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

Bittersweet Goodbye's!!!

July 27, 2023

What’s crackalackin!

We are back with a sick new edition of the BCO 3C chronicles! We start today’s tale from the historic Squamish Valley, where the gang was quick to get going for a breezy morning sea kayaking full of views in the bay. We set off with a bang, James Carney and Grace leading the way as we paddled through the harbor learning about the region’s long history. It was a breezy morning, but everyone encouraged each other to keep going and we even got to see a cool river inlet with water clearer than you’d ever believe! As the sun rose higher in the sky and we made our way back to the harbor, the group was very excited to discover the presence of the hot tub at our outfitter’s office! Everyone quickly showered and hopped into the hot tub, enjoying the jets and the sun on our faces after a hardworking morning. Some members of the group even went a little further to jump off the dock into the bay before hopping in! Needless to say, a great time was had by all and we felt excited and rejuvenated for our day heading into town.

After seakayaking we headed to Sea to Sky Pizza and it was a smash hit! The swanky local stop was well deserved after a long day paddling against the wind. Michael and James Mattocks were enthralled with the arcade games inside, leading the group to try out every single one and making the wait time for our pizza fly by. As everyone got their pizza, a satisfied silence fell over the room as we all enjoyed our meals and refueled for the day. Soon after our lunch, the group grabbed their wallets and set out on Main Street for our town day in Squamish! The fun collection of boutiques, cafes, and shops made for an afternoon chalk-full of exploration and excitement, just about everyone walking away with a cool souvenir or two and a snack to pair with it. As the group all reconvened and debriefed their adventures in town, Sloane and Emilia got to share two of their most ~unique~ purchases, two styrofoam heads that they had taken the liberty to put makeup on and make their own. Everyone got a kick out of our scary new mascots, and we laughed about them as we headed to our next stop. Everyone knows the only way to end a successful town day is with ice cream, so we headed to a local gelato shop where we enjoyed a moment to rest and cool down with some of the best ice cream in town. Tired and full of gelato, we all hopped in the van and headed back to camp to grill out burgers for dinner. Our amazing cook crew of Sloane, AT, and James Mattocks did an amazing job with both the burgers and the bacon, and AT was especially excited to learn how she could cook burgers on her own from now on! Right after dinner, our tired bunch had Moonup and went to bed early for our huge day to follow.

Day 12 was by far our earliest wake-up of the trip, but everyone was coaxed out of their sleeping bags thanks to the smell of cooking ham and bacon. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast of breakfast sandwiches on bagels with ham and bacon, cheese, and fried eggs, and soon the squad was on the road to our next and final activity of the trip: canyoning! Elvis, becoming a bit of a caffeine connoisseur over the course of our trip, led a group in taking five hour energies to hype ourselves up before the activity, and soon enough we were putting wetsuits and our other gear on for the last time with FX, our awesome guide! After a short hike into the canyon, we all enjoyed a dip in the chilly water and some time to wade around as we went over canyoning basics and learned a little more about what we would be doing. Our last activity was many of the group’s favorite, complete with rappelling, natural water slides down waterfalls, beautiful swimming holes, and even a big zip line into the water to finish out the day! Our life jackets kept us afloat and kept spirits high as we waded around all day, and the group had a blast competing to dunk each other’s heads under the water against the PFDs. Liza and Smith proved themselves to be particularly fierce competitors, even besting leader Brad a few times each! We were so proud of everyone pushing themselves during this hardcore activity, some even leaping at the opportunity to cliff jump at some real gnarly spots in the canyon! By the time we made it back to our starting point and began to deposit the gear, our tired and hungry crew was ready for a shower and some rest. Before our journey back to camp, however, the leaders surprised the group with an impromptu stop at Tim Hortons, a Canadian staple! We all had a ton of fun trying timbits, fun drinks, and the leader’s favorite chicken noodle soup. And while we were waiting, we had a ball just chatting and enjoying our time together, particularly cracking up at Jack’s Forrest Gump impression (it’s spot on, by the way). Getting back to camp was a good mix of fun jams and dozing naps, and but our crew hit a second wind as we headed up for the next part of our night: an iron chef cooking competition! Team James narrowly defeated Team Camille with their burrito creation, Emmeline spearheading many of the team’s efforts and leading them to victory, and everyone had a ton of fun. (Personally, I thought Team Camille’s pasta and stuffed bell pepper were amazing, but you win some, you lose some.) Our hilarious Moonup exposed the group’s embarrassing lack of knowledge on canyons in the world, and we all went to bed in high spirits despite it being our last night in Canada.

