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British Columbia 3B • July 12-July 25, 2023

Bittersweet Goodbye's!

July 27, 2023

We woke up bright and early for our next adventure, canyoning. The drive took just under two hours, which allowed the kids to get a bit more rest before a big day! We met our guide FX, Hugo, and Rodger at a canyon called Norrish Creek. The group fully suited up in wetsuits, water shoes, helmets, and life jackets. We all looked like we were in a movie or video game with all of the gear we had on. The activity began with FX giving us an introduction and safety talk on the sport of canyoning. After a review of belaying techniques, we began our decent down the canyon. The traverse across the canyon was a thrilling adventure, featuring tall cliffs to repel down, fast-flowing natural water slides, and zip lines into water. Nick got completely submerged under the water slides current and Hadley screamed as she flew down the zip line, going backwards into the water. For lunch, we enjoyed turkey sandwiches and peanut butter wraps on a large rock with waterfalls on either sides of us. While we waited for the rest of the group on the second repel, FX pointed out a perfect cliff jump spot. Everyone was brave enough for the jump and quoted this moment as the highlight of the day. Reese M. was nervous for the second jump, but with encouragement from the group, she jumped like a pro! We had a steep hike back to the car where we changed and cleaned off our wetsuits. On the drive home, we surprised the kids with a gas station stop and they went crazy for some sweet snacks. Back at camp, a cook crew prepped up a delicious Korean BBQ dinner. The evening ended with competitive games of spike ball and volleyball.

Day 13 was a big day of activities for our crew! After an early breakfast of sausage egg burritos, we hopped in the van and headed to Howe Sound for a morning of sea kayaking. As we paddled the shoreline, we came across an otter, watching it play around in the reeds for a while. Once we moved out into open water, Baer and Patrick led the way, powering through some wave action. The snack spot we chose was an island on the mouth of the Squamish River, the same river we rafted down at the start of our trip. It seemed a fitting way to spend our last day on the water. We returned back to the outfitter passing under the Chief, one of the most iconic mountains in British Columbia. We took a lazy lunch in camp, resting up a little bit from our paddle before our next big activity of the day-hiking the Chief! After an hour or so of spikeball, volleyball, and hammock chilling, we donned our hiking boots and set off for our peak.

The hike was no joke. In a mere 1.5 miles, we climbed around 2,000 feet of elevation. Despite the challenge, we powered through the tough hike led by Gray and Margaret’s encouragement. Ford even brought an egg up the mountain with him. Ask him about it. Reaching the peak of the Chief was a rewarding experience; below us lay Squamish and the entire glacial valley. It was a great confidence booster for everyone to bask in the glory of conquering our challenge. Us leaders are super proud of that moment when we all reached the peak together. We shared candy bars and conversation while taking in an amazing view. EG and Baer kept the group laughing nonstop with their jokes at the summit. We bid our farewells and headed down the slope in time for one of the trio’s defining dinners: the coveted Iron Chef challenge.

The kids were split into two teams and were given a blank shopping list. After going to the grocery and buying our ingredients, we headed to camp to watch the chefs work their magic. After a delicious competition between meatball subs and chicken Parmesan, Team Parm came out on top! After dinner, Charlie helped lead our last Moonup before we said goodbye to Squamish.

We woke up to clouds and rain in the morning, making it a bit of a slower start. However, the kids were able to work together and pack up camp and load all our duffels into the U-haul. We had a quick Tim Hortons run, a local Canadian chain restaurant, to raise the energy. The kids loved their ice cap drinks and donut holes! It was definitely well deserved after a long trip of activities. Throughout the day, we cherished the last minutes we had together by singing songs in the car. The songs we played all day were requested by each of the kids and we let them control the aux. Natalie and Reese K. were constantly dancing in the back of the van and got the vibes up for everyone. We loved the energy they brought to the group for our very last day. After traveling for a few more hours, we arrived at a goodwill to purchase funny outfits to wear for banquet dinner. The boys decided to wear ginormous shorts that went well past their knees, with belts holding their waist bands up. Along with this, they had large, patterned polos along and shades. The girls all dressed up in cocktail dresses with many accessories such as, earrings, high heels and jackets. We loved the thrift store, country club look that they all pulled off! After we got fitted up, we drove to Jimmy Mac’s Roadhouse in Seattle for our banquet dinner. We devoured the “all you can eat” bread rolls, then ordered burgers, ribs and sandwiches. To end our banquet dinner, we had a “birthday” celebration for Nick’s “11th” birthday and the waiter brought out vanilla ice cream and a brownie for him! It was great to have dinner together, around a table, one last time. We shared final laughs and feelings about how grateful we were to all be in a group again. Our last Moonup was emotional and powerful. We answered questions about how Moondance and these people will influence your life moving forward. Porter shared an inspirational quote from a former Moondance leader that resonated with the kids. The quote was about living your best life and maximizing every moment.

