June 23, 2022
Well, as unbelievable as it is, our 2 weeks in Hawaii have come to an end. We have seen so much growth, learning, laughter, and fun unfold on these islands, and we hope more than anything that your incredible kids come back with stories and memories that last a lifetime. Our time in Kona revolved mainly around our PADI Scuba certification which we all achieved! We were so happy that Russell was cleared to scuba after his sunburn debacle back in Kauai and his impressions and jokes throughout training definitely kept us excited and focused on the task at hand. The first two days we had dives in the pool, and it was evident that lots of the kids had a true passion for the sea, specifically Maggie. She was an absolute natural, knowing so much about scuba diving and the ocean from training and past knowledge, she essentially became our instructor’s teaching assistant since she was answering all of his questions so quickly! We had outfitter provided lunches each day with some of the yummiest sandwiches ever and the best coconut and coffee shortbread from a local shop. Shoutout to Tally for always donating her cookies to the group! Pretty sure I might have consumed 7 cookies on one of the training days…fantastic pre-dive snack! From there, we did our ocean dive at the pier and a few groups saw a baby manta ray and an octopus. Not a bad first ocean dive at all! Ella was always keeping an awesome attitude no matter the situation, and her energy was contagious for the rest of the group. She made scuba diving, which can be a very strenuous and exhausting experience, so much fun for everyone by just giving a smile or telling a joke.
After a long day of diving, the boys insisted on grabbing a bite to eat from the local town square near our diving center. Naturally, we ended up at Outback Steakhouse because it’s home to some of Hawaii’s best cuisine of course! Averette even claimed that his ribeye was one of the best steaks he’s ever had. This fun afternoon snack followed by our favorite local gelato place was always the best end to our days. Although a lot of us were tired after diving, some of us *cough cough Tyler D* weren’t ready to hit the hay just yet once we got to camp. Tyler took the liberty of creating a game called papaya ball for us all to play to keep busy at our campsite. He continued to talk about this amazing idea of a game he had for us, yet I still don’t understand the point or purpose of this game. Tyler if you’re reading this, we want the rules and directions on how to play papaya ball for our next session. The following day, we were able to meet back up with our Advanced Scuba trainees, Tyler B and Caroline. While they were out diving with two of our leaders, they were fortunate enough to see a tiger shark pass over the reef they were in. Definitely an unforgettable experience!
That night we went to the world-renowned Manta ray snorkel, and we even had one of them put on a show for us doing 6 backflips just inches from some of our faces! These animals can weigh over a ton and they have wingspans of over 15 feet, yet the way they move in the water is so eloquent and purposeful. Being in the water with these beautiful creatures was absolutely amazing. On our last day of scuba training, we all had to show our final skills. We were so proud of Keira and Julia for putting in the hard work to conquer some of the hard skills necessary to pass the course. They were able to do everything with poise and the group was so supportive of them. Diving in the open water for the first time was an awe-inspiring experience. Seeing the ocean from that perspective was unbelievable and the fish, corals, reefs, and wildlife that we saw were beautiful. The group fisherman, Averette, was able to name so many of the species of fish we encountered which was extremely impressive. After a long day of scuba training and certification, we had some delicious grilled cheese thanks to Julia and Ella! The following day, we had an oceanside hike at Green Sands Beach and a sunset pizza party at Mauna Kea. An amazing ending to a perfect two weeks. Our banquet lunch was held at the local food stop Genki Sushi, and it was a conveyer belt sushi restaurant! All of the kids got clothes and accessories from the thrift store to wear, and they were sporting them around the island. Our last moonup was spent giving out paper plate awards, reminiscing on memories made here, and letting our people know how much we love and care for them. Leaving all of them at the airport was hard for us as leaders knowing that we don’t have a specific time or date that we may see them again, but we will always look back on our sandy days in the sun in Hawaii with happiness and joy.
We want you to know just how amazing all your kids are, truly. Being with them constantly for the past two weeks has been something that we as leaders can never forget. They are independent, confident, loving, hilarious and caring individuals who know when it’s time to take charge but also are aware that you can’t take life too seriously. Their laughter and love were contagious and we are just so grateful to have had them with us this summer. Living in the moment has been their mantra the past few weeks and seeing them achieve so many of their goals was such a rewarding experience. We hope that we were able to have an impact on them in the same way they left a mark on our hearts. Beyond grateful for HWI 1B and we can’t wait to see all that they do. Keep in touch and HAGS!