Our last full day together was bittersweet, to say the least. We hopped in the van in the morning ready to commemorate our time together, and our travel day certainly reflected that, with some of the loudest singing and the highest spirits we had seen so far on the trip. Passing back into the United States was both a fun and momentous occasion as we jammed out to the most patriotic songs we know, and the group also had much more fun than you’d ever expect washing and cleaning out the van. The day was full of fun surprises and plans, including a welcome stop at Chick Fil A for lunch, a trip into Goodwill for goofy banquet outfits (everyone knocked it out of the park), and our final destination T our banquet restaurant. Our rowdy group absolutely chowed down on some tacos and quesadillas at banquet, and so many laughs were had as we reflected on our favorite moments from the trip. At the end of our dinner, we celebrated our early birthday princess, Sloane, with a serenade from the wait staff and dessert! The group spilled back into the parking lot full of energy for our last Moonup at our campground, which proved to be an awesome time of getting to edify one another individually and really just express gratitude for all we’ve been through together over the past two weeks.

By the time you folks at home are reading this update, all of your kiddos are safely traveling back to you, and some may even be home by now. We cannot thank you enough for sharing your most prized family with us over these past two weeks in British Columbia. Especially for us in our third session, our team is simply overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to get to know and love your kids. They have taught us more than we could have ever imagined, and we’ve had enough fun for a lifetime! We can’t wait to stay in touch with all of them.


Catch us if ya can,

Brad, James, and Camille

Smiling in Squamish!

July 22, 2023

Guess what?!? It’s BCOC, back again! We know you missed us, so we have returned to give y’all the inside scoop on what we’ve been up to. Things have certainly been eventful since we last updated, so be sure to buckle your seatbelts.

Day 8 of our trip was quite a bittersweet travel day as we caught the ferry from Vancouver Island to the mainland for the last time. Before finishing our drive to the terminal, we stopped at Costco for a parking lot pizza party, and we all got good and fully before setting back out to the sea. We said a heartfelt goodbye to all our amazing times had in Lake Comox and Tofino, and not one cloud was in the sky as we pushed out of the harbor at Departure Bay for Horseshoe Bay. As always, the ferry involved many a soft serve, orders of chicken strips, and exploration on the upper decks of the ship. As we hopped back in the car to finish our short drive into Squamish, the group admired the simply unreal views on Sea to Sky highway and reveled in the beauty of our mini Zach Bryan concert in the van. Our later ferry schedule brought us into our first Squamish campsite as the sun started dipping below the trees, so we quickly put together a delicious meal of chicken teriyaki with noodles and rice, complete with a fantastically colorful array of vegetables to go with it, and enjoyed the fresh air before discussing how we would all survive a tsunami situation during our Moonup. Everyone hit the hay greatly anticipating our next activity section: whitewater rafting!

