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British Columbia 1A • June 8-June 21, 2023

Saying Goodbye to BCO!

June 21, 2023

Greetings friends and family! It is bittersweet to be writing our last trip update as all of our kids are in the air. We are so sad the trip has ended but so grateful for all of the friendships made, tent talks, “Wow Moments”, and adventures outside of our comfort zone. Parents, thank you for allowing your kids to join us on this experience, we can’t wait for them to share their memories with you.


We enjoyed a relaxed morning on Sunday waking up to the sunshine and birds chirping. Morale was high after a deep sleep and the excitement of the overnight rafting trip to come! After packing our bags, Meghan led the group in a morning stretching session. Who knew crazy creeks doubled as a yoga mat?!


We hit the road to meet Canadian Outback rafting guides where we laid in the sun, and cooked chicken quesadillas as they prepped the gear. The guides loaded us up in a bus and drove us along the crystal clear Elaho river to launch our rafts. All our gear was placed in dry bags and floated down the river to our overnight island so it would be there when we arrived. Talk about full service! The group split between two rafting groups, the Jedi and Sith. Ella and Lily P fearlessly sat in the front of the Sith raft, unknowingly choosing the splash zone. Jackson and Cooper, fully aware of what sitting in the front meant, welcomed the challenge of the glacier water to the face. When the opportunity presented itself, Jackson, Harrison, Luke, Nate, Meghan, and Charlie floated alongside the boat in calm nooks along the rapids.


We paddled through several different class three and four rapids, the Deflectors, 50/50, and Trudeau’s Corner to name a few. Adrenaline was running high as we caught air and ducked into our boats, then popped right back up to continue paddling. Amid a rapid, Miller, Frances and Lily H “rode the bull” by sitting on the front of the Jedi boat with their legs hanging over the edge and holding on to the rope. Even in the slow water, there was never a moment of boredom. The Sith boat played their own game of trying to run around the edge of the boat without falling in.


Our adventures took place in a stunning setting that Ella described as an “iPhone default background” with glaciers, avalanches, waterfalls, and pine trees as far as the eye could see. When we arrived to the island we would call home for the night, a kitchen, changing station and bathroom were already set up by our incredible guides. We immediately got into warm clothes and indulged in a selection of fruit, cheese, crackers, and chips. Once we got settled onto the island, our guides spoiled us by cheffing up a steak and salmon dinner featuring mashed potatoes and Caesar salad. We felt like we were dining at a Michelin star restaurant on our own private island!


Our leaders of the day, Maya and Nate, led Moonup and included our rafting guides in speaking about challenges we have all overcome on our trip. We closed out our night with tent talks and cuddle puddles.


The next morning our guides woke us up with hot French toast, bacon, cereal, and fruit salad! It was a chilly morning but luckily for us, we got to stay in our warm clothes for the calmer raft float back to base.


The leaders managed to actually keep a secret for once and surprised the group by coming back to their favorite campsite of the trip, Paradise Valley. Everyone got to warm up in the hot showers and take some much-needed rest after an action packed few days. After we recharged, we split up into 3 teams to give our van, Winnie, the U-Haul, and group gear a deep clean. The winning team, Maya, Harrison, Cooper, and Louise chose cupcakes and cookies for dessert. But before we could dive into our treats, the girls prepared Greek gyros for us packed with chickpeas, veggies, hummus, tzatziki, and feta for the group!


Our last morning in Canada had an exciting start. We began by playing Iron Chef, on two teams led by LODs Lily H and Miller using ingredients in the U-Haul to create a delicious breakfast. Both teams chose a sweet route with pancakes as their base. Team Bowling Ball—Cooper, Harrison, Jackson, Ella, Maya, and Lily H won the contest with their Oreo pancakes and great teamwork. The John Giants—Louise, Frances, Miller, Lily P, Luke, and Nate crushed it with the presentation, including leaves to garnish their smashed cupcake & cookie pancakes with a few hash browns baked in as well.


