July 7, 2022
Surfs up in Pacifica!!!!!!
We woke up to the gorgeous blue waves and salty breeze of Half Moon Bay. The beach is about 50 feet away from our tents so it’s literally a dream to wake up to. Today marks the day that a lot of the girls have been STOKED for… surfing!!!!! We started the misty morning off with yummy eggs and hashbrowns. Ella and Hannah graciously cleaned up bfast and then we hit the road. We arrived in Pacifica and the girls gasped at the fancy Taco Bell that sits on the beach!
We met our instructors, James and Russ, by the ocean where we were all fit into our very own personalized wetsuits! Ella got up on her very first try, setting the stage for the rest of the group. Shortly after, Vivi took the waves to storm, already showing off some perfect form for her very first time surfing. Hannah was yet another surfing goddess, getting up on every single one. It was insane the amount of waves she caught in such a short period of time. Abby was right there with them hopping up on every wave, once again another member of the girl squad who’s so tiny but mighty. Liddy posed for some pics when she caught her waves, while Asa and Lillian kept their faces of strict determination. Hannah and Vivi caught a wave side by side representing these girls’ ability to stay together during anything. Anna took action pics of some hilarious wipeouts. Overall, it was a GNARLY day of surfing. Afterward, Hannah and Liddy finally bought the Taco Bell shirts they were saving their $$ for and Carter introduced the girls to Baja Blast! Abby tried Doritos locos taco thanks to Liddy, and the girls jammed to the restaurant’s pump-up music. The girls were ready to head back and have a faucet SHOWER PARTAYYY… Anna’s favorite pastime is now theirs as well. For dinner, we introduced the kids to the greatest Moondance tradition of all time… IRON CHEF circa 2022!!!! Hannah, Lillian, and Asa took on Abby, Liddy, Ella, and Vivi to an intense cook-off. They had ample time to make a game plan for their dishes and then raced each other to grab ingredients. The girls are judged for display and presentation, creativity, and taste. Time was up and the judging commenced. Hannah, Lillian, and Asa’s group (Beaners) started with an appetizer of black bean dip and chips, whereas Abby, Liddy, Ella, and Vivi (Italifornians) introduced crisped bread and Italian dipping sauce. For the main course, the Beaners made Mac n cheese burritos, and the Italifornians made homemade Mac n cheese with chicken fingers and breadcrumbs. For overall taste and display, the Italifornians won, but the Beaners were voted most creative. Both groups shared their delicious creations with each other and were all so proud of how far their cooking skills have come! We ended the night with another wonderful Moonup on the beach led by Lillian and Ella.
The next morning was a little less foggy and the girls woke up ready for cleaning day! After helping out in the UHaul and Van, we hit the road for surfing day 2. All the girls successfully got up on their surfboards and learned some new techniques and tricks from our instructors. The instructors kept saying how impressed they were with this group for picking up surfing so fast and catching SO MANY waves. Lillian, Ella, and Hannah stayed until the very last minute of our lesson never wanting to say goodbye to the ocean. Finally, we made our way back to camp to chill and prepare for BANQUET night!!! We arrived in style to the restaurant, bathing suits on top of Taco Bell t-shirts, unicorn hats, and lots of spunk!! After stuffing ourselves with a DELISH final meal, we topped it off with ice cream, and concluded day 13 with a wonderful, reflective Moonup.
We have had the absolute ‘trip of a lifetime’ with these kiddos and tears are being shed at the airport currently. We are confident that these bonds are going to last forever and are so lucky to have had such a perfect group for our first trip session. We can’t wait for you to hear about their memories, stories, highs, lows, and BUFFALOS!!!!!
Until next time,
Anna Barkley and Carter Bowles
July 5, 2022
Hi again, this time from the COAST!!
