June 22, 2023
California 1A families and friends,
We want to begin by thanking you for sharing your AMAZING kiddos with us for the past two weeks. Our time together has been nothing short of magical and full of laughter, smiles, and adventure.
We left off with 24 hours left together in our new favorite state. We started our day strong with donuts from the Sunshine donut shop on our way to surf! With full bellies and big smiles, we cruised down the highway jamming to Paige’s awesome playlist to Pacifica State Beach!
Our group immediately took to the waves and jumped right back in where we left off just two weeks ago! Ryan and Nora absolutely dominated and were catching wave after wave like professionals! During our break from the water, Sawyer and Everett made new friends with the sea piggies they found digging in the sand! Annie and Henry were our most enthusiastic body surfers and played the over under game until lunch time!
After surfing we found a sweet picnic spot just above the beach and had some reflection time about our trip. We wrote down 25 things we would like to do in our lives as well as wrote letters to our future selves to remember what we were feeling in the moment as our best selves on Moondance.
To continue the celebration of our magical time together, our crew made another pit stop for ICECREAM! Cold stone creamery hit the spot for a sunny afternoon on the coast! After a long two weeks of traveling the golden state with our sweet friend Phoebe (the Moondance van), it was time she got a bath! Anna Keels, Annette and Charlotte led the charge in restoring Phoebe to her former glory. Finally after a bit of hard work and elbow grease, we pulled out of the car wash with a van so sparkly she was barely recognizable!
The end of a Moondance trip is not complete without a trip to a local thrift store to find the funkiest outfits for our final dinner together. Addison, Olivia, and Charlotte loved every moment scouring for the perfect piece to complete their looks and helping others! Once we found our outfits, we got dressed and headed to our dinner spot — a yummy Mexican restaurant where cheese quesadillas with a side of French fries was a hot commodity.
After eating, we drove back to the same campsite where we spent night one of our adventure. Our time has become full circle, as we now where ending in the same spot where we started. However, as we looked back over the course of our two weeks spent together, we realized all our growth. From the outside you may not recognize a difference, but inside we each became a little more confident in ourselves and our abilities. We all experienced discomforting moments — whether it was your first time being away from home, your first time having to be unplugged from your phone, or even just your first time sleeping in a tent — it was through these discomforting moments that we grew the most. We supported each other. What once where strangers faces, now are friends. We are family, despite living miles and miles away from one another.
Although we ended our last update with this quote, I believe it is acceptable to say it one final time: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Although we may one day come to forget specific moments from our trip, we will never forget how it made each of us feel.
We are eternally grateful for our time spent together and cannot wait to watch these young leaders change the world around them!
Paige, Katherine, and Jack
June 21, 2023
Woo! Hi! We’re back!
It’s only been a few days but boy oh boy what an adventurous two days it has been! On day 10, we woke up in Lake Tahoe to the sweet smells of French toast. It’s not every day you get to eat this yummy breakfast paired with this magnificent view. Because of this campsite’s incredible location, it made this site a popular one. We were very proud of how excellent we were as campers given the crowded site. Addison even got word from our kind neighbors that they were impressed by our group cohesion and friendliness to all!
After our scrumptious breakfast, we waved goodbye to Lake Tahoe and once again loaded up in our much beloved van, Phoebe (this is our group decided name for her!) to head to our next location. A few hours and many Taylor Swift songs later, we arrived at the American River, where we would be rafting in the upcoming days! This campsite was also quite the place! A volleyball net, swimming spot, tall trees, fresh green grass, and showers — it had it all!! Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a special guest bearing cookies, Jack! We lounged the afternoon away playing games, taking a swim, and soaking up all this campsite had to offer. It was perhaps because of this lovely campsite that excited our Sawyer so greatly that he decided to let out a big humungous growl. Ever since, he has continued this growling and has been given the name “little cub.”
Our time spent rafting on the river resulted in great success. We saw many leaders step up and take charge. Henry encouraged us and kept the group working in sync. Olivia kept the energy high with her talented singing while we paddled. Nora led the way into each rapid with a massive smile on her face, screaming in excitement!