Right after we hit the road and crossed the glacier fed river, we witnessed an adult black bear chilling just off the road. He posed for us, then moved out of the way so we could keep driving. Before we crossed the border, we stopped in Vancouver for a special treat. Poutine! Canada’s famous snack. Mean Poutine served up several different versions however we decided we all wanted to try the classic version and it was a hit! Feeling fueled, we pushed through the rest of the long drive to our campsite in Seattle. We set up camp and got dressed into our funny thrift shop attire for our final banquet dinner. We went to a BBQ joint for a taste of home. It was awesome!


It is tough to say goodbye, however, we have had a blast with these kids from start to finish. We had so much fun that we have high hopes the relationships and many memories will last, and we’re so excited to see what amazing these kids will do in the future. Thanks once again for sharing your wonderful, well-mannered kids with us this summer. May the rest of summer be safe and full of fun for all of y’all.


Best, BCO A

Caroline, Charlie, Meghan

The Revival of Funk

June 18, 2023



Hello to all loved ones! We are doing great here in Squamish, the outdoor capital of Canada, ready and rearing for rafting tomorrow. Now, we will look back on the past few days that got us here and some of the amazing things we’ve done.


On Thursday, we headed to Quadra Island by ferry. Our jaws dropped when we saw the old growth forest all along the coast. Before our evening kayak, we headed south to Mudge point where there is a beautiful lighthouse. We walked the beach, talked among the rocks and driftwood, and spent time playing games and taking turns reading from the Moondance journal.


Our next stop was a visit to the Tsa-Kwa-Luten lodge. From here we went on a hike nearby to see some petroglyphs carved into stone on the lakeshore. These were made by the Salish and Kwahuitl people, possibly as long as 4,000 years ago! They are only visible at low tide and in non-direct light. Luckily, conditions were perfect. Luke, Cooper, Jackson, and Harrison found one in the shape of a bird. Meghan found another that depicts a man, possibly a shaman. The other highlight of this hike was the wildlife. Luke spotted a seal. Miller found starfish, both bright pink and purple varieties, among the rocks.


From that awesome morning/midday we went to We Wai Kai campsite near Heriot Bay to set up camp. We are pros at setting up shop now. We had a large lunch of mac and cheese. Later, Meghan led a relaxing journaling session by the beach on the peninsula we got to call home for a night.


A situation certainly among the toughest we will ever face this summer came to pass today. Our leader, Caroline, suffered a concussion on Wednesday morning while loading gear in the U-Haul and had felt really crumby ever since. After seeing a doctor, she and the office agreed it was best for her to take leave from the trip. Caroline returned to camp and shared this news, and we were all upset. However, Charlie and Meghan are ready to roll on through with the program and the kids are all being great sports despite adversity. Caroline, we miss you dearly and wish you a speedy recovery!


Our kayak guides were awesome and treated us to an amazing tour of Quadra Island’s east coast. The mountains of nearby Cortes Island provided a seriously gorgeous bowl-like panorama that just kept on going back and back. Lily P was super happy to paddle with Frances and said afterward that she felt more confident on the kayak this second time.


We had a wonderful cookout with watermelon, hot dogs, chips, and all the fixins’ for dinner. The kids went to bed super quick with full bellies after such an action-packed day!


On Friday, we began our day with a rainy early morning ferry back to the mainland. What was in store for us today was stand up paddling near Oyster Bay. The kids got the hang of it super quick, and we were tremendously lucky, as the clouds parted for our three and a half hours on the water! Maya and Lily H were leaders of the pack and helped keep the group on track. Our amazing guide, James, helped facilitate a local food stop from a burger joint nearby, and treated the kids to ice cream at the Pacific Playgrounds resort afterward! The kids were all raving about this activity and Frances said she could’ve stayed out on the board all day.


Loading up the van, we completed today’s travel by landing at Brannen Lake campground in Nanaimo. Hammocks were hung and Nate got the frisbee game going as cook crew, headed by Louise and Lily H, cooked up spaghetti. Tonight was an early night. Our moonup was led by Luke and Frances, and as is typical, the kids were fast asleep before the sun fully set (up here this time of year, it’s light out til nearly 10 pm!)