June 18, 2022
We have officially landed on the Big Island! Although we miss our lovely campsite, Donna and our furry friends in Kauai, we are looking forward to starting our PADI training tomorrow. Yesterday we were able to surf yet again, and our favorite instructor “Big Sean” was there. He let us get some trucker hats from his store…we can’t wait to show you them. Our LOD of the day, Maggie, was convinced she is going pro in surfing, so look out Hawaii!
After surfing, we drove to the other side of the island to go zip lining. We did two shorter zip lines and were so proud of Caroline for overcoming her fear of heights. She even went upside down on the 2nd! Don’t worry, we have photo and video evidence of all of this! From there, we went to a pond with a diving block and a rope swing. Miles was able to relive his glory days and show us all up with his diving skills! His was a tough act to follow. The final zip-line was around a mile long and the longest in Hawaii. Our daring and vibrant duo, Julia and Ella, were the first to go, as always, and they were the best encouragers at the end of the line. We ended the day of zip lining with some FIRE homemade cookies. Tyler D requested that we head to the bakery where they’re made and buy out their entire selection of cookies. He took a couple roadies for the drive home.
On the way back to camp, I was surprised to get a request from Averette to go to a museum to learn about Hawaiian history when we’re in Kona…updates to come on that one! Hoping they’ll all come back and be Hawaiian encyclopedias. At camp, we made some meannn pita bread pizzas for our final night in Kauai. Maggie was putting in work tossing dough in the outdoor kitchen and thanks to our runner, Tally for delivering all of the pizzas to everyone! Our sweet, sweet Russell, or as the group likes to call him, Brick, had an interesting day to say the least, but he led a beautiful Moonup to close out our time on the little island. The next morning, we had the chance to finally SLEEP IN. That was much needed and appreciated. We spent the morning braiding bracelets and just hanging out. By the way, Tyler B has been CRANKING OUT the bracelets…probably makes 2-3 a day. Thinking she should consider opening up an Etsy storefront, I’ve already placed my order for a bracelet before she leaves! Just being with each other, sharing stories and laughing until we cried was the perfect end to an amazing week. We went to Kapaa, the city near our campsite, to get some food and souvenirs before our flight. The mission to find the best shaved ice continued and we found quite literally the worst shaved ice establishment…what a bummer!
Off to the airport we went, and we successfully checked 16 BAGS! First time, but surely not the last that we’ll be doing that as leaders, but it went BEAUTIFULLY. Sadly, Keira’s new coconut lotion was a casualty of the security line…she wanted y’all to know that she’ll need to order it on Amazon immediately when she gets home! It was an utter disappointment. We landed a few hours later after a quick flight. Spark notes of the flight is that we had delicious juice cups (?), Russ is writing a memoir about his time in Hawaii, and Averette is still yelling WHAT?! every ten seconds because we’re waiting for his ears to pop lol. Finished the night with a local food stop in Kona and setting up our tents at our lovely beachfront campsite! Tomorrow is going to be a beautiful and amazing day!!! Now….a message from the kids!!!!
T mo: dearest mother and father; I am having quite the blast, literally. Me and the leaders have taken the liberty of ranking all of the shaved ice in Hawaii (it has been quite delicious). I am ok . Can’t wait to come home, also please consider my offer that I proposed. love you bunches happy Father’s Day
Julia: hi mom and dad I’m having so much fun and I have met some amazing people. Hopefully you guys are not having too much fun without me. Also, happy Father’s Day dad! I learned to surf and sea kayaked a whole lot so dad I’m 100% a better kayaker than you now. bye bye love you guys
Miles: hey guys, I have met some amazing people that I feel really care, and love me. We have done so much on this trip, I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But ofc, I still miss y’all and can’t wait to see you again. Sorry mom for scaring you in the beginning of the trip lol. Dad I hope your playing so much golf and are stress free. Love you clay, and clay could you tell Riley that I literally am always thinking about her and always wish I could talk to her during this trip. Oh and I obviously miss everyone else too. Love you!!!
Keira: hiii, I’m having so much!!! I learned to surf and I bet I am better than k2. Anyways can’t wait to see u all in Hawaii. Hope all is well love you
Averette: Aloha Wilmington, Hawaii is cool and I am with some great people. I plan on using my saved up work money to come back and visit to really get to know more about the Hawaiian culture. I can’t wait to show you some pictures of our group and cool things we have been doing here!
Caroline- Hey hey hey! I am having so much fun in Hawaii! We have done a lot of different activities and I have made many new friends. I hope you guys are doing well, and I hope Dad and Bryce had a lot of fun in Florida! Love and miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see y’all soon!
