July 11, 2021
We have had a great final few days with this amazing group of kids. We kicked off the final stretch of our trip with an exciting morning of surfing. With two days of practice under our belts, our whole group was certainly prepared for this morning in the water. Leighton and ST impressed us all with their new surfing skills and were even able to master several tricks on their boards! By the end of the lesson, everyone was able to catch their own wave which was a great way to conclude this section of our trip. After surfing, we headed to our group’s favorite beach, Black Rock Beach, to enjoy another day of massive waves and cliff jumping. Mary, Warren, and I love to watch the laughs and joy that this exciting beach brings our kids every time we visit it. Connor especially loved this beach as he got completely pummelled by each wave and nonetheless, kept a great attitude. Once we wrapped up our afternoon in the sun, we headed back to camp to prepare for our evening traveling up Haleakala volcano for sunset. We packed lots of warm layers and water for the ascent up this 10,000 ft mountain. As we traveled up this incredible landscape, we all took a moment to truly appreciate where we were and take in the beautiful views around us. Gray and Van contributed to this sentimental moment by providing our entire van with some great music filled with classics such as Bohemian Rapsody, a crowd favorite. Once we reached the top of Haleakala we walked a quick half mile to the summit and watched one of the most awe-spiring sunsets in the world. The sky lit up with purples and pinks and the sun slowly descended into the clouds below us. Our whole group was mesmerized by this beautiful view and was able to truly appreciate the beauty of this island. Once we took our final pictures and said our goodbyes to the volcano, we headed down to the van to enjoy some chicken quesadillas under the stars. Connor entertained us all by having a dance party outside of the van and showing off his sweet moves. After a long day, we started the trek back to camp and prepared for another exciting day on the island.
The next morning included some delicious bacon, egg, and cheese english muffins to fuel us before our day out on the water. We made our way over to Makena Bay to start our kayak journey. The moment boats were in the water, the naming began. Pierson and Charlie sailed the Jolly Roger while Leighton and Wells claimed the Mayflower. After many attempts to seize other ships, we arrived at our snorkel spot. The coral here was beautiful and full of friends, including two gorgeous turtles. Charlie spotted the first turtle and watched it sneak into a cave below the water. Following his lead, we all swam down to get a glimpse at the absolutely massive turtle that they found. After loads of fun and finding loads of colorful fish, we made our way back to the bay. We hopped in the car and drove back to Paia to deal with some unfinished business on the basketball court. Both Everett and Polly showed their lights out shooting on the court and helped their teams win. After a nice afternoon on the beach and the court, we made our way over to Kihei to begin our banquet festivities. Rainbow Attic was our diamond in the rough thrift store that gave us the essentials for a fantastic dinner at Fred’s! We all purchased hilarious outfits, including Connor’s fantastic red onesie and Polly’s fabulous nightgown. Once at dinner, Gray and Everett ordered two of the largest burritos I have laid my eyes on and crushed them within minutes. Many laughs were shared throughout the night and we once again realized how special this group was.
The final wakeup was a tough morning, but a great one with Susanna helping lead the charge on some huge chocolate chip pancakes for everyone. Once all packed up, we made our way to a beautiful park to enjoy some lunch and take in the last few hours with each other. After the great conversations and soaking in the great company we had, we made the heartfelt drive to the airport to say our final goodbyes.
As we look back on the past two weeks, Warren, Mary, and I feel so grateful to have shared it with such an amazing group of teenagers. We look forward to seeing where life takes them over the next few years. We know they will do some incredible things! We want to thank you all for giving them the opportunity to spend their summer with us, we have truly had an incredible time getting to know them.
July 8, 2021
Aloha from Maui 5B! We have had quite an exciting past few days and refuse to believe that we only have a several more left together as a group. We kicked off our adventure this week with an exhilarating morning filled with surfing in Kihei. We had a quick lesson on the basics and set off into the water to put our newly acquired skills to the test. From the start, Charlie and Gray impressed us all with their surfing abilities as they quickly stood up and rode the waves all the way into the shore. As the morning progressed, the rest of the group slowly caught on and eventually everyone caught their first wave! In addition to the exciting thrill of riding a smooth swell, our group was lucky enough to also be surrounded by a group of turtles who occasionally popped up right next to our boards. We all loved seeing these magnificent creatures in such close proximity. After our lesson concluded, we headed to Fred’s Café in Kihei to enjoy some local food at the restaurant. We all enjoyed delicious Mexican food and shared our favorite moments from our morning spent in the water. We also enjoyed shopping around Kihei and all ended up with matching puka shell necklaces and anklets to help us remember our adventure together. Next, we headed to Kaanapali to visit the world-famous Black Rock Beach for some epic cliff jumping. Upon our arrival at the beach, all of our group immediately bolted to the ocean to enjoy the ginormous waves. Connor especially enjoyed this beach and gave the group a great laugh as he let himself get pummeled by each massive wave. The cliff jumping was equally as enjoyable as we climbed up the beautiful black rocks and plummeted into the crystal-clear water. After a long beach afternoon, we headed back to the campsite to enjoy some breakfast for dinner. Susanna and Leighton showed off their cooking skills and helped perfect a breakfast hash for the group. After dinner, we quickly met for Moonup and headed to bed with full bellies and tired bodies from our very fulfilling day.