The goodbyes at the airport were extremely hard with many emotions and tears. The leaders, Julianna, Jared, and Porter, could not thank you all enough for trusting us to take your children on a trip of a lifetime. We have truly enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them. This group of kids was special and will always be dear to our hearts.

The BCOB leaders,

Julianna, Porter and Jared

Surfing in Tofino!

July 22, 2023

After a memorable time at Lake Comox, it was time to say goodbye and head to our next stop, Tofino! The group got up early, packed up camp, and hit the road. The main road was closed most of the day due to construction, so stopped by Cameron Lake for a bit. To pass time, the group walked down an abandoned railroad and Ford found a cool little creek to walk to. Everyone decided to get in and explore the water. The girls found crawfish all over the rocks and the boys found a log to climb. We love these spontaneous moments where the kids get to explore the outdoors and make great memories. The rest of the drive to Tofino was the prettiest one yet. There were huge lakes and mountains from every window the entire way. When we pulled into town, the kids started to see the beach through the trees which made Gray and Patrick super excited as they realized we were going to surf soon! The campsite in Tofino sits right along Mackenzie Beach, a wide open beach with a great view of the Pacific (especially at sunset). We spent the afternoon exploring the beach and playing games. The boys brought out spikeball and got really competitive. Later on, we found a volleyball and beach net to play on and the group could not get enough if it! We ended the night with Moonup on the beach led by our LODs.

The next day was our first day of surfing and paddle boarding! The kids have constantly been talking about surfing all trip and are very eager to get out on the ocean. The kids woke up to cheesy eggs, bacon and English muffins and made their own breakfast sandwich. Protein today was needed for a long day of activity. We walked down to the paddling base to get fitted with wetsuits, life vests and paddle boards. MacKenzie beach looked beautiful this morning as the sun rose, illuminating the small, rocky islands in the distance. We paddled off to a spot where the kids got to explore sea creatures such as kelp crabs, hermit crabs and jellyfish in the water. Gray loved eating the salty, edible bull kelp. We continued to paddle around playing games on the boards. Jared, Natalie and Hadley were speedy fast on their paddle boards and won the relay race around the rocks! We paddled back to shore to eat lunch and get ready for our surfing! We met our guides off of Cox Bay beach to get suited again for wetsuits and boards. We were instantly impressed by Ella Grace, Gray and Patrick’s surfing skills. We could tell it wasn’t their first time surfing. We loved watching each kid get up on the surfboard and ride to shore! They made the surfing guides job easy because they all were pros already! After a long day of activity, we thought ice cream was deserved. We took them to a local gelato spot by our campsite.

Day two of water activities in Tofino certainly did not disappoint. We woke up early, made yogurt bowls, and drove to Cox Bay for an early morning of surfing. The water was colder than the day before, and the air was misty and brisk. Despite the weather, we had a slight offshore wind that was making top-notch waves off the sand bars. Since we had a day of surfing already under our belt, the surf instructors let us paddle our boards out to the breakers, which were a constant 4-5 feet. Ella Grace, Hadley, and Reese M. quickly caught some massive waves. Ford, Patrick, and Gray worked with one of the instructors, Jamie, to perfect some more advanced techniques and carving. Reese K. and Margaret found some great waves closer inshore to ride some killer body surfs. We were lucky to have the best waves of the past several weeks in Tofino, and all the kiddos certainly capitalized on the special opportunity.

After surfing, we went back to camp to quickly cook up a lunch of tomato soup and grilled cheese. After warming ourselves with some hot food, we headed up Mackenzie Beach for an afternoon of paddle boarding. Today, we split into 3 teams and competed for points by showcasing different technical board skills we had learned over the course of our instruction. Baer found some ochre starfish in the intertidal zone on some offshore rocks and was eager to show everyone. Charlie and Nick led the way into a hidden cove where we watched a bald eagle fly over us. As we turned around to head back to our put-in, Margaret had a cool encounter with a harbor seal! After getting our wetsuits off, we took the evening to explore downtown Tofino before a seafood dinner in town! We played some serious beach volleyball before our last Moonup on the shore of the Pacific.

The next day, we traveled back to where it all began for us on this trip: Squamish. Due to roadwork, we had an early wake up. Despite the bleary eyes, we had a lovely drive through the Pacific Rim National Reserve and jammed out to the aux. Stopping for a homemade charcuterie board in a park in Nanaimo, we reflected on our time on Vancouver Island, a bit sad to leave but excited for the adventures to come back on the Mainland.

