June 22, 2023
The day has come for our final Aloha 🙁 but the past few days have been nothing short of AWESOME!
On day 11, we got to start the morning by catching some more waves on Hanalei Bay, which was SOOO fun! This morning, the waves were more consistent and slightly bigger, so it made surfing all the more fun. Then, we went shopping in town where some of the girls got some matching overalls! We ate some Mexican food for lunch, and it was SO yummy. Once we got back to camp after our day, we enjoyed some quality time on the beach, reading, writing, and hanging out. For dinner, we cooked up some more quesadillas and ramen for dinner (random we know haha). Everyone loved it so much! Lexie led us in a dance party outside the van, showing us her skills, and shortly after was joined by Shoffy. It quickly turned into a dance-off, causing lots of laughter and joy, which will surely be a core memory of our trip. We finished the day off with another Moonup and got some good sleep for our early morning to come!
Day 12 was an early start, crossing the island again to Waimea Canyon for an 8 mile hike! During this time, Georgia and Helen spent lots of quality time together when they headed to town to try some local Kalua pork tacos while hanging out at a pier on the beach. Back at Koke’e State Park, we began our trek. We slipped and slided a couple times on the trail due to the mud, but we laughed it off. The mud made for some awesome looking body paint! When we reached the halfway point, we had an amazing view of the Nā Pali coastline that we had sea kayaked to a few days earlier. We took a lunch break to eat PB&Js and hummus wraps before starting our hike back. Our interesting trail conversations really helped us push to the end! Kate was the very first one to reach the finish line on our 8 mile hike and kept a positive attitude the whole time. Katie was right alongside her and would not stop talking about how much she enjoyed it and how accomplished she felt afterwards. We all hopped in the van and got some gigantic shaved ices down at the bottom of the hill. Once we finished, we headed back to camp to shower and get ready for our banquet dinner. We used our thrifted clothes from the day before and ate at a delicious resort restaurant. Lavinia went all out and wore the best outfit at our dinner, wearing a great surfing shirt and some hilarious board shorts that said “motorboatin”. After enjoying fish tacos, volcano poke, and smash burgers, we went back to camp, and everyone stayed up late to savor their last night all together.
On our last day, we slept in a little to enjoy the sounds of ocean waves one final time. But, we made sure breakfast was a good one! Sulli and Evangelene worked as a team to make us our most delicious breakfast yet. Sulli flipped banana pancakes while Evangelene scrambled up some eggs for our delicious breakfast burritos! We had pineapple, apples, papaya and even dragonfruit, After breakfast, we took a few hours to soak up some last minute rays on the beach, pack up, and clean up camp. All this moving got us a little hungry again, so we closed out our time at camp with a charcuterie board and a caprese salad that Kaia and Maddie so professionally put together! We were so impressed. We ended our time at Kumu Camp with a nice, long Moonup, sharing our favorite things about each other, which ended in many happy tears and lots of hugs.
We are so grateful for the time we got to share with all of your amazing daughters. We can’t wait to see all of the many things they accomplish, and we are so happy we got to be a part of their Moondance experience!
Keep in touch! We miss you all already!
Signing off with lots of love,
Avery, Gretchen, and Helen
June 20, 2023
…You already know what’s coming… ALOHA!!! We have so much to catch up on!!!
The girls have all been eagerly awaiting surfing, so day 8 was nothing short of a GREAT time. We headed to Hanalei Bay where the girls all got up on their boards after only a few tries, looking like the pros. Lilley got up on her first try like it was no biggie, and Kate closed the morning by catching a wave all by herself, no instructor needed! After lots of waves and “shakas” given, we headed into town to do some window shopping until the rain came, which meant we had to head back to the campsite. As we drove, the sun came back out and more rainbows appeared! So, we decided to enjoy some chill time on the beach that is right in front of our tents (makes for an amazing morning view every day!). Georgia, Lilley, and Lilly took beach naps while Evangelene and Maddie took some time to reflect and journal. Afterwards, we cleaned up and sat in the ~pavilion~ to chit chat. Once Gretchen got back with the groceries, we had a COOKOUT!!!! Katie was a grill master, serving up the “glizzies,” as the girls call it. We all enjoyed our glizzies (hotdogs), and then us co-leaders snuck off to celebrate Lavinia’s birthday one final time with a proper birthday treat: a cookie skillet with whip cream! The group savored each bite before heading off to quiet down and wrap up the day with another lovely Moonup.
