June 21, 2022
Our Belize + Costa Rica 1C friends and families –
With the kids now up in the air headed back to their families, we can now confidently say we were so grateful for the opportunity to get to know each and every one of them. Watching them from the first quiet drive out of the Belize City airport to their loud banquet dinner filled with laughs and love was truly a privilege. We hope to have made a beneficial and observable impact on them, but regardless we are happy to say that they have done that for us. Every one of them holds so much potential and we cannot wait to watch how they grow and evolve while cheering them on from the sidelines. We want to say thank you to all the parents who gave us the opportunity to take care of and grow with their children during our two-week adventure. Your children are amazing but all of you are the real superstars! Without you, we would have never had the chance to meet them and for that, we are forever thankful. We hope that you and your families have the opportunity to once again share your wonderful children with us for another trip with Moondance! We hope the remainder of the summer is fruitful for you all and look forward to seeing your children thrive for years to come.
With The Warmest Regards,
Quinlyn, Sergio, and Parker
June 21, 2022
It’s us again!
After our fun and relaxing night in Turrialba, the group was finally ready to transfer out to Buenaventura and begin the service portion of our trip. To make it out there, we had to transfer from our bus with our beloved bus driver, Michael, into 4×4 vehicles for a long dirt road. This was a blast! We then grabbed our duffels and headed across a suspension bridge into a short hike in the jungle. Upon our arrival, we got to work helping to crack, harvest and plant cacao beans. Zyah was ecstatic to hear this was our service work, as she had tried the pulp around the cacao bean on our hike days prior and absolutely loved it. Thus, she was great help when we need to De-pulpify the beans before planting. Meanwhile, Cassie was so pumped to get her hands dirty and exclaimed, “this is so much fun!”. Her and Ben developed a strategic assembly line where Cassie bagged the dirt and Ben planted the seeds. With their teamwork, they planted more seeds than anyone else. Following our planting, the group washed up and headed to our chocolate making class. To begin, we cracked the cacao shells to retrieve the cacao nib. Cal claimed to be cracking at a whopping 37 bpm (beans per minute). With his hard work, we were finished cracking in no time and began to grind the nibs and add the necessary ingredients to melt into delicious dark chocolate.With an early morning and delicious breakfast, the group was off to the El Brujo community to continue our service work. We split up to tackle two tasks: cleaning the school playground in preparation for a new coat of paint and planting coffee bean plants. In our coffee bean group, Lilly showed off her leadership skills as she took initiative and planned an assembly line. Her organization and willingness to get her hands dirty really paid off, as their group quickly completed this task. Despite being done with her task, sweet Mary offered to help the playground group by scrubbing and spraying down the jungle-gym equipment. We have been very impressed with Mary’s selflessness on the trip and are grateful to have her as an example. Meanwhile in the playground group, everyone sectioned off and got to work. Griff’s height was a huge help, as he was the only one who could reach the top of the swing set. His height also proved to be advantageous as he stood in as goalie during our soccer game with the local kids. Also out on the field, we all looked to Taylor as she displayed her soccer skills from her five years of experience. She was one of the few of us who could put up a good fight against the extremely skilled nine-year-old kids. It was a close soccer game (10-10) that came down to penalty kicks. When the game was all wrapped up, the group trekked back to Buenaventura.
The next day we were up and ready for our hike to a full-body avatar mud treatment. Led by our host Harlow and his dog Sky, we made it up the mountain to a beautiful, secluded waterfall. Kate was so excited to jump in that she immediately headed into the refreshing water. We all began to paint ourselves with blue clay that had been harvested from the creek. After painting fun designs on each other and allowing it to dry, we rubbed it off for a full body exfoliation followed by a dip in the waterfall to clean off. Our skin was softer than ever. We then hiked back down and had the opportunity to go on a farm tour from Harlow with a few taste tests: fresh oranges and coconuts. Although we were sad to wave goodbye to Buenaventura, we had to hit the ground running to make it to Uvita beach for our surfing lesson. After some safety precautions and pointers, all our surfers hit the water to catch some gnarly waves. Everyone managed to stand up and ride a wave! After we wrapped up, we returned to our hotel for dinner and a particularly funny Moonup session. We all shared our most embarrassing stories. A group favorite was told by Ryder. Since we already had practice under our belt, the group was ready for our second day of surfing. We got up early and hit the waves. Wyatt was catching waves left and right and impressed the instructors so much that they switched him to a shorter board for “experienced” surfers. Once everyone was tired from surfing, we filled up on breakfast and hit the road for our final activity: Zip Lining! We had ten lines of fun throughout the rainforest. Izzy was speedy and flew down every line while smiling ear to ear. With our last activity complete, it was off to San Jose for our last night together. During a heartfelt Moonup, everyone shared the most impactful moment of the trip and lessons they want to take home with them to everyday life. Ellie was the first to get emotional, and her tearing up created a domino effect for the rest of the group as we all reminisced on our time together and accepted that it was ending. We’ve had such a blast and are going to miss everyone so much!