The morning before heading onto the river, the group enjoyed a more leisurely wake up before packing up camp and heading out into town. The leaders surprised the group with our pre-rafting BCOC tradition: McDonald’s breakfast! Everyone had a great time gobbling up hotcakes and bacon, egg McMuffins, and yummy smoothies while enjoying the shockingly beautiful interior of the Squamish McDonald’s. Elvis certainly made the most of the experience by enjoying some time in the play place and maxing out the number of ketchup packets you can order at a kiosk (if anyone was wondering, the most you can get is 5. A little bit lame, if you ask us). Soon after our breakfast, the group headed to a gas station to load up on more energy, and we got hype in the van as we pulled into the parking lot at Canadian Outback Rafting! Everyone was quick to pack up their dry bags for the overnight and get changed into swimsuits so we could get going. Grace won the prize for most efficient girl putting on a wetsuit, and AT definitely wins at having the most tenacity during that gritty process. For many of us, we got to enjoy the fact that putting those wetsuits on was the hardest part of the day! As we met our guides and hopped on the bus, excitement bubbled as we mentally prepared for our day on the water. We got briefed on safety and paddling commands before piling into our boats: the boys’ boat and the girls’ boat (also lovingly called “ladyboat”)! As soon as we were pushing off the shore, Emilia was leading the ladyboat in passionate renditions of Taylor Swift and Zach Bryan songs, and we learned that Liza and Emmeline have an unreal memory of the lyrics to the songs from Hamilton. Having a front row seat to their personal concerts was quite the treat! Both boats absolutely shredded the river, conquering up to Class IV rapids with no one falling out of either boat! Sloane and AT absolutely showed out by starting as the ladyboat paddle captains, and our guide Anna was particularly impressed with the girls’ strength and enthusiasm. Many a chant war and splashing battle broke out between the two boats, but spirits stayed high and attitudes friendly as we traveled down together. We stopped for snacks on a rocky beach before continuing on to a rapid-heavy section as a group, and Michael got to model his shades for us. In our opinion, those were the things that gave him the power to paddle so well. Despite the action in the water, the boys’ boat was eager to embrace the sounds of nature, even taking a moment of silence as a group and wallowing in the beauty of where they were. Jack even motivated the boys’ boat with some encouraging words. It was certainly moving enough to propel the boys through a full day of paddling! Before we knew it, our group was washing onto the shore of our island at which we camped for the night. After changing out of wetsuits and having a tour of our temporary home, everyone enjoyed the luxury of ready-made appetizers and chatted about their experiences in the rafts. Exclamations of excitement filled the beach as we munched on the best meal of the trip so far: steak and salmon, complete with mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, and garlic bread! We even had the special treat of chocolate fudge and whipped cream for dessert. Full and happy, we had our Moonup on the rocky beach before the boys and girls had their respective sleepovers and chatted under the insane show of stars.

Waking up on the river was both beautiful and refreshing, and we all jumped at another amazing meal – French toast for breakfast! Before packing up and heading out for our float on the river, an impromptu fight club broke out on the sand, which was a ton of fun both to be involved in and simply to spectate. Some highlights included the three James vs each other, in which  James Carney and James Mattocks teamed up on leader James, an all boy students vs Brad and leader James moment, and a silly fight between Camille and all the girl students. It certainly was one way to get the blood pumping early in the morning! After setting back out on the river for our float, the songs, chants, and chats resumed as we soaked up the sun and took some peaceful boat dozes. The takeout point was both high energy and efficient, and soon enough we were back at the rafting base and ready to set out for our next activity. After fueling up with lunch and setting up our new campsite, the group found ourselves in a most epic situation: at the trailhead of the path to summit the Chief! The Chief is an iconic landmark in Squamish, rich in native history and a current Mecca for outdoor activity lovers of all kinds, so we knew we had to get a little gritty and make it up. It certainly got a little gnarly as we lost count of the number of stairs we climbed and as those stairs became more like ladders, but we were SO impressed with the morale of the group and the resolve they showed on such a challenging hike! Smith shared with us that he wants to be a trail runner someday (specifically with two huskies out in Alaska), and he certainly proved his physical capabilities for that sport on the trail. Summiting the Chief was truly an unmatched feeling – high fives and cheers reverberated over the rock as we took in the view of all of Squamish and beyond! The leaders broke out some surprise treats of Twix, Sour Patch Kids, and Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider (pro tip: bring a bottle opener next time!) and we took plenty of photos to celebrate our accomplishment. The group shared all of our gratitude to be there and our awe in the landscape around us before heading back down to whip up some tacos for dinner and fall asleep before our heads hit the pillow after our huge day.

Our last activity section is all the time we have left together, and boy is it bittersweet! We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: BCO 3C truly is a special group. We can’t wait to tell you all about the special moments our last few days together have in store, but until then, sending all our love! Think of us as we keep on squeezing out the zest of life!