Whirling into Saturday, we got up, packed up camp, and headed into the harbor town. Today we returned to the mainland by ferry. We stopped at an awesome gift shop beforehand, where everybody picked up some small gifts for themselves or family.  We’re so happy to see students sporting BC gear! Our next stop in town was called Funk Revival, where each student shopped for silly items they will wear at our final night banquet. Ella bought a sequin dress for just $9 Canadian! Our next few days will be action packed, and the fun will be flowing like the chilly waters of the Elaho! To cap off the update, we’ll have some shoutouts for the dads out there. We will be in touch with you soon after rafting!




Father’s Day shoutout 


Hey dad, I know I’m not there to wish you a happy Father’s Day. I hope it’s a good one and you enjoy your present. See you soon.


Jackson Reisman


Happy Father’s Day Dad I really miss you and can’t wait to see you hug mom for me see you soon.


Cooper Davis


Hey dad happy Father’s Day. I hope you have a good day. I love and is miss you. I will see y’all soon


Harrison white


Happy Father’s Day dad hope you are having a good time. I miss you and am having a great time. I’m excited to see you soon.


Nate hanger


Happy Father’s Day dad I really miss you. I hope you have a great day! I am having a blast.


Luke Abraham


Happy Father’s Day Dad! I really miss your jokes and accents! I’m having a lot of fun, but it would be more fun with you! I hope you had a blast at the Braves game! When I get home, we need to go fishing for Father’s Day! Love and miss you!

Lily Hatcher


Happy Father’s Day dad!! I love you so much, I love every moment I get to spend with you. I couldn’t have asked for a better dad! I hope you have the best day


Miller Caine


Happy Father’s Day dad!! I love you so much you are the best dad anyone could ever have. I can’t wait to see you when I get back!


Louise Biggs


Happy Father’s day dad! I hope your day and past 2 weeks have been amazing. Also happy birthday mom.. I miss and love y’all! Y’all are the best

-Maya Opoulos


Happy Father’s Day dad! I love you so much! Can’t wait to see you!


Ella Fowler


HAPPY FATHERS DAY KENNY!!! IU! Sorry I’m not with you on your special day but can’t wait to tell you everything when I get home!!! your the BEST dad EVER!!


Frances Taylor


Happy Father’s Day DAD!! I love you soooo much! I am so lucky to have you in my life and don’t know what I would do without you cannot wait to give you a big hug in 4 days!


Lily Pileggi


Happy Father’s Day Rico!! Thank you for always supporting me on my adventures. I love you.

Meghan Keeler


Hey dad! hope you are having a great time in Ireland. I love you and happy Father’s Day.

Charlie Stelnicki

Café Italia d'Moondance!

June 15, 2023

Greetings from beautiful British Columbia! Our group has had a blast exploring Vancouver Island over the last three days. On Monday morning, our group made yummy, scrambled eggs, and put them on toasty English muffins before we packed up camp. We put Squamish in the rear-view mirror (for now) and headed back toward Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry to Nanaimo. Taylor Swift was played at the request of Maya and Miller and was sung exceptionally well as we jammed down the Sea to Sky highway.

There was much to see and do on the two-hour ferry. Our group bonded above and below the top levels of a ginormous ship called the Queen of Oak Bay that brings all sorts of vehicles to and from Vancouver Island daily. Snacks were had and Frances and Lily P got matching t-shirt gowns that have “Hay Y’all” and a horse on them at the gift shop. The boat ride flew by!  Now on Vancouver Island, we made a lunch stop of sun butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels and fruit at a beautiful spot called Blueback Beach, where we saw locals flying kites.

Our final destination of the day was Lake Comox, a stunning glacier fed lake surrounded by mountains. We made a mile hike up to the northeastern edge of the lake, led by our leaders of the day Louise and Lily P. This jaunt included a shin-deep creek crossing that featured a natural tree trunk bridge, which was first successfully crossed by Jackson and Ella. (And less successfully crossed by leader Meghan). Our time on the bank of Lake Comox was spent chatting, playing games, skipping great skipping rocks, and swimming. We ended our night setting up camp and had grilled cheese for dinner!