We had one leader in particular who may have even found a potential future job for herself. Miss Annie blew us and even our rafting guides away with her knowledge of all things rafting, kayaking, and rivers. She not only was knowledgeable but also was able to firsthand show us her rafting skills, as our head rafting guide let Annie sit in her seat. Way to go Annie!
As we arrived back to camp after a long day of rafting, we found ourselves competing against each other in a volleyball tournament. Although we love working together as a group, we had a grand time being competitive with one another. Anna Keels dominated the match with her epic serves that led to her team’s victory.
After volleyball, we walked over to our dinner spot, where our raft guides made us a DELICIOUS dinner of pasta, chicken, and steak! We all ate and ate and ate. To top it off, they surprised us with the ooiest, gooiest brownies that ended up all over our faces. Our wonderful guides also taught us a new game called “Blazo.” Although we all gave this game a try, Annette and Ryan repeatedly sought defeat over us.
To end our much-cherished time spent at our rafting campsite, our LOD’s Charlotte and Everette brought us together for moonup. We sat hearing each other’s stories while a multitude of stars that filled the sky shined over us. It was quite a special time.
Ugh, only two more sleeps until it’s all over and it’s time to go home. We still cannot believe it. We truly all feel like family now — a family who works together, loves together, seeks adventure together, and most importantly shares kindness to all together. As we wrap up our final days spent with each other, we hope to embrace all the impactful moments felt from the past two weeks. As we heard on day one and have continued to hold near to us ever since: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Sending much love,
Katherine, Jack, and Paige
Here are some Thank You’s from your kiddos:
Olivia B: Thanks mom and dad! I had the best time at camp and won’t forget it! Love you!
Everett J: Thank you for sending me on moondance love you.
Nora R: Thank you so much on this trip! I had sooooo much fun and loved everything. Love you!!
Annie M: This has been the best 2 weeks ever and thank you so much for sending me to Moondance.
Addison McMillen: This was the best 2 weeks of my life. I’m so happy you took me to moondance and pushed me through it even if I was sad to leave y’all. Love y’all.
Charlotte Campbell: Moondance has been an amazing thing to do. Thank you so much for encouraging me to go. Love y’all
Annette Beal: Thank u guys so much for pushing me to do Moondance it has been the BEST 2 weeks.
Anna Keels Stauffer: Thank you so much mom and dad for encouraging me to do moondance it’s been so fun. Love y’all!
Sawyer wood: Thanks for letting me go. Love, little cub!
Ryan Rabe: Hey mom and dad, Thank you for letting me go to Moondance!
Henry Morrison: Hey dad, I had so much fun! Thank you for letting me come.
June 17, 2023
Hello California, 1A family and friends!!!
It is officially day 10 of our EPIC adventure and things could not be any better! The energy and excitement this crew has for all California has to offer never ceases to amaze us!
We arrived in Lake Tahoe on the 14th and have been surrounded by the most beautiful 360 views ever since! Our time in this stunning location began with hacky sack and uno before our big feast of BBQ chicken sandwiches and WATERMELON! The summertime treat was a home run, and we went to bed with full tummies and big smiles.
Blue skies and the crystal-clear water greeted us the next day as we paddled our way through thrilling games on the lake! We played capture the flag, red light green light, and sharks and minnows all on the water in kayaks! Addison and Annie were our most successful kayak team as they dominated nearly every round we played!
After our games were finished, Sawyer decided to catch some rays, while letting Everett chauffeur him around the lake.
After kayaking and spending some time relaxing on the beach, we stopped for a sweet treat near camp to get ICE CREAM! This was the best way to wrap up our first full day in Tahoe and giggle over the silly memories made on the water. Our day ended with Moonup on the beach watching the sky turn from the most perfect blue to fluorescent pink, orange, and yellow.
This morning we were afforded the luxury of a little extra shut eye and made the yummiest bagel breakfast sandwiches ever! We had a neighbor who was just as hungry as us. Mr. Bear made an appearance at a few campsites seeking out some eggs and bacon too.
With full tummies and excitement through the van roof, we hit the road to go paddle boarding! We were so impressed by the natural talent these students have for water sports and the way they took to their boards so quickly! After a few rounds of tag and photos on the water, we hit the beach. Liv and Charlotte refined their frisbee skills and started our AWESOME group dance party! Taylor Swift made her daily appearance, and we jammed out to Our Song and practically had the whole beach singing along with us!