The temperature in Olema has dropped 30° from our last spot, with some cloudy mist and majestic trees surrounding our beautiful campground. Liddy, Hannah, and Abby pulled out their beanies and the girls cozied up in their hammocks right away, talking, laughing, and loving the change of scenery. Our time together is winding down and we are getting really sad. The girls forcefully give Carter a big bear hug every morning, as well as to each other throughout the day trying to hold onto all the awesome memories we have shared and bonds we’ve formed. Our first morning in Olema was one for rest!! The girls slept in this am after nonstop go go go the past week. Abby and Asa led the group in cooking chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and Vivi made her “gusher” pancake again. Meanwhile, Ella and Hannah graciously made everyone’s sandwiches for lunch. With a full night’s rest and lots of chocolate for bfast, we headed out to explore Point Reyes National Seashore. Ella and Hannah found some beautiful horses while Lillian and Asa explored the park’s visitor center and learned all about the wildlife around us. We took a lengthy hike to the beach for lunch and immediately Vivi and Ella ran into the water to play “tag” with the waves. Abby, Liddy, and Asa pretended to be mermaids while Hannah and Lillian found some oyster shells and crabs! We spotted some adorable sea lions and frolicked around on the beach for a while until we had to pry them away from the ocean and get started on our hike back. This hike was a LOT further than we expected… these girls SLAYED, CRUSHED, and ACCOMPLISHED 10 MILES. 10!!!!! We are tired. You wouldn’t think it because of how much energy the girls have and their constant positivity and laughter make it all so happy and fun no matter what. So, we surprised them with a well-deserved dinner at California’s infamous In-N-Out burger. The girls screamed with excitement when we pulled into the parking lot and they quickly devoured burgers, fries, and milkshakes, saving their In-N-Out hats and menus as souvenirs. They sang their hearts out with their post-dinner energy on the drive home. Liddy and Asa, our LODs, ended an extremely impressive day with what roles we play in our families and what we are most grateful for about being on this trip. These girls’ energy is contagious and we couldn’t be prouder of how hard they worked today, always keeping a positive attitude, no complaints, and still finding a way to laugh hysterically and be crazy at 9 pm. Their conversations are not only endless but also really special to watch a group get along so amazingly. They should be really proud of themselves and are simply the BEST.
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!! Whooooppp whoooop, peace love USA!! The girls were stoked this morning for a full day of celebration!! We started the day off in style, decked out in beads, hats, and all things red, white, and blue. We packed up camp and hit the road for SAN FRANCISCO. We stopped at a great viewpoint of the Golden Gate Bridge and then headed into Sausalito for a town visit. Sausalito was great for some shopping therapy. Vivi and Asa made sure to get gifts for their family, while Ella tried to buy the world’s smallest pig which Liddy talked her out of. However, Ella and Hannah combined bought 6 super cool t-shirts. After some yummy lunch and celebratory ice cream, we headed to our campsite in Half Moon Bay which sits right on the beach. We continued the celebration with TIE DYING t-shirts, especially Lillian who chose red, white, and blue colors. Ella and Hannah then sprinted to the chilly water and convinced all the girls to jump in. Other beach goers looked at our girls in awe because they stayed in the frigid ocean for so long… of course with the biggest smiles and laughter. Vivi and Liddy practiced swimming like mermaids and Abby played with some tiny clear jellyfish. Asa and Abby both got pummeled by waves while Hannah body surfed every single one… hilarious. After the girls warmed up, we got ready for the most challenging, competitive, and biggest competition of 2022… the annual WATERMELON eating contest. The girls stuffed their faces with watermelon but the ultimate winner, the speediest of them all was none other than ELLA!!!! Abby and Lillian swore off watermelon afterward, however continued to devour more during dinner. For dinner, we naturally had to have a cookout— burgers, hotdogs, mac n cheese, baked beans, chips, pickles, and more watermelon. Abby and Liddy were the grill masters, flipping burgers and hotdogs left and right for everyone. Asa and Ella worked on the mac n cheese and beans, and soon enough we scarfed down an incredible dinner together. Even though there was no more room to eat in our bellies, we topped off dinner with delicious and festive frosted cookies. The girls cleaned up dinner with food comas but the games and laughter never stop with this crew! They sang songs in their hammocks and swung around like monkeys. We headed to the beach with our glow stick necklaces and ran around until it was time for Moonup to commence. Abby and Vivi concluded an amazing and PATRIOTIC day as LODs, wrapping up our first night by the ocean, salt in the air, and a perfect ocean breeze to put us to sleep.