Adios for now!
Quinlyn, Parker and Sergio
June 17, 2022
After a fun time on our Belize portion of our trip, the group was ready to switch gears and head to Costa Rica! In order to head to Costa Rica, we packed up our things and were off to the airport. On our travel day, we watched Kate attempt to sleep in a hilarious abundance of positions as she tried to get comfy on our flights and the boat rides. We were all thoroughly impressed with Kate’s sleeping capabilities. With this travel came the transportation of our luggage. We were very grateful for our strong boys, Griff and Wyatt, for always lending a helping hand to carry gear bags and/or personal duffels. Lastly, Ellie kept the group entertained on our layovers with some impressive acrobatics, like handstands and back-bends.
We landed in Costa Rica and were headed off to our white-water rafting section! While white-water rafting, we got to encounter level 2 and level 3 rapids that our group handled like pros. In between rapids and fun, we had the opportunity to stop at a sweet swimming hole. Ben led the group and was the first to climb up and slide down the natural waterslide! Everyone followed suit soon after. After the swimming hole we headed back out toward the rapids. We rafted until we finally made it to our Ecolodge for the night where Zyah showed her amazing listening skills and led the group on how to safely exit the raft! We were then kindly greeted by the owner of the Lodge, who gave us a lesson on how all the power and water is provided by a hydroelectric turbine in the river. With the afternoon open, the guides suggested we take a nice hike out to a suspension bridge and another hidden swimming hole. Taylor was a little apprehensive to hike, but soon after was exclaiming how much fun she was having and led the pack all the way to the top. She was such an inspiration to the group; we were very happy to see her lead by example. After returning from our hike, we enjoyed some delicious chicken, rice, and veggies, before we settled down for Moonup. We were proud to see our Leaders-of-the-day, Ryder and Mary, initiate and facilitate a deep conversation that allowed the group to open up and grow closer. Proceeding a sentimental goodnight, the energy picked bac up as Cassie bravely fought off a large bug that creeped into her cabin.
We woke up to the yummy smell of bacon radiating through our cabin. We went down to have a delicious breakfast and learned that the rain the night before had risen the water levels to high for us to continue rafting. Instead, the group conquered their fears and set out on a 6-kilometer hike. Izzy was a happy camper as she kept spirits high as the caboose. With her help and everyone else’s determination, we completed the tough hike and enjoyed lunch at a beautiful butterfly farm. Next, we were headed to Turrialba to explore the Costa Rican culture. We stopped for ice cream and ventured around town for some souvenirs. June lived up to its reputation as rainy month here in Costa Rica, as it began to shower on us mid-shopping. Through all the rain Lilly remained a ray of sunshine, as she pushed everyone to keep exploring town, regardless of the rain. Cal kept everyone laughing with his hilarious and random punchlines: like telling us his spirit animal is a cow and making sure everyone knew their spirit animal. We continued to walk around town with an array of animal sounds infiltrating the air, as everyone embraced their spirit animal.
Adios for now!
Parker, Quinlyn and Sergio
Ryder: Hello father, we have just began car ride to do our service project. I would like to ensure everyone back home that I’m thinking of them and happy Father’s Day
Kate: Hi Mom and Dad, I’ve been having so much fun. Love and miss you guys so much. Happy Father’s Day Dad I can’t wait to see you!
Wyatt: Hey Mom and Dad, I’m having a great time so far. I hope all is well at home without me and Happy Fathers Day Dad!
Lilly: Hey Parentals!! I’m having a blast out here. Tell Ben that I miss him tons. Can’t wait to see you guys! Happy almost Father’s Day! love you
Zyah: Hey mom and dad! I miss you guys but I’m having fun! Tell amara that i said happy bday and sawyer that i said hi. Can’t wait to see you both and happy early Father’s Day! Love you guys
Mary: Henry!! I miss you more than anything and I can’t wait to show you the present I got… Tell dad happy Father’s Day and mom not to cry too much over missing me. I love you and I can’t wait to tell you about the road sloth i just saw!
Ellie: Hi mom and dad! I miss you so much! I’m having an amazing time and I’ve seen so many cool things and tried lots of new fruits I really liked. Happy early Father’s Day, and I can’t wait to tell you all about scuba diving! I love you!