See ya later, alligators!

Brad, James, and Camille

Tofino Dreaming + Shoutouts!

July 19, 2023

Good morning! BCO 3C is back again with another update. As we mentioned before, we have certainly been up to plenty, so we can’t wait to tell you all about it! We also hear that you all may have missed out on our first update timing-wise—please don’t panic! We are diligently writing updates to keep you all current, but sometimes things get lost in the shuffle or we encounter a spot with limited service. That being said, let’s get into our last few days of exploration!


After the completion of our climbing section in Lake Comox, the group enjoyed a well-deserved morning of sleeping in and lounging in the sunshine. We enjoyed an amazing breakfast of pancakes and bacon, complete with chocolate chips and blueberries to garnish. Many members of the group said that breakfast has been their favorite meal of the trip so far! Soon thereafter, we excitedly piled into the van for an expedition to Tofino, the surfing capital of British Columbia! Wildfires and debris are still somewhat impacting the highways and travel to the surf town, but everyone was an awesome sport, and we made it to Tofino in no time! Stoke was remarkably high as we navigated to our new campsite right on the beach, and we simply couldn’t wait to get out there, so the evening was punctuated by a competitive batch of beach soccer and football games. Much to Brad’s chagrin, leader James’ team took the dub in both games, but we all certainly had an amazing time no matter what. Running around in the sand and feeling the breeze off the ocean was a treat in and of itself. After we were all satisfactorily tired and hungry, we strolled back to camp where the leaders prepared our personal favorite meal of the entire summer: gyros! Munching on steak and tzatziki at camp almost felt too good to be true, and everyone was very excited about both the greens and the toasted naan involved. After a beautiful beach Moonup, some drizzle interrupted the group’s normal plan of cowboy camping, so the majority of folks pivoted to a slumber party in the van while Emmeline, as a true woman of the wild, stuck it out and slept in her eno cuddling yet another watermelon.


We’re not sure how much sleep came from the slumber party before day 6, but we do know the energy in the group certainly didn’t suffer as we suited up for an action-packed day of fun! The group enjoyed a yummy and filling oatmeal bar before setting out for our first outfitted activity: stand up paddle boarding—or SUP! We gladly ventured out into the sea thanks to the sunny skies and minimal wind, and even though everyone was able to stand pretty quickly, we were all soon hijacking each other’s boards, and everyone’s hair was wet within about 10 minutes. Elvis and Smith particularly menaced everyone’s boards, and Liza mostly sought peace by looking through the kelp forest for crabs. Plenty of crabs of all sizes were out and about, and even better, after venturing to a rock in the middle of the sea, James Mattocks found a humongous starfish that we all got to pass around! The last part of our first day of SUP included a relay race between pairs for the fastest to tow one another. Grace and Camille took the dub, and soon after the race we headed back to camp for a quick lunch and pit stop before heading out to surf! The group hit Cox Bay Beach right at high tide, and everyone nailed the lesson on the beach immediately! Heading out into the water, we definitely discovered that we had some naturals on our hands, James Carney standing up on every wave almost immediately, and Emilia even pulling out some tricks by jumping around and riding waves backwards! Michael also showed us how it’s done out in California by displaying some certifiably gnarly riding of the waves. After a long while in the water, our salty bunch headed in for a quick stop in town where we shopped and enjoyed downtown before grabbing dinner at Big Daddy’s Fish Fry. Popcorn shrimp and chicken fingers were two very popular choices, and by the time we were heading back to camp and having our second beach Moonup, we thought things couldn’t get any better until we ran into the BCO A group and enjoyed a friendly game of beach volleyball with them! Needless to say, we hit the hay hard as we rested up for another day in Tofino.