We set up camp at a new location tonight and had the best afternoon playing on the pier. Henry and Ryan were our brave leaders and jumped into the chilly water and swam the whole way back to the beach! Back at camp, Anna Keels and Nora taught the group how to make the perfect friendship bracelet to remember our time together by! Over friendship bracelets, Annette continued to impress us with her ability to get to know everyone and is a huge reason our group is so close!
We ended our last night in Lake Tahoe with Moonup and silly stories and cannot wait for the rest of our adventure in the days to come! We are so beyond grateful for our time with this crew and cannot believe we are more than halfway through our time together!
Until next time,
Paige, Andrew, and Katherine
June 15, 2023
Greetings California family and friends!!
We have been so fortunate to have spent the last couple of days exploring Yosemite and we can’t believe it’s already over! We have been busy learning to rock climb, belay, and rappel, and our awesome group absolutely loved every minute of it!
During our first day of rock climbing, Ryan and Henry took to the wall instantly and didn’t stop until they had completed every single route that our guides set up. Nora and Annie led our girl teams to success being the first ones up to test the route only to come down and cheer on their friends!
We also celebrated a birthday today! Happy Birthday Sawyer!!! Officially a teen! In the morning, we decked out the van with balloons, streamers, and birthday music. Paige asked Sawyer what his one birthday wish would be and he responded with “going fishing.” So when we spotted a fishing rod while visiting the Yosemite gift shop, Sawyer and the boys decided that it was essential to buy themselves one. When we got back to camp, Andrew took them down to the lake for a little birthday fishing. Later that night, we celebrated some more! We ate chocolate cake till our bellies were full and giggled till we couldn’t breathe trying to break the piñata!
Our second day of climbing was equally as exciting because there were new routes to conquer and new techniques to learn! Our guides showed us figure 8 knots, proper climbing form, as well as specific commands for going up and down the wall. Anna Keels and Olivia were our kind and patient leaders teaching everyone the brand new skill they mastered in a matter of minutes!
As we made our way back to camp for our final night in Yosemite, we all decided to take advantage of the amazing sunny weather and headed down to the lake. At Moondance, we love to jump into a body of water if given the opportunity. Therefore, although some of us didn’t have on our swimsuits, we still spontaneously made the jump into the lake. Charlotte said she didn’t regret it one bit! Ahh what a happy time this was — we swam, we danced, we fished, we ate, we laughed and then laughed some more. Nora, Addie, Annie, and Liv shared with us a sneak peak at their amazing choreographed dances that they have been preparing for our up and coming talent show!!
Every night, we gather for a time we like to call Moonup. This is a special time where we take a minute to pause, reflect back on our day and really get to sit with our thoughts. Annette and Everette, our LOD’s (Leaders of the Day) led us during this moonup. Both of them did an excellent job of stepping up in their role and showing their leadership, making this moonup a memorable one.
Today we are back on the road heading to Lake Tahoe! Before we left, we had a grand breakfast of m&m pancakes with fruit and whipped cream — YUM!! Although our drive is long, we have created a 6 hour playlist of our favorite songs, have written out and colored our daily quotes to hang in the van, and have eaten loads of car snacks!
It’s hard to believe our time together is halfway through. We are all getting closer and closer as a group each day. It’s sad to think about not being together in just merely a week yet it’s liberating to see the great changes and leaders emerge.
Here’s to more adventures and memories and smiles and laughter and all the good things ahead!
Much love from Lake Tahoe,
Katherine, Andrew, and Paige
Hey, Mom and Dad!! I love my group soooooo much and everyone is so nice. My councilors are the best and I am having such a good time. I can’t wait to go kayaking, paddle boarding, and white water rafting. I also loved surfing and rock climbing so much. Tell Biggy, Rocky, Remy and I guess Carter I miss them. I can’t wait to see you guys. LOVE YOU
Hi mom and dad! My group is soooo nice and I love them all! Surfing and rock climbing was actually so fun! And I can’t wait to go kayaking and white water rafting! Miss you guys! Ps. Tell Fat Jim and bettee and Koa and spicee I miss them!