Day 9 was an earlyyyyy morning, starting out with a 2-hour drive across the island to the world famous Nā Pali coast to sea kayak! We arrived at Polihale State Park, which was SO beautiful! After some instruction from our instructors, Adam and Annie, we headed out, seeing a pod of spinner dolphins right away. Did you know if you see a group of dolphins on the surface, you’re actually only seeing about 25% of the pod? Cool, right?! Lexie and Kate killed it the entire way, being not only LODs, but also the first ones to our lunch spot. There, we munched on turkey sandwiches, jalapeño chips, and Hawaiian sodas. After, we got back into our kayaks and paddled back to the beach, taking some ocean dips in the sun on the way (Carefully! Made sure everyone packed on the SPF beforehand haha!). Once we made it back to the beach, we all felt so accomplished after crushing a 10 miler! To celebrate our big journey, we treated the team to some surprise delicious ice cream. Many banana splits and hot fudge sundaes later, we drove back to camp and took it easy after our big day.
Day 10 was a lot of people’s favorite day of the trip so far! We made the trek over to Waimea Canyon for some breathtaking views and a great photo op. Then, we stopped for lunch: the highly anticipated AÇAÍ BOWLS! We all devoured them, enjoying the fresh fruit before heading to zipline. After gearing up in our harnesses and helmets, we took a ride in the tour truck to our first zipline, which had everyone in awe, admiring the valley and the many waterfalls. On our second zipline, we were able to do some fun trick moves, such as starting with a trust fall or riding upside down. Georgia took full advantage of this and went fully upside down for the entire time! After this one, we took off our gear and headed into the woods for a COOL surprise. It was a beautiful swimming hole with a zipline into the water and a jump called “the leap of courage.” Kaia wasted no time, rushing over to take the leap of courage ASAP! The water was perfect, and this was definitely an unexpected highlight of our trip. Every single person took a dip, despite none of us wearing swimsuits and only having the clothes on our backs. We dried off and headed to our last zipline over a huge valley. We geared up in some harnesses that looked like chef costumes and ziplined horizontally or “Superman style.” Lexie may have gone the fastest, closely resembling the Bullet power-up from Mariokart. This zipline was certainly the best one, as it lasted over a minute long! We rode back in giggles, having the best time. Gretchen was caught many times saying “this is my favorite day yet!” Following our wild ride, we headed to Target, which the girls were SO pumped about. Everyone got some goodies they had been wanting. When we got back to camp, Lavinia led the cook crew with quesadillas, pizzadillas, and ramen (unique we know, but it was a fan fav!). We then closed out the day with another Moonup and lots and lots of laughter!
We have thoroughly been enjoying our time with these girls, and we plan on making the most of our last few days! Talk to y’all later!
Gretchen, Avery, and Helen
June 16, 2023
ALOHA!! It just never gets old… We have had some great past few days that we can’t wait to share!
Day 6 was yet another amazing one! We finally got to slow down a little and enjoy being on island time. We started out with chefing up some BREAKFAST BURRITOS before packing up the van for a long drive across the island with some breathtaking views and good jams. Once we got to the Polulu Trail, we hiked down into the valley, admiring the view at every switchback. Maddie found an excellent photo spot, making sure everyone got a solid solo shot in front of the Kohala coast. Y’all will love them! Once we got to the bottom, we set up a ~smorgasbord~ for lunch that was a hit for the group! Kaia was a big fan, claiming this was our best lunch yet, and showing everyone how to make the perfect combo. We were in awe of how beautiful the valley was, so Avery led us through a mindfulness exercise to take it all in. After several switchbacks, lots of motivation, and loooots of water, we finally made it back up to the top, feeling so accomplished and proud! The hike must have energized the group because the ride back was a wild one! Lilley (aka Sully) and Lilly (aka Shoffy) had a tortilla slap fight, seeing who would be the first to burst out laughing, which ultimately resulted in both laughing until they cried. Georgia got the group going with a karaoke of Super Bass. We never knew a song could bring so many people together. I think our ears are still ringing, but it was awesome! Once we returned to our campsite, we had a fun announcement: IRON CHEF! Our phenomenal LODs, Lexie and Lavinia, split the group into two and strategically chose ingredients from what we had left to cook. From there, they cooked a full meal for the group, and us leaders got to be the judges. Lexie’s team opted to serve up pesto chicken with lemon rice. Lavinia’s team cooked some pasta with red sauce, chicken, garlic toast, and a very innovative salad, consisting of sprouts, avocado, and cucumber. Choosing a winner was just too hard when the meals were too good, or as Lexie would say, “bus,” and she’s not wrong! We closed out the night with yummy S’mores skillet with Oreos for dessert, giggling and enjoying our last night at Ho’okena.
