey guys miss you so much but still having fun! Love you!
Charles – Hey mom and dad, I sent you a postcard! I’m having fun. We just finished ziplining. I’ll see you soon!
Emma- Hey mom and dad, I am having so much fun in Maui, but I still miss y’all! See y’all in a week. Love you!
Caroline- Hey mom and dad! I am having the best time in Maui! I miss y’all and am excited to see you next week. Love you!
Miller- Hey guys I miss you, but Hawaii is better than Atlanta. I hope you had fun the two days you were here without me. I can’t wait to see y’all again soon.
Baker – Hey Mom and Dad, I am having so a bunch of fun in Maui and miss y’all. Can’t wait to see y’all soon.
Carly- Hey family!!!! I miss y’all so much and hope you all had fun at the beach, but Maui is so great!! Can’t wait to see y’all in a few days. Love you guys!!
Kennedy – Hey Momma and Dad! I hope y’all had a good fourth. I think this past week has been one of the best of my life and I still have one more ahead of me. I’ll see y’all soon. Love and miss u
Will- Hey mom and dad. I hope y’all are doing well. I am having a great time in Maui and netting lots of new people. I loved snorkeling in this crater thing. I saw Lilian at a Fourth of July party. Tell Rand I said wassup from Hawaii. Love y’all.
July 1, 2021
We’ve had a great first few days on the beautiful island of Maui! After a long day of waiting for everyone to arrive at the Kahului airport, we picked up some local Hawaiian pizza and made our way to our beautiful home for the next two weeks! There, we played some perfectly awkward, but fun, ice breaker games led by Mary Clarke and then we all gathered on the beach for our first Moonup!
The next morning, after some delicious Davis wraps, we headed to the beach to meet our sea kayaking guide Griff—a legendary former Moondance leader turned local Hawaiian and Aloha Kayaks outfitter who gave us an incredible introduction to the island, Hawaiian culture, and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The kids took the ocean by storm and set out to find as many sea turtles as possible! Our first two LODs were Carson and Will who fearlessly led the group from spot to spot as we searched for the most visible water in South Maui. It was such a great way to start our adventure!
After a morning of kayaking and snorkeling, we headed to a beach park in Kihei for a picnic lunch, a game of touch football, and a cup of famous Maui gelato! Smith (“Smitty”) led his team to victory on the gridiron, while Emma led the rest of the girls to a beautiful spot on the beach for some much-deserved relaxation! When we got back to camp later in the afternoon, everyone worked together to find their perfect Eno spot! Just as Bryan, Charles, Carly, and Caroline were about to finish preparing some delicious tacos, Kennedy arrived to complete our group! She had no trouble fitting right in and injected a lot of energy into our MAU 5A squad!
Today, we woke everyone up before the sunrise, hurried to the van, and drove to meet our Redline Rafting snorkeling guides for an incredible day exploring Molokini Crater. Sophie was a dolphin in the water, exploring every coral reef in sight. We saw sea turtles, octopuses, eels, and more! Baker was a rockstar on the boat rides out there—and back—and loved bouncing around on the sides of the boat over the big ocean waves. After our snorkeling adventure, we headed to Iao Valley Park for a small afternoon hike. There, we learned some more about Hawaiian sacred land and explored the rocky river flowing down the valley. Then, we returned back to camp to start preparing dinner, and Miller even surprised us with some coconut water he had scavenged himself from our campsite!
We absolutely love this group of kids and are so excited to see how our journey will unfold. Mahalo (thank you) for trusting us and sharing them with us—we are SO excited for the next two weeks!
Owen, Mary Clarke, and Maggie
June 29, 2021
Hello Maui 5A Families!
We are thrilled to report in that the whole group, except one student arriving late tonight, arrived safely in Maui last night. They enjoyed a night of well-deserved rest together at their campsite and are going to hit the ground running this morning! We have heard from our leaders, Owen Roberts, Mary Clarke Wallace, and Maggie Masterson, this morning that the trip is off to a great start and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure. They are most excited to meet their last group member later on today!
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips, but we post 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 follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!