Our activities started a little earlier on day 7 of our trip, and our day of practice served us well as we embarked on our second round of surfing. Party waves were had by all, competitions for riding the waves were many, and spirits were high as everyone enjoyed some even bigger waves than the day before! Our time in the water flew by, and before we knew it we were munching on some ramen for lunch and heading out to SUP once again. Our second day was a little windier than the first, earning AT and Sloane spots as passenger princesses being towed by our guide, and Jack rode the stoke a little too hard and ended up flipping his board. Despite the motion of the ocean, we all had a ton of fun adventuring out to a rock way out in the sea where we discovered more starfish than we could count and sunbathed before heading back to the shore for some football and other games in the water. The group did an amazing job packing up and getting moving as we said goodbye to Tofino. We can’t wait to embark on our next activity section starting tomorrow!


We cannot believe our adventure together is already halfway through. It truly is bittersweet because we LOVE this group of kiddos and are cherishing every moment we have together. That being said, we know all of you at home are missing your most loved ones, so here are some shoutouts from them until you get to reunite in a week’s time!


Emmeline: Hi Mom! How are you? Was Dad happy with Eiger? Did he get a bib number? I’m having a blast, but lots of sensory overload. Love you!


James Carney: Hi mom and dad I am have the best time and I am almost out of money so I will probably do something with the leaders where it sends it to their card. Thx I am having so much fun love you bye


Emilia: what’s up fam, I’m having a blast in BC right now! We have so far gone rock climbing and surfing. I miss y’all so much and I can’t wait to get back and see my friends. Hopefully the Hamptons are warm when I come back. Make sure bubkins and sandy knows I miss them. See you soon!


Liza: Hey fam! Having the best time! Miss y’all lots! PUT MORE MONEY ON MY GREEN-LIGHT! Thank you so much for sending me on Moondance!


Sloane: Hi mom and dad! I’m having an amazing time and I’ve made so many new friends. I’ve already gone surfing, rappelling, rock climbing, and paddling boarding. love and miss you guys!


Ann Tolly: Hey Mama and Dad! I’m having a blast!! I miss y’all so much! Tell everyone at home I said hi, also tell the boy and girl cat I said hi! Love and miss y’all so much!


Grace: Hey y’all I’m having loads of fun! Don’t worry I haven’t burned down all of BCO….. yet. Say hey to Camy for me and Max!!!! Love y’all!!!!


Jack: Hi mom and dad! I miss you guys so much! I am having a blast here in BC! All the activities have been so fun and everyone is nice! I miss you guys and love you so so much! Say hi to OB for me please! Love you!


Smith: Hi dad, I miss you! I’m having lots of fun! Love you!


Michael: Hey mom and dad! It’s really fun and I miss you a ton, love you!


Elvis: Hi mom and dad! We just finished surfing in Tofino and I rappelled off a cliff over a lake. It was really cool! Tell Colonel hi for me! I love you!



James Mattocks: Hello mom and dad I am having a great time and I am enjoying it more than last year. By the time you read this wood will probably be home so say hi to him. If we ever go to bc we need to visit Lake Comox, Cumberland. I love you guys!



That’s all from us for now! Sending all our love. We can’t wait to tell y’all more!!




Brad, James, and Camille


A whale of a time

July 18, 2023

Hello from beautiful British Columbia! Our 3C group is off to a fast and furious start, and we couldn’t be more excited that all your kiddos are here safe and sound for the best two weeks ever!! We’ve only been here four days, but they sure have been full of action as the group is already meshing beautifully.

Our first day together was full of airport muffins, SeaTac Starbucks runs, and icebreaker games as we enjoyed welcoming every new arrival to the BCO fam! After everyone made it to Seattle in one piece, the group squadded up for a fun-filled van ride to our first campsite! We enjoyed a scrumptious pizza dinner, and the group embraced the idea of cowboy camping, so we didn’t even need to set up tents! We played the rock game to kick start some friendly competition before lounging by the rocky beach and learning about what Moonup is and just how hype it can be. Nicknames were already being affectionately assigned on night 1, and we had a ton of fun learning more about each other. Before we turned in for the night after everyone’s big travel day, we recognized our first two LODs: Grace and James Carney!