On Tuesday we had our first day of our next activity: Rock Climbing! Our amazing guides showed us to a spot where climbers come from around the world to boulder and ascend to new heights. We climbed multiple pitches of 5.6 and 5.7 on the Yosemite Decimal scale, which each student climbed, and the leaders were impressed. Luke and Harrison were itching for more and were the first to try rappelling down the rock face, a skill which would be crucial for the big objective planned for the next day…

Our day wrapped up smoothly as we took time to appreciate togetherness and restfulness for an hour. The leaders surprised the kids with an experience of a lifetime: dinner at Café Italia d’Moondance, brought right to their campsite! Three chefs with magic marker moustaches, chef’s hats and aprons brought out the works, complete with ambiance music, placemats, and fixings for each student to make their own personal pizza, which was cooked to perfection on our Coleman grill. An especially fun part of the skit was that our chefs spoke many languages all at once, most often spouting “oui oui!” to which the dining students would say “yes chef!” Cooper was quick to point out this was French, not Italian, and just as quick to communicate with the chefs in his own Spanish right after. It was delightful. Our campsite featured a beautiful beach, which we took advantage of at sunset during our moonup.

On Wednesday, we woke up early. As all good things must, our time at calm lake Comox would end after our epic climbing exercise today. Camp was packed up and we munched on bagels, fresh fruit, and oatmeal. We got underway to a series of climbs that were really rad. First, 9 of our students practiced climbing on some challenging 5.7 routes on a rock called Carpet Rock. Nate was a pro belayer for many fellow students! The remaining three students went up what is called Cathedral Rock, an awe-inspiring hunk of Earth that stretches 125 feet above the valley rift. These three rappelled and were then rotated out with students at Carpet rock on the other side. Louise was initially a little unsure, and with a little cheering and support from friends she made it down with a smile and relief! We’re so proud of her.

The meat and potatoes of the climbing section of this trip is called Devil’s Ladder. It is a sheer rock face that climbs 300 feet above the stunning Bahama blue water. We were set to tackle the lowest 1/3 of the challenge, which measures 90-100 feet. Half of our group went and rappelled all the way down to the water, where they met the guide who acted as their belay partner for the daunting climb up a crack route. This was no easy task and it was awesome to see the mix of concentration and joyfulness on these kid’s faces! Among the brave girls, Lily H closed out the activity with an eager attitude and we couldn’t be happier with her effort in this activity.

We were even approached by some locals at our campsite remarking how well-mannered and kind the kids were interacting with one another. Let the good times keep coming.

Until next time! -BCO A

Here are some shoutouts from your awesome kiddos!

Hey Mom and Dad, I really miss you, but this has been lots of fun can’t wait to see you guys. -Cooper Davis

Hey mom and dad, I am having a lot of fun in bc. We have been rock climbing and rappelling the past two days and it was so much fun! -Harrison white

Hi mom and dad, I am having fun and I have made lots of friends. It is so cold. I miss you and cannot wait to see you. Tell jack and Isabel I mis them!

-Lily Pileggi

Hey mom and dad, I miss you guys’ tons! I’m having a bunch of fun, and I met some really nice people. I can’t wait to tell you about it when I get back. Tell Bruce I miss him! -Louise Biggs

Hey mom and dad, I really miss you guys, besides that I’m having a lot of fun. So far, my favorite part was climbing devil’s ladder. – Jackson Reisman

Hey mom and dad, I miss y’all tons and am having so much fun! I’ve met some really cool people and can’t wait to tell you all about this trip! Tell Cal and Stets I miss them! -Lily Hatcher

Hey mom and dad!! I miss y’all but I’m having so much fun and have made so many new friends!! Also… can you make my card not decline please it won’t work?? I LOVE YALL SO MUCH!! -Frances

HEY MOM AND DAD!!!!! I am having so much fun and have made so many new friends and am having so much fun! Also, we aren’t backpacking we are sleeping in tents with a trailer and it’s very fun! I hope y’all are having fun! I miss y’all soooooo much!  Love y’all! -Miller

Hey mom and dad, I miss you guys a lot and hope everything is going well back home. I am having a great time in British Columbia. I hope you guys are also having a great time. I am excited to see you guys soon. -Nate

Hi mom and dad!!! This trip has been so much fun… I love my group and counselors!!  Hope everything is good in Charleston! Tell max and poppy I say hi… I miss and love y’all… see y’all soon!!! -Maya Opoulos

Hey mom and dad, this is Luke. I’m having a lot of fun with Nate and I made some new friends. I love and miss you guys. -Luke

Hey mom and dad, I miss y’all so much! I’m having so much fun, I met a lot of new friends! I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it!  -Ella Fowler


Cooking Up Fun in Squamish!