You know what Day 7 means?! ITS LAVINIA’S BIRTHDAY! And we’re off to Kauai!!! We started out by tiptoeing around camp, wrapping streamers around Lavinia’s tent and hanging up birthday decorations. To celebrate, we had pink funfetti pancakes! The birthday girl opted for adding Oreos, chocolate chips, AND sprinkles to hers. Everyone was all smiles, enjoying the fun breakfast and getting excited for a new island. We broke down our tents, packed up, and headed for the airport. We had a layover in Honolulu, where the girls’ jaws dropped as they saw the Starbucks sign. Everyone was so happy to have some caffeine before boarding our next flight. We arrived in Kauai and were so shocked to see how lush this place really is! Evangelene was great at spotting all of the rainbows, even pointing out a triple rainbow! We didn’t even know those existed! Once we got to camp, we got to work setting up tents and unpacking. Kate was so great, offering extra hands anywhere she could and with a good attitude. For dinner, Katie was a big help, heating up queso for the group and flipping quesadillas to ensure perfect toastiness. We wrapped up day 7 with a glow stick party and a piñata for the birthday celebration, got into our tents, and fell fast asleep!
We have so much planned for the days ahead! We can’t wait to see what Kauai has to offer!
Avery, Gretchen, and Helen
SHOUTOUTS FROM THE SQUAD:
Maddie: Morgan, please be smart. Please schedule me an eyebrow wax because it’s BAD. Love you!
Evangelene: Hey family! I’m having the best time EVER! I miss y’all so much. Can’t wait to see you. PS Please sign me up for the ACT.
Kaia: I’m having a great time! Love and miss you Mom and Dad!
Lexie: Hello family. Having a great time! Miss everyone, especially my sisters! Love you guys!
Kate: Hey One F Jef, Christi, and Satan! I love and miss y’all!
Shoffy: What’s upppp! Having a good time. See ya soon! Love you! Bring Caroline to the airport.
Georgia: Yo whats up. Shaka. Hawaii is cool as $!
Lavinia: BELLLLOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Give Bolish a big hug and kiss from me! I miss him. Rhett, if I don’t talk to you before camp, have a wonderful time. Love y’all!
Sully: hey guys. It’s Sully. They call me that now. My duffel broke, and I got a new one at Walmart. Hope all is well! I’m having the best time without you guys! I love you.
Katie: hope y’all are having a great week! Love y’all!
June 14, 2023
WOW have we had some FUN days that we can’t wait to share with you all! Day 1 started a little late, but we were SO happy to finally greet our girls in the Kona airport! Katie, Evangelene, and Lavinia joined us a little earlier than the rest of the group, so we headed to a beach up the road and enjoyed debating the best cuisines while watching the locals catch some waves. Once the rest of the group arrived, we drove down to our campsite (which is on the coolest black sand beach) and enjoyed some late-night pizza from a local shop and shared what our spirit animals are. Georgia shared that she is definitely a squirrel, others are dolphins, and some are sloths, so we can’t wait to see the energy from this group!
Day 2 started with a rather early wakeup call with all the girls naturally waking up before 5:30AM! We loaded up the van and headed to Jack’s Diving Locker to work on our SCUBA certifications. The car ride kept us entertained as we listened to some hype songs and got to know each other better, such as Lavinia and Lilley bonding over their shared love for Pitbull. The day was long, but our instructors, Carlos, Jeanne, and Mel, made it so much fun for the entire group! After wearing ourselves out, we headed back to camp. Some went for a walk, while the others enjoyed watching the sunset on the beach. We had the BEST dinner, courtesy of the Leaders of the Day: Kate and Katie. We’re now 5 days in, and chicken fajita bowls has still been the crowd favorite!
Day 3 was another day spent in the pool, honing down on all of our new skills, but we were able to close out this SCUBA day with a sweet treat! Our instructor, Carlos, recommended a shaved ice place down the street, so our fearless LODs, Maddie and Lilly, led our group and it surely did not disappoint! We made a quick chicken pesto dinner at Jack’s on their pool deck, and yes, we did eat dessert before dinner – just having fun over here! Then, we headed out for a COOL manta ray night snorkel, led by Keller, who taught us everything we needed to know about manta rays and kept the entire group laughing with many dad jokes. The entire group was high energy, as any boat ride just seems to make people happier. After a 20 minute ride, we tied up to a mooring ball and got ready to jump in. Although a little nervous at first, Kate braved the ocean at night and was one of the last people back on the boat. Lavinia couldn’t stop giggling as a swarm of little minnows kept getting into her fins! We may not have gotten to see a manta ray, but our group lucked out with seeing not one but TWO rare Hawaiian monk seals! That’s a good statistic, considering there are only 1,700 in the world! We closed out the day with a long car ride back home, some Oreos, and a good night’s sleep to prep for more SCUBA.
Day 4, we finally got to put our skills to the test with a shore dive off the beach! We met at the pier, set up our gear (all the girls are pros at assembling now), and walked on in. Despite being a little hesitant, Evangelene cruised down to 40 feet with no problem and loved every second of seeing what was there! We practiced many skills to make sure we are safe and knowledgeable divers, impressing the instructors with how well everyone was doing. After fueling up at lunch with turkey sandwiches and the best oranges (you can ask the girls – they truly are