Day 2 of the trip was a big one – we celebrated our last few hours in the USA for the next while then crossed into Canada! Everyone did amazing at the border, and before we knew it we were home free into the land of maple syrup and Tom Hortons. Arriving at our first campsite in Cumberland, we excitedly took a dip in the lake and bonded over protecting Chris, our sacred watermelon purchase that everyone quickly grew an attachment to. Our fantastic cook crew cheffed up a filling meal of spaghetti, despite losing our zucchini in the process, and we munched on our dinners at camp before we discussed who would die first in a zombie apocalypse during Moonup. We won’t throw anyone under the bus here, but let’s just say Sloane, Grace, and Camille may not be the group’s first choices for surviving apocalyptic times. We all slept peacefully under the stars so we could rest up for our first activity: rock climbing and rappelling!

The sunshine on day 3 perfectly encapsulated our bright moods as we devoured bagels for breakfast and set out to meet our outfitters! Everyone was super excited to learn that climbing was our first activity, and the hike up to our climbing spot was full of excited chatter and gobsmacked reactions to the beautiful forest around us. The first day of climbing involved learning how to tie the knots properly and belay our friends, and pretty soon everyone was scrambling up the wall and trying the rappel,as well! Emilia was the first to touch the top of her route, James Carney finishing his soon after, and we all loved getting to celebrate them as they crushed it! Grace sported leader James’ silly sunglasses during her rappel, really sealing the deal for her cool climber look, and James Mattocks looked like a pro up there by the end of the day, conquering some of the routes not once but twice! After our first day on the rocks, we headed back to camp where we enjoyed a mini beach day. Jack and Elvis led a charge to sink the floating log at the end of the bay, and we finally broke open Chris and enjoyed some watermelon in the sun before playing some soccer as a group. Sloane and AT particularly enjoyed snacking on the watermelon in the water and felt so attached to the watermelon that they hosted a funeral ceremony for the end of his short life. Ravenous after our long day, we enjoyed a fantastic meal of walking tacos before another Moonup, and we headed to bed ready for the Devil’s Ladder off Lake Comox on Day 4! Emmeline really showed out as a rockstar cowboy camper by sleeping in her eno hammock, so she may have gotten the best sleep of all of us, but we all dreamt of conquering 5-11s and rappelling like nobody’s business that night.

Our second day of climbing was a very special day – one of our guides, Mark, was celebrating his 50th birthday by climbing with us! Also almost equally as special, Liza and Emilia treated us to some elaborate and beautiful interpretive dances to earn a Celsius for the day. After warming up some more in the forest, the group headed up to Devil’s Ladder for lunch and got rolling on the gnarly rappel and subsequent climb. Smith conquered his fear of rock climbing and rappelling, looking like a natural on the 100 foot wall! Michael also showed out during his turn, noting how much fun he had and impressing us with his strategic approach back up the rock. We had a ton of fun documenting everyone’s climb and just hanging out to take in the beautiful views over Lake Comox! After everyone got done, we whipped out a birthday cake for Mark, not without Camille dropping one of the two cakes smack on the ground and on Mark’s bag, and sang happy birthday. Thank goodness James got two cakes, so there was plenty to go around. Soon after our climb, we headed into town for more treats at a local ice cream shop! The leaders tricked the group into thinking we were heading to a gear fitting, so it certainly was a relief and a sweet treat for us all that we didn’t have to squeeze into wetsuits and instead got to enjoy some sweet goodness. When we headed back to camp and began winding down for the night, we had fun socializing with one of the other BCO groups who had just arrived at our campsite, during which Jack’s capacity of nicknames grew greatly. Whether it be Jack, Jesus, Coach, or Devin, he is always around with a smile and some wit for the group! Our final Moonup in Lake Comox looked out over a beautiful sunset on the beach, and the group shared our excitement about moving into our next activity section.

We can’t wait to share more with you all about our adventures! The trip is only getting started, so we know you will be excited to hear all about it!


Brad, James, and Camille

Greetings From British Columbia 3C!!

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


  • James
  • Michael
  • Emilia
  • Emmeline
  • Smith
  • Sloane
  • James
  • Elvis
  • Liza
  • Jack
  • Grace
  • Ann