Tyler B: Hi fam! I’m having a ball over here in Hawaii, and don’t worry mom- I am not fried yet! We just arrived on the Big Island for a long weekend of scuba diving. We had a great time on Kauai surfing and zip lining and eating snow cones. Gunnie- im proud of you for getting through tennis camp and dad- happy late Father’s Day, and mom I love you! I love you all so much and cannot wait to see you (and my bed) in the next few days.
Tally: Hey family! I’m having so much fun in Hawaii, it’s so pretty here I love it! we have done so much cool stuff i can’t wait to tell y’all all about it. I miss y’all so much and can’t wait to see you soon! Give MayMay a kiss for me. I love y’all so much! And have a Happy Father’s Day Dad!
Maggie: Sup Fam! I miss y’all like crazy but I am having a balling time here. I will make the ability that I can surf my entire personality so y’all have a couple days to prepare. My flight to Washington lands at 5 am and I will NOT be sleeping so also prepare for some crazy jet-lag. Please make a PB&J for me when I get home that will be much appreciated. I love y’all very much and Happy Father’s Day Dad!!
Ella: Hey family! I miss y’all so much and I’m so excited to tell y’all all about my Hawaii experience!! I’m having the BEST time!! I can’t wait to see y’all!! Love y’all so much!!! Also happy Father’s Day Dad!!
Russell: Hey squad!! I may be burnt to the crisp but I am living life like life is supposed to be lived in Hawaii! I miss y’all and I miss the Inker. Tell Harold I thought it was worth it. Happy Father’s Day!!!
June 15, 2022
Aloha from Hawaii!
We are having an absolute blast getting to explore the island of Kauai, and the best part about it is we still have a few days left here and then we’re off to the Big Island! From surfing to hiking, sea kayaking to working in the National Botanical Gardens, the kids have jumped right in, and we are so proud of all they’ve accomplished thus far. From the start, on our first night at camp, complete with a pizza party and Russell’s Costco birthday cake, we knew we were going to have a solid group! On Day 2, we were lucky enough to have our Carolina girls, Tyler B. and Caroline show us how to shred the gnar in Hanalei Bay. We adventured into caves, visited some beaches, and ended the day with a beautiful hike known as Sleeping Giant overlooking the entire island.
On Day 3 we visited the Waimea Canyon which is no doubt one of the most beautiful views! It was on this day we decided we were on a mission to find the best shaved ice in Kauai. So far, we’ve visited three local shops and the group has come to the consensus that the Hawaiians know how to make shaved ice better than anyone in the lower 48, although we’re not too sure about the ice cream/shaved ice combo! Yesterday was no easy feat as we kayaked 17 miles up the Na Pali Coast, the world’s longest guide sea kayak journey. Although wind and sea conditions were perfect, we still had a few teammates fall victim to some gnarly seasickness, but with the help and support of the group, specifically Keira and Miles’ karaoke jam session in the front, we made it to the shore for our lunch break! The views were epic, and let me tell you, a turkey sandwich and picnic spread taste a lot better with 12 miles until your belt. Our fearless warrior, Tally, led us to our final destination and we were lucky enough to kayak right past a group of dolphins and sea turtles on the tail end of our trip!
Today, we went to the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and it was amazing to give back to the island that has already given us so much. We even saw the set of Jurassic Park! The kids were so intentional and inquisitive, asking many great questions and getting super involved with their respective activities. Maggie was having a fabulous time talking to the tour guides about their mutual passions for the ocean! We love seeing everyone connect with the locals and create those bonds that truly give this trip and the activities that we do so much worth. We ended the day with some shaved ice, of course, and some lovely group souvenirs from the gift shop thanks to Averette and Russell! The night was complete with Hawaiian snacks and sodas, Ruffles, Eno hotels, burrito bowls, ukulele playing, Moonup, and of course, lots of belly laughs! One thing about this group is that they always keep us laughing! Whether it’s Tyler D’s insanely accurate impressions of absolutely anything (his best is a chicken), Ella’s Michelin star-level cooking, or Julia and her adoption of a campsite dog which has somehow acquired the name “Jambalaya” and become our team mascot, we couldn’t imagine a better group to kick off the summer with. The best is yet to come, and we sure are grateful that we get to hang out with these awesome people for another week!
Mary App, Grace & Garrett
June 12, 2022
Hello Hawaiian Islands Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Hawaii. 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!