There’s so much sadness being at our last campground however the girls are beyond excited about surfing tomorrow. Lillian and Abby are determined to catch a wave and Hannah cannot wait to buy a Taco Bell t-shirt. Updates to come…
Happy Fourth of July to EVERYONE!!! These girls know how to PARTY in the USAAAA.
Anna and Carter
July 2, 2022
Upon arrival to our next campsite, the girls were gushing over the “cute mountain town” Athena, that offered them timeless showers. They began appreciating ALL Athena had to offer, realizing it was the little things we take for granted. That day, Abby started a game of ‘Statues in the Garden’, testing Lillian’s poker face and Vivi’s model poses. Abby and Asa, the leaders of the day (LOD), ended the night discussing embarrassing stories, and ways to overcome fears and challenges that may arise! As the night wrapped up, we, the leaders once again were inspired by the girl’s wisdom and ability to self reflect.
The next day it was, Hannah’s day. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNAH!!!!! We woke up the birthday princess with music, her favorite breakfast, and lots of games before we hit the American River for white water rafting. Liddy and birthday girl, Hannah, were their raft’s leaders up at the front, setting the pace and cohesiveness for Abby, Lillian, and Anna. Liddy and Abby set the mood as they sang, Tswift’s ‘All Too Well’ 10 minute version. In the second raft, Asa and Ella led Vivi and Carter, where they debated which fruit matched their personalities.
Everyone jumped into the American River whenever they got the chance to cool off from the hot California sun. But as Liddy reminded us, no humidity! Lillian peacefully floated down the rapids while Asa managed to float so fast she caught up to one of our guides, who was practicing his strokes. Ella laughed her way down the rapids as she scared away the cows we saw and Vivi cheered her on. When they arrived to lunch, where Abby and Liddy devoured dill pickle potato chip, before the group joined together for a swim into an ‘eddy’. An ‘eddy’ is when the water floats you down the river but then it spirals and floats you all the way back up. Vivi and Ella attached themselves to Liddy and Asa, screaming happily both ways. Our first day of rafting concluded with the conquering of a class 3 rapid called Hospital Bar. We screamed and laughed throughout the rapid, only to reassure ourselves that today’s rafting was the groups favorite activity. After rafting, we were treated to warm showers back at the campsite as well as a DIVINE dinner cooked up by our outfitters: steak, pastas, chicken, roasted peppers, salad, bread, and strawberry shortcake. For the birthday girl, we celebrated with a green monster cake, which she blew out “14” candles to end an awesome day on the river.
The next morning, we were treated to a gourmet breakfast buffet made by our rafting guides. The girls filled up on eggs, sausage, avocado toast, fruit, coffee cake, and hot chocolate! On our second day of white water rafting, we hopped back in the rafts with extra sunscreen to take on new class 3 rapids. Abby and Lillian took the front of raft 1, and Vivi and Ella took the front of raft 2. Every girl was a brave soul as they got splashed and bounced around on some of our favorite rapids like “Meatgrinder” and “Trouble maker”. It was another fun filled day on the river and Liddy and Ella’s favorite activity thus far! After rafting, we were sad to leave, but we piled into the van and hit the road for our next campsite. The girls wanted their favorite meal of spaghetti and Cesar salad. However, Liddy offered up a twist. Liddy inspired the group to make it “Gigi Hadid style”, which involves a knock-off pasta vodka sauce. After getting fancy in the kitchen, our power duo LODs, Hannah and Ella, ended our jam-packed day with a lovely Moonup.
We can’t wait for the rest of our adventures on the coast with this girl gang!
Until next time,
Anna and Carter
The girls wanted to send a big THANK YOU!!!!
Asa: Thank you so so much mom and dad for letting me go on this trip! I have made sooo many memories and acquired many new skills thatI cannot wait to show you!! Love you, miss you, and see you soon!
Liddy: Hey mom and dad! Thank you so so much for letting me do Moondance! I have had so much fun and made such amazing memories! I miss you guys! Love you!!
Abby: Thank you soooo much for letting me come to camp!!!! I’ve Had SOOO much fun, met the most amazing people and made the most amazing memories here! I am so happy you had the idea for me to come here! THANK YOU SO MUCH and I love you!!!!!