Hi madre and padre. Happy Father’s Day dad. I’m having fun but I’m excited to come home. Love you
Hi Mom and Dad! Moondance has been amazing and my group is awesome! Today we arrived at Lake Tahoe and I’m so excited to paddle board!!! Tell Moose I love him!!! Love y’all!!!
Hey mom and dad! I miss you and the puppies a lot. I’m really enjoying Moondance and the food is really good! Love, Bird
Hi mom and dad! We just got to Lake Tahoe about an hour ago. It was a 5 hour drive. Nothing compared to SV but it was still a long drive. My group is really really good and the trip is super fun. I love and miss y’all soooooo much and I can’t wait to see you guys again soon!
Hi mom and dad I miss you and tell button I miss her, and tell Liam and Charlotte I miss them too. My group is really good! Love u
Hi mom and dad!!! I miss u guys sooo much and tell Bowden and ESPECIALLY Brady I miss them. Give Bruno, Bear, and Buddy kisses and hugs for me and give BlackBerry Boo extra snuggles. I’m having so much fun and CANT wait to see y’all in 6 dayssssss!!
hey mom and dad I miss y’all so much. I am having the best time ever and I love my group. I have two atl friends. Tell Crosby and Carter I miss them and Lola and Lexi. I can’t wait to tell y’all all about it. Love y’all
Hey mom and dad, miss y’all so much and I am having a AMAZING time. Tell Rosie, Buster, William, and Evs I say hi!!
Hey dad and Kate I miss you guys but I am also having so much fun here CANT wait to see you soon love you so much.
June 12, 2023
Hello California Family and Friends!
Wow! Four days in and what an adventure it has been! The energy started high, beginning on airport day, where we first gathered all together as a group. From strangers to friends, our group quickly bonded! We all partook in a little airport dance party then headed with our bags to load up the van. Our first stop was at our campsite at Half Moon Bay — a beautiful space seated perfectly next to the ocean. Upon arrival, Everette led the group in a bird chase around camp. This made the group immediately break out in laughter. Thus, ever since, he has granted himself the nickname of “Bird.” Sawyer thought of the grand idea to go for a beach walk, so Andrew led the group down to the water. Paige and Annette walked along the beach while listening to some much loved Taylor Swift! We ended the night with some pizza before heading off to bed to get some sleep for our big day ahead.
Day two started with a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, and fruit. Our surfing lesson was scheduled for later in the day, which gave us some extra time for some fun activities at camp. Liv, Henry, Ryan, and Nora played with the hacky sack, while Annie, Addison, Sawyer, Annette, and Everette played spike ball! Paige, Charlotte, Katherine, and Anna Keels decided to sit and color! Later that afternoon, we headed over to Pacifica Beach for our surf lesson. Although we had many first time surfers, everybody was able to shred at least one wave — Annie being the first! Woohoo!
On day three, we set out for Point Reyes where we hiked to see a light house overlooking the water. Although this was a long travel day in the car for us, Addison and Annie kept the spirits high with their van singing and dancing.
Once making it to our next campsite, Anna Keels displayed her talented culinary skills as she helped Katherine in the kitchen preparing mac n cheese with rotisserie chicken for dinner.
Today started bright and early! We drove into Yosemite where we planned to hike. Our group was a little hesitant at first because the route was steep, the sun was nowhere to be found, and the mist of the waterfall made for cold feet; however, WE DID NOT GIVE UP!!!! 3 miles later, along with a little motivation from Henry and Charlotte, we made it to the peak for a magnificent top of the waterfall view. Feeling proud of our group’s determination despite discomfort, Paige surprised the group with marshmallows at the top. We of course also had to have a little dance party to our groups now decided trip song of “Our Song” by Taylor Swift.
We can’t believe it’s only been 4 days yet we all feel so close and connected. The laughs are endless. The energy is always high. And the fun adventure never seems to come to an end! Can’t wait to update again with what happens next!!!
Paige, Katherine, and Andrew
June 8, 2023
Hello California Families!
We just heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in San Francisco! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout-out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!