The next morning had us up early to hit the waves in Kanaha Beach for a morning full of windsurfing. We arrived and got set up with some awesome boards and learned the basics before getting with guides to learn in the water. We were all amazed by how difficult this sport was, but we were most amazed by was how much we absolutely crushed learning it. Van was one of the first up on the boards and found himself catching some crazy wind. ST, Leighton, and Polly consisted of the all-star group and were showing off their 360 tricks that had everyone in awe. The conditions made the morning perfect and made getting back to shore a breeze as Connor coasted along the coast back to the starting point, skipping the entire beach walk. After our successful morning at Kanaha Beach, we made our way over to Paia to enjoy some fantastic acai bowls. We perused the streets and found the perfect addition to our sweet van, a gorgeous dancing hula bubblehead girl. Now that we acquired the essentials in Paia, we made our way over to the grocery to split teams and introduce… IRON CHEF! The boys and girls had themselves a battle and came out with only the finest ingredients from Walmart. Once back at camp, Pierson and Everett led the charge in the kitchen for the boys as they grilled their finest steaks and broccoli. The girls on the other hand, were led by Wells and ST as they put their efforts into a fabulous dish of tortellini. After multiple rounds of dishes came out of the bustling kitchen, the scores were tallied, and the winner was decided. It was a tough decision and came down to the wire, but the winner was… THE GIRLS! Their lovely queso appetizer took the win home for them as they got to enjoy their winning prize of a cookies n’ cream cake.
Today we woke up early to for an exciting day of stand-up paddle boarding! We made our way over to Kihei and were pleasantly surprised with huge waves and the decision to surf instead of paddleboard. All of the group was pumped to continue to hone in our surfing skills and get back out on the water. All of our kids today crushed surfing and are excited because tomorrow we are surfing as well. After surfing we went to a town called Lahania and literally shopped until we dropped. We went to this great lunch spot called Captain Jack’s which was a pirate themed lunch spot, which of course the boys loved. When everyone was full from all the burgers and fries, we went shopping some more and got ice cream. After Lahina we went back to the campsite to grab our hotdogs and mac and cheese for dinner before we headed to Big Beach to watch the sunset and have dinner. While we were eating we got to watch the surfers and boogie boarders absolutely crush the huge waves and do some awesome tricks as well. To end our dinner we had some fun camper vs. leader races. After dinner we packed everything up and headed back to camp where we had a relaxing Moonup and everyone went off to bed. We are so excited to see where the last two days will get us! We have truly loved this group and are ready to have a strong finish to our second session trip!
July 5, 2021
We have had the best time on our trip so far. We have loved getting to know each and every one of our students and seeing them grow as a team. We kicked off the morning with our first day of community service which was at Pono grown farms! We actually are with Pono for two days out of our three days we do community service. We got to plant so many seeds, rake beds, and harvest the already ready plants like turmeric, carrots, lettuce, and so much more. Polly and Leighton really took on the role of being leaders during our harvest by showing the group how to wash and dry vegetables. They did a great job!
Connor had great knowledge of the plants and how they were supposed to grow in a climate like Maui. He really took the term green thumb to a whole different level. He really was thriving and I learned so much from him as well, as other group members as well. Pono farms had a great surprise for us during day two that involved an awesome water slide! The kids all loved it, especially Susanna! She had a blast going down it and going with Frances as well. It was a great reward after our two days of staying with our new Pono friends. We loved Pono and the knowledge we learned about plants and harvesting and the friendships we made as well.
Our last and final day of community service was with MOC. This community service project was with the aquarium. We got to pick up micro plastics we found on the beach for the first half of the day. The kids got really involved and made it almost like a treasure hunt. ST crushed it with finding the most plastic and made everyone want to collect more than them. After our lunch break we got to count all of our beach findings and had to chart them. After our beach cleanup our guides took us to the aquarium to go see the sea turtles. Everett and Van also got the chance to feed the coral and learn about how they are being used to restore the local reefs. After wrapping up at the amazing MOC aquarium, we all made our way to a beautiful beach near our campsite to hang on the beach and play some games in the water. Gray, Pierson, and Charlie pulled out the baseball gloves and tossed while a professional game of Marco Polo was occurring in the water, led by Connor and Everett. The day was wrapped up with a fantastic dinner of pad tai and an intense soccer game between Pierson, Warren, ST, and Leighton (the winner is still up for debate).