Vivie: thank u so much mom and dad for letting me come to this amazing camp! I have had so much fun with everyone here, I have made the best memories here, can’t wait to see u guys and tell u everything!! See u soon and love ya!!
Ella: Thank you so so much mom and dad for letting me do this trip! It’s been so amazing, I’ve been having so much fun with everyone, and honestly don’t want to leave! We’ve done so many cool things and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! I love you!
Hannah: Thank u guys so much for letting me come on this amazing trip! It’s been awesome and I can’t wait to tell u guys about everything! Love u guys
Lillian: Thank you so much for letting me come to Moondance! It’s absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Love you!
June 30, 2022
Hellooooo from YOSEMITE!!! (heart eyes)
After arriving to our campsite right outside Yosemite, the girls hopped out of the van and immediately started exploring. Lillian led the group through a beaten path towards the gorgeous turquoise lake, where Ella and Hannah found a big rock to climb. Hannah taught the group how to play Blackjack with rocks, while Vivi made friends with some chipmunks. Liddy and Vivi, the LODs, concluded the day with a fun Moonup discussing pet peeves as well as how we want to grow internally and bring back home after our time in California. We love how self-reflective and responsible this group is already on night 3.
We woke up to a cloudless sky and HOT temps so we hit the road early for Yosemite Valley where we hiked 6 fabulous miles to Vernal Falls/Mist trail and back. The girls traveled as one big clump, always staying together and chatting which was quite impressive. We mastered ~700 steps up to the top of the waterfall, where we were greeted by an awesome rainbow and mist to cool us off. Lillian took some sick pictures of the views and Asa suggested we have another photoshoot. At lunch, Liddy, Asa, and Abby taught the group the 7 Leave No Trace principles while Vivi and Ella led the group with most Oreos eaten. We made our trek back down the mountain which was super speedy— these girls keep surprising us with their positivity, work ethic, and eagerness to try new things. Nonetheless, we had to visit the Yosemite Village Store after for some well-deserved ~shopping~. Liddy and Abby bought powdered sugar for oranges … some trend that Carter and Anna simply don’t understand. Ella graciously shared her beef jerky with the group while Hannah stuck to buying her favorite snack, MUNCHIES. The girls were so ecstatic after these snacks however the hike caught up with them in the van and everyone was soon shut eyed and drooling. Back at the campsite, Anna and Lillian had a shower party at the faucet while the other girls sprinted over to the public showers… maybe even faster than the hike. After feeling like new refreshed people, we had a make your own PIZZA night!!!!! The girls devoured their homemade pies, as Ella cackled with Liddy, Hannah, and Carter about naan bread, and Abby, Vivi, and Asa tried their oranges and powdered sugar creation. Lillian and Ella, our LODs, led Moonup to reflect on an incredible day.
We were back up and at ‘em to kick off day 5. Day 5 for a lot of the girls is an exciting one to face fears and try something completely new… ROCK CLIMBING. Vivi was the first to try climbing and made it up easily with the help of Abby as her belayer. This duo crushed all 3 rocks we climbed. Similarly, Lillian, Hannah, and Ella breezed through all 3 routes together, making it to the top each time. Asa successfully belayed for Carter with Liddy as her backup belayer. These girls continue to amaze us as they pick up on new things SO fast with such grace and ease. Back at the campsite, we had an afternoon to relax on the beach by the lake. We learned that our campsite I s higher in elevation than the big hike we completed so Asa led the group in chugging water for extra hydration. For dinner, Liddy, Abby, Ella, and Vivi chefed up Pad Thai, a delicious ramen inspired meal with broccoli. The girls all thoroughly enjoyed trying Hannah’s impossible burger while they played some more Blackjack. Tonight’s fabulous Moonup was led by LODs Asa and Hannah where we discussed the roles each of us contribute to our group’s dynamic.