As we enter our final days of the trip, we are so excited to see what it has in store for us! 


Signing off for now, 


Julianna, Porter, and Jared

Rocking out while Rappeling!

July 19, 2023

Hello again!!!

On day four, we traveled to Vancouver Island on a ferry! We started off the morning with loaded hash browns then piled in the van for a travel day. We had breath taking views of mountains, lakes, and the ocean along the drive and the kids were amazed by the beauty. When we got on the ferry, Hadley and Reese M. went to the bow of the boat to re-enact the “I’m flying” scene. We have realized that it doesn’t take a lot to keep these kids occupied and we love it. They are always having fun with each other. Over the loudspeaker, all the sudden we heard, “Come to the front desk if you happen to find a plastic green lizard. A little boy has lost it.” Funny enough, Gray had been the one to find the lizard on the boat and return it safely to the little boy. Over the speaker they announced again, “thank you Gray Tilley and the Moondance BCOB for finding the lizard.” The kids loved the shout out they received and thought it was a funny situation. When our travel was finally over, we got to our campsite, Cumberland Campground, on Comox Lake. We quickly unpacked and raced down to the water to swim. The kids dove off of the floating logs and rafts into the clear blue water. We concluded the night with chicken gyros, prepared by Porter. Baer was the biggest fan of this meal especially because of the tzatziki sauce. Our first Moonup on the beach was special; afterwards, we stayed up talking in the same circle well into the night.

We woke up the next day to a yummy yogurt bar with fruit and granola. We needed to fuel up for our first day of rock climbing and rappelling. The energy was through the roof this morning. Everyone decided to wear custom tank top jerseys with Moondance written on the front and their last names on the back. With everyone in matching outfits, we really felt the group come together as one big team, ready for our next activity. We met the outfitters at our campground parking lot and had a short hike up to our first craig. Our outfitters Mark and Jordan taught us how to tie in the ropes and belay each other up the climbs safely. We split into groups of three and started up our climb. The kids gave their absolute all to get to the top of each wall. It was so inspiring to see them push themselves and improve every time they climbed. Margaret told us she was scared of heights, but proceeded to speed up to the top of her first climb. Nick was a natural and was the first to complete the hardest climb of the day. After the first few climbs, the outfitters brought us to our first repel. Rappelling is one of the scariest parts of the trip because you must trust the equipment to hold you over the cliffs. Everyone sped down this rappel and proved they were ready to take on the more difficult ones later on. We were very proud of Reese K. and Natalie as they pushed themselves to complete the repel despite their fears. After a long day of climbing, the kids ran back to the campsite and jumped in the lake! They also found the beach snack shack and enjoyed some sweet treats by the water. For dinner, we made a group favorite meal of chicken and cheese quesadillas. They kids loved them and came for many seconds. We ended the night with another Moonup on the beach with massive, beautiful clouds in the background. The boys fell fast asleep on a hammock tower of 6 Enos tall.

Our second day of climbing built on the skills we developed on day one. Nick led the charge, urging everyone else to wear their tattered jerseys for round two. In the morning, we warmed our hands and feet up on Carpet Rock, a big crag with plenty of routes to choose from. Charlie and Patrick ate up some of the tougher climbs at Carpet Rock, both scaling a tricky 5.10c graded route. During our climbing, groups of 3-4 at a time scrambled up to the top of Cathedral Rock, a 100-foot rappel. After our warmups the day before, this gargantuan rappel was no problem for anyone. Ford masterfully sped down the pitch, hopping off ledges like a pro. This big rappel was a buildup for our main course, the notable Devil’s Ladder situated on the shore of Lake Comox. This 100-foot crag is a sheer granite face that features a massive crack that runs the height of the wall—a field day for climbers. Climbing the Devil’s Ladder is no small task, as one must rappel all the way down to the edge of the lake before following the crack all the way to the top. Once at the bottom, the only way back up is to climb. Gray led the charge, rappelling down and returning to the top in just a few short minutes. Over the next few hours, the whole group tried working up courage in the form of a dance party on top of the wall. As more and more kids went over the side, the energy built up. Ella Grace, Reese K., and Margaret, who at first wasn’t sure if they’d try the whole thing, fearlessly completed the climb without trouble. Our group became the first Moondance trip this summer to have every kid complete the whole climb on Devil’s Ladder! Immensely proud of themselves, everyone finished the day on a big high. After saying goodbye to Jordan and Mark, we washed our dirt off in Lake Comox before making a dinner of spaghetti and bolognese. After an action-packed day, we had Moonup by the shore of the lake again, appreciating how adventurous our group is and how close we’ve become in such a short period of time. We went to bed dreaming of catching massive waves in the beach town of Tofino, our next destination.