June 12, 2023

Greetings British Colombia Families and Friends!!

Sending love from Squamish! We have been lucky to have really smooth travel days with everyone arriving in Seattle on time and with their bags in tow! We kicked off our first night with a pizza party at our campsite in Bay View State Park followed by a tent set-up competition. Shoutout to Jackson, Nate, and Luke for being the winners of our tent challenge. After a long day of travel, Caroline, Harrison, Nate, Maya, Miller, Cooper, Luke, and Jackson played an epic game of ultimate frisbee. Meanwhile, Lily P, Frances, Louise, Lily H, and Ella helped us scout out a spot along the ocean for Moonup. We had the most incredible sunset and rainbow over the coast as our backdrop.


Day two began with crossing the border into Canada and everyone did amazing! We sped right through the process and the security guard was impressed. Halfway through our drive, we stopped at Horseshoe Bay Park for lunch. Cooper and Harrison found the coolest lookout spot along the coast for us to make our sandwiches and take in the views. We captured photos, explored, and even saw a sea lion! We continued our drive along the Sea to Sky Highway where we saw the ocean, mountains, rock climbers, and huge waterfalls just outside our window. After setting up camp at Paradise Valley, we got our energy out with a hike and polar plunge into Alice Lake. Everyone was an absolute rockstar hiking after our swim, which made warm clothes and dinner that night much more rewarding.  As a group, we learned how to properly cut peppers and onions for our fajita bowls which turned out delicious. Nate and Luke got to cutting immediately, helping lead our first official cook crew. For dessert, we dug into some s’mores! Our leaders of the day, Lily H and Cooper, led our moonup and everyone shared their favorite odd food combination. Our favorite was Miller’s mayo, peanut butter, and banana sandwich!


The laughter from the tents roared from our campsite and the early morning came up on us quickly! We had a full day of canyoning and waterfall repelling at McDonald Falls in Mission, BC. We began by learning how to use the equipment, suiting up in insulating wet suits and proper footwear, and then climbing from rock to rock up the stream. Our first rappel was nerve-wracking as it was the first time for most, but everyone killed it! The experienced rock climbers took on leadership roles of showing everyone the ropes—literally. McDonald Falls cascades down the rocks to form four different waterfalls and pools that we got to explore. The water was freezing cold, but our suits and adrenaline kept us warm. The grand finale was a 100ft descent and our group tackled it without a sweat! We’ve got a brave bunch! We returned to camp and everyone quickly got ready for dinner. We enjoyed our spaghetti and laughed about the day’s adventures! We went to bed full and excited for the next day.


We woke up early today and headed to kayak by the Stawamus Chief Mountain Range! We strapped back into our wet suits (something we are pros at by now), unloaded our boats, and paddled down the sound. Ella and Louise brought the energy when the current kept pushing their boats together and they paddled alongside one another! We pulled off on a beach where Lily P and Frances corralled everyone for some group pictures. We ate some snacks and learned about the history of the mountains from our guides before returning to the dock. After taking a quick dip in the outfitter’s hot tub, we returned to camp to make a yummy lunch of Mac-n-Cheese. Luke helped stir the cheese into the noodles while Maya helped wash the dishes. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in camp, which consisted of many stacked Enos and giggles! Just when we thought the afternoon couldn’t get any better, the leaders surprised everyone with a local ice cream stop in town! Afterward, everyone indulged in a much-needed shower before beginning dinner. The kids took charge of cooking BBQ chicken quesadillas by splitting up tasks and deciding the order of preparation. Luke and Harrison immediately assumed the position at the Coleman grill.


We are off to a great start and are so excited for all the adventures ahead!


— Charlie, Megan, and Caroline

Beginning the British Columbia Trip!

June 8, 2023

Hello British Columbia Families!

We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Seattle with all of their luggage! 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!

-Moondance HQ


  • Luke
  • Louise
  • Margaret
  • Cooper
  • Ella
  • Nate
  • Lily
  • Maya
  • Lily
  • Jackson
  • Harrison
  • Frances