The next morning, Asa and Anna took a nice morning stroll and once everyone else was awake, we hit the road for our second day of rock climbing. For our second day, we used our skills from yesterday to climb some more challenging rocks. First, we learned how to rappel down the mountain which Abby volunteered to try first. Abby also was the first to climb a more challenging rock route, showing some great ‘Expedition Behavior’ and leadership. She was belayed by Vivi and Hannah who then climbed the rock right after her. Liddy joked about how clumsy she is, however contradicted herself with some impressive climbing getting far out of her comfort zone once again. Vivi loves to chat while she climbs, always smiling through each challenge, while Lillian also has an amazing elegance to her climbing making it really fun to watch. Asa climbed up a really big rock solely for a photoshoot, but she stuck to her goals and conquered them. Hannah belayed for literally everyone with Lillian as the backup belayer. Ella was right there with them, once again completing the power trio who mastered all three routes. Hannah’s favorite climbing move was nicknamed the “tree hugger” which looks exactly how it sounds. Abby continued to climb more rocks but added in her own flare when coming down, incorporating interpretive dancing and galloping. Anna, Liddy, Abby, Vivi, and Asa bonded over Barbie movies, American girl doll haircuts, and MERMAIDS while Ella, Lillian, Hannah, and Carter completed their final few climbs. The rest of the day was for some FUN in the SUN!! Abby shared her friendship bracelet making kit with the group and we all add some bracelets on the beach… CAL 2B FOREVER!!! We kept the energy going with some hilarious games and then head to the kitchen where Abby, Liddy, Asa, and Vivi helped chef up some fire quesadillas. Abby and Liddy had a tortilla slapping contest (yes, weird) while Ella and Hannah tried to help Anna out with her poor friendship bracelet skills. We topped off dinner with Lillian’s marshmallows that she graciously bought for us to roast. Our LODs, Ella and Liddy, concluded our last night in Yosemite by lifting everyone’s spirit facilitating a “what are you grateful for about the person to the right and left of you”. Everyone on the trip was able to feel how immensely loved they are by each other and how each one of us plays a critical role in our group’s dynamic.
The group woke up slowly the next morning, saying our goodbyes to our lovely campsite. We started our travel day off with a terrific hike filled with fun games, then hit the road… we are headed to our white-water rafting section on the American River!!! We cannot wait to share all of the memories and adventures to come.
Anna and Carter
Here’s some SHOUTOUTS from the girl squad:
Asa: I MISS YOU GUYS SO MUCH!! I am SO excited to cook for y’all and SLAY some Percy Warner hikes when I get back home. You better be ready to listen to all my stories and journal entries! Love you, miss you, see you soon!! <3
Liddy: Hi guys! I’m having so much fun. Thanks for sending me! Mom, don’t watch our show without me. I love you guys so much!!!
Abby: HII! Camp is soooo fun and i miss you guys so much, when I get home I have some very good songs for y’all. I LOVE U SO MUCH!and can’t wait to see u soon!!!
Vivie: hey! Camp has been so fun!!!! I love it so much in California, I am having an amazing time! I miss ya fam! I so excited to make some gusher chocolate pancakes for u all! Love u guys so much, see ya soon!!
Hannah: Hey guys! I’m having sooooo much fun! All the things we are doing have been so awesome. Can’t wait wait to see you guys! Love u guys hope everything is going good at home.
Ella: Hey guys! Moondance is absolutely incredible! We are doing so many amazing things and I can’t wait to share them all with you! This is by far the best camp I’ve ever been too, thank you Charlie! I love you guys and can’t wait to see you soon!
Lillian: Hello! Moondance is fantastic! I’m doing a lot of fun things and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! See you soon!
June 26, 2022
Hello from our fabulous GIRL SQUAD + Carter!!!
It’s only been 3 days and these girls are KILLING the GAME, laughing, singing, being super adventurous, positive, and forming awesome relationships with one another. Carter has activated girl-dad mode, but Anna feels like she’s been at a 3 day slumber party with this crew.
After departing the airport, we hit the road for LAKE TAHOE. Hannah and Asa queued up crowd-pleaser jams on the ride… our Cali playlist is already ELITE. Thanks to Liddy, we stopped for some delish slurpees to treat ourselves after being in traffic for awhile. After reaching our destination, the pizza parlor, Lillian and Vivi encouraged the group to finish every slice. At our campsite, Abby led the pack with setting up tents, and then we briefed everyone on bear protocol. Our campsite had 22 sightings in the past week!! The girls know to just be their crazy selves, sing Bruno Mars loudly, and clap their hands… bears just want our delish food and maybe Liddy’s perfume. Our first night was a beautiful one under the stars. We debated which five liquids we’d want to come out of each of our fingers and thumb. Lillian chose gasoline for a finger which was genius, while Vivi and Liddy filled their hand with soft drinks. Our first Leaders of the Day (LODs) were chosen for their immediate leadership in tent building, as well as in the van: Abby and Hannah!!! Night 1 is in the books.