Thank you for sharing your kids with us in British Columbia. They are a group of rockstars, and we are taking in every moment with them.

Talk soon- BCOB Leaders,

Julianna, Porter, and Jared

Checking in from Canada!

July 16, 2023

The trio, Jared, Porter and Julianna, are finally reunited for the last session of the summer! We, the leaders, have committed to make this last Moondance session unforgettable for the last flock of kiddos we have in British Columbia. Ford and Patrick were the first to arrive in the airport and had amazing energy off the bat. As the kids all started arriving, we hyped them up for the incredible trip they were embarking on. We saw the kids instantly click and friendships starting to form in the first few hours in the airport which made us excited for what is to come. Some of the kids went on a Moondance trip last year together and they were excited to see each other again! After everyone arrived, we packed up the U-Haul, picked up pizza and headed to our first campsite. Our campsite was called Bayview State Park and it is a beautiful campsite close to Mount Vernon, WA. The kids ate up the pizza and we headed down to the water to swim. Baer swam out the farthest and the kids followed him! We loved seeing the adventurous side come out of them straight away! It was great bonding time on the beach with an incredible view. We talked in our crazy creeks and played games like Protect My Rock! Nick dominated everyone at this game and was speedy fast! Finally, to end the night we had our first Moonup. For all those who do not know what Moonup is, it is a time for self-reflection and a day’s debrief. It’s a serious, important part of everyday during a Moondance trip. The kids answered questions about what they hoped to get out of this trip and what they were most excited for. We had an amazing first Moonup and we chose the first two Leader of the Days. The first two chosen were Charlie and Ella Grace because we saw strength, bravery, and positivity in them throughout the first day. We decided to ditch the tents and sleep under the stars for our first night.


We kicked off our activities in British Columbia with a bang by white water rafting the Squamish and Elaho Rivers. The water was running around 200 cubic meters per second, which made all the rapids “spicy.” Steamroller, the biggest rapid of the run, was a wild ride but Hadley and Reese M. held down the fort and led the paddlers from the front of the raft. Later that day, Reese K. learned how to row the oar boat. After an action-packed day on world class rapids, we pulled over the rafts to camp on a remote island on the Squamish River. Gray led us all in a freezing 38-degree polar plunge into the water, which has become a daily tradition. After the polar plunge, we skipped rocks and explored the island until dinner. We dined in style, having a steak and salmon dinner with a Dutch oven cake for dessert! The rafting guides decided to join in for Moonup, and they were super impressed by how quickly the crew had bonded throughout the day on the water. The sky was clear on Night 2, so we once again chose to sleep out under the stars.


We woke up the next morning under the tall, beautiful mountains surrounding the river and island. The outfitters once again cooked a delicious meal of French toast and bacon for breakfast. As we packed up the island, the girls passed the volleyball around and the boys went for another polar plunge. Natalie was spiking volleyball at everyone to see if they could keep it up. We all loaded into our rafts for our morning float back to the base camp. The views were absolutely stunning with mountains on every corner. The kids were tired from the day before and many of them laid down on the raft and got some rest. About halfway down the river, the girls boat got unexpectedly dipped into a wave, getting most of the boat wet. Margaret was surprised by the rapid and got soaked! The boys boat thought this was funny and soon enough the two boats were in an all-out splash battle. Nick and Charlie were brave enough to ride under the waterfall even with the cold and windy conditions. We finished our rafting trip by packing up the boats and taking a bus back to the base camp. Our next stop was a town day in downtown Squamish! The kids grabbed snacks at the local market and made their way down the Main Street, stopping at all the small shops. For dinner, we went to Copper Coil, a local cajun BBQ restaurant. It was so nice to have a meal with all the kids while sharing stories and riddles. After dinner, we walked to a small park where the girls showed off their tumbling skills and the boys climbed up a boulder rock. We found a shaded spot to have Moonup and everyone shared their best memories they have with their families. Back at the campsite, the girls took a shower the in freezing cold river. Instead of tents, everyone set up hammocks stacked on top of each other. The comfy hammocks were a perfect way to rest up after a packed day!


We cannot wait for many more adventures to come with this group of kids!


BCOB Leaders,

Julianna, Porter and Jared

Greetings From Stunning Seattle!

July 12, 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


  • Margaret
  • Charlie
  • Ford
  • Natalie
  • Reese
  • Reese
  • Patrick
  • Baer
  • Gray
  • Ella Grace
  • Hadley