Today we woke up with great energy and excitement as we celebrated the Fourth of July! We had a quick breakfast before we headed to Walmart to buy some patriotic outfits for the packed day ahead of us. After a successful store run we headed to Sugar beach in our new outfits to enjoy some beach time before we went snorkeling. The day could not have been more perfect as we gazed out into the crystal clear ocean and enjoyed our time together at our little spot on the beach. After a good swim and an energetic dance party on the beach, we headed to the harbor to meet our snorkeling guides.
We all boarded a beautiful yellow boat and set out for Molokini crater. Everyone definitely enjoyed being out on the water and we were all mesmerized by the beauty of this small island. Once at the crater, we jumped right in and snorkeled the backside of Molokini, which we learned is the top ranked scuba diving location in the country! We all took in the beautiful underwater life as we coasted along the coral reef. After our time at Molokini, we hopped over to another popular snorkeling spot to catch even more beautiful scenery. This stop was filled with some great swimming and concluded with an epic dance party to “Party in the USA.” This dance party continued as we started the ride back to the harbor. Wells impressed us all with her incredible dance moves and aux abilities.
Once we arrived at the harbor, we quickly threw on our festive clothing and headed to camp for our Moondance Square dance! We participated in many games, but the fan favorite was definitely the watermelon eating competition. ST and Connor were our contestants and finished in second place! For dinner we enjoyed some great barbecue sandwiches and finished the night with a group dance to “Cotton Eyed Joe.” It was a great day spent celebrating and enjoying our time together as a group. We are so excited for what the next week has in store!
July 3, 2021
Aloha from Maui 5B!
We have had a very exciting start to our trip and are so excited to have 11 great kids safely landed on the island with us. After airport day, we spent our first evening enjoying some delicious pizza from a local restaurant. This was an exciting evening as we all got to know each other and share what we were most excited for during the trip. We had a quick Moonup that night and let everyone head to bed early to prepare for a big day of rainforest rappelling.
The next day, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and lots of smiles as we prepared for our first full day on the island at a group. Our LODs for the day, Van and Polly, helped us cook some delicious crepes and sausages to start off our day. After we all had full bellies we embarked on our first adventure up the road to Hana highway to our rainforest rappelling location. This drive was super exciting as we ascended into the beautiful Maui rainforest. We all had our eyes glued outside the van, mesmerized by all of the beautiful scenery surrounding us.
After our incredible drive, we were ready to tackle the waterfalls. We had a great safety lesson by our guides and then we were off into the canyon! Our first rappel was breathtaking as we learned how to descend into the canyon. We quickly learned that this location was where the opening scene of Jurassic Park was filmed! We continued our descent with two more beautiful rappels into gushing waterfalls. Connor, Wells, and Susanna impressed us all by being incredibly brave and taking all of the hard routes through the waterfalls.
After everyone crushed the challenging day of rappels, we made our way back to camp with the same breathtaking views and topped off the ride with Pierson’s fantastic music taste. Once back at camp, Everett helped spearhead the dinner effort as he chef-ed up some delicious fajita bowls for the entire group.
Morning number two was easier for everyone as we have slowly become adjusted to Maui time. Before we made our way back to the beautiful rainforests for some zip lining, we made our way over to Pa’ia which was a stunning beach where we all got in the water to cool off and have an intense session of chicken fight. Next to the beach was a sweet basketball court where Charlie and ST (Sally Taylor) decided to show everyone up with their lights out shooting and going undefeated.
We went to our incredible zip lining activity after we played a stellar basketball game. We went through all five zip lines with ease. The fifth and final zipline had the best view of all of Maui. It was the longest one as well, lasting a whole minute of just flying through the air. The kids had so much fun today with all the beautiful views and awesome guides. When we got back to camp we all got to meet and hang out with our newest addition Gray! He flew in today and we were so excited to finally meet him and make our Maui family complete.
For dinner Leighton made us a great meal of spaghetti, broccoli, and chicken pesto for dinner. The kids all had a spike ball tournament after dinner before we ended the day with Moonup. We are so excited to get to know each and every student for the next two weeks. We cannot wait to tell you about our next Maui adventure!
-Franny Warren and Mary
June 29, 2021
Hello Maui 5B Families!
We are thrilled to report in that the whole group, except one student arriving tomorrow, 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 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 tomorrow!
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!