Cal: Hi Mom and Dad I miss you guys a lot and am having a lot of fun. i love you
Ben: Hey Mom and Dad, I miss y’all a lot and having an amazing time on this trip. I love you
Cassie: Hey miss y’all! I’m having so much fun. Love you and happy Father’s Day –
Griff: Happy farther day miss y’all love you. having fun
Tay: Hey mom and dad, happy early Father’s Day. I know your probably missing me so much because i miss y’all to. Having so much fun, can’t wait to see you. See if Libby can come to the airport.
Izzy: Hey mom and dad I’m having so much fun love and miss y’all also happy early Father’s Day dad
June 14, 2022
Hello BCR 1C friends and family!
We’re having an absolute blast with your kiddos so far. Here’s a bit about what we’ve been up to:
Once everyone arrived in the Belize City Airport, we were off to hop on a ferry ride out to our scuba location for the week. Cassie and Ryder kept spirits high with their great attitudes after being splashed with tons of salty sea spray on our choppy boat ride out to Long Caye. As a result, they were elected to be and did an awesome job as Leaders-of-the-Day (LODs) for our first full day as a group! Everyone was grateful for Cassie’s sweet demeanor and Ryder’s informative history lessons. As we started our scuba lessons in shallow waters, the kids’ personalities started to shine through. Mary meticulously hunted for any cool sea creature or shell on the ocean floor and happily shared her finds with anyone close by—some standouts included sand dollars, a mantis shrimp, and tons of conch shells. Griff proved to be just as high energy under the sea as he is on land. He had everyone in his scuba group flipping with joy as he quite literally kept backflipping and cracking jokes underwater. Everyone completed their confined water skills, such as clearing their masks and regulator recovery, as if they were pros. Our amazing diving instructors Mario and Ruth told us they had trained plenty of adults who couldn’t perform as well as the kids had!
During our time in later afternoons, you could either find the group lounging in their Eno hammocks strung between the palm trees or running around playing games. Ellie’s athletic ability was showcased during our heated beach volleyball tournament. As an actual volleyball player, she offered tips and impressed the group with her awesome passes and sets. To wind down on a positive note, we always gathered on the beach or at the end of the pier for some reflection via Moonup. Moonup is a nightly tradition here at Moondance where we reflect on the amazing day we had, get closer as a group, practice leadership skills, and discuss the day ahead. During a lovely We had our very first Moonup under the stars, as the group discussed t, “what would you buy if you won the lottery?” After hearing Cal answer that he’d “become Batman,” the group is entirely convinced Cal is actually Batman and is hiding his batsuit somewhere in that duffel—the silent but deadly hero.Next, the group was ready for the real-deal scuba dives.
After visiting Julie’s Jungle and Root Reef, Lilly expressed her love of the underwater charades she played with her dive master to spot and identify her underwater animal encounters. Some of the favorite sea creatures her scuba group found were spotted drum fish, a green moray eel, and a reef shark. Although he couldn’t equalize due to congestion and sadly couldn’t complete our last dive, Wyatt stayed positive and helped seek out a nurse shark during our snorkel session at Half Moon Caye. After spotting it he exclaimed, “I didn’t even have to dive to see a shark!” While taking a break from the water and exploring the island of Half Moon Caye, Ben and Zyah happily gathered, cracked, and shaved fresh coconuts with the help of our dive guides. After enjoying some themselves, they gladly brought more of the popular commodity to share with everyone else—we are so grateful for our selfless helpers! The group also got to peer out over the nesting area of the Red-Footed Booby Bird; As we learned, Half Moon Caye was originally a bird sanctuary for the Booby’s before the beautiful surrounding reefs were discovered.
When we woke up to rain on our last morning in Belize, the group improvised with an assortment of fun games like Pterodactyl and Shmotus. Izzy was always quick to be eliminated—the games require that you don’t show your teeth—and she couldn’t help but smile. Although she was out the rest of the group loved having her smiling face around to brighten all other times of the day! Once the rain was passed, the group embarked on a fishing trip to catch dinner. Taylor and Kate were the last to have something bite their lines, but through their perseverance they each pulled up two impressive fish—one of which was a beautiful and protected parrot fish which we released back into the ocean.
It has been a busy and awesome first few days of the trip. Every day has brought excitement, many smiles, endless laughs, and lifelong memories. We cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip holds – thank you for sharing your sweet kids with us!
Until next time,
June 8, 2022
Hello Belize + Costa Rica Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Belize City. 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!