We woke up to a beautiful blue sky, enthusiastic for our first true day of adventure. Abby and Hannah helped chef up eggs and hash browns getting our bodies nourished with some divine camp food from the start. On the way to our first day of KAYAKING, we jammed to none other than the MAMMA MIA soundtrack… already knew it would be a great day when starting with Meryl Streep. Our awesome guides led us on a peaceful scenic route of Lake Tahoe where we saw our very FIRST BEAR on the beach!!!! For lunch, Lillian got Hannah to try almond butter for the first time and Liddy got us hooked on fruit snacks. After lunch, Ella convinced the group to hop in the chilly waters— the biggest smile beamed from her face. Abby, Lillian, Liddy, and Vivi splashed each other with their paddles while Asa recovered from a frigid and accidental tumble into the water… thanks Carter!! Our kayaking guides helped stump the girls with riddles and after Liddy and Hannah solved one, Vivi begged them to tell her. We surprised everyone with some ice cream in Tahoe city where the artificial green-colored mint chocolate chip was the crowd fav. Vivi managed to take some home with her in the form of a chocolate stache and beard!
While on our sugar high, we took the opportunity to HIKE and see some insane Tahoe views. It looked as if rain was coming in but the sky completely opened up to blue again the moment we arrived to the trailhead. Asa reveled on about Hamilton while Vivi, Abby, Liddy, and Lillian went on a search for bears. Hannah and Ella brought up how they really appreciate being disconnected from their phones on Moondance. The girls had an epic “insta worthy” photoshoot so be on the look out for your daughter’s next model booking. Back at camp, Vivi, Liddy, Hannah, and Ella set up their eno hammocks while Anna and Lillian had a lovely scenic walk. The sky once again cleared up for us to make FAJITAS for dinner Liddy started us with an appetizer of chips, guac, and salsa, while Ella sautéed some veggies, Hannah helped with beans, and Cartier took over the chicken. Tacos, burritos, and nachos were devoured by the girls in seconds. Finally, Abby and Hannah began Moonup and we discussed some pet peeves as well as our goals for the trip. Two goals we know will be met include Vivi setting up a tent and Lillian to stand up on the surfboard. Ella and Hannah wanted to feel super adventurous and sleep in their hammocks all night… they survived halfway through until they said they heard bears and it got really cold. But very best efforts LADIES!!!!
This past morning we woke up to a beautiful day once again, birds singing and a crisp breeze in the air. Vivi, Liddy, and Asa chefed up some insane chocolate chip pancakes… specifically one Vivi titled the “gusher”, basically a massive chocolate sandwich. After Liddy braided everyone’s hair, we packed up camp and headed to our next adventure, Paddle boarding!! It was Asa’s first time on a paddleboard and she naturally CRUSHED it. Vivi was a magnet to the water at first, falling into the lake in dramatic fashion, however Abby and Lillian weren’t far behind her, both taking their turns in the chilly water. However they were back on their feet quickly each time. Hannah WOWed the group with her HEADSTANDS on the board, and soon all the girls were trying it which meant more falling! Abby lost her paddle so she had some extra relaxation (and UV rays) as Anna pulled her and her board back to get a new one. After returning to the rest of the group, we let the current take us down the lake. Liddy worked hard on her tan and Asa tried anything to not burn. Carter is working up a mean Chaco tan as well. Our three hours on the lake were so wonderfully spent! Our time in Tahoe was capped off with lunch on the beach surrounded by breathtaking, unbeatable views. We are on the way to Yosemite and can’t wait for all the adventures to come!!
Anna and Carter
June 25, 2022
Hello California Families,
We heard from our leaders yesterday that the group has landed safely in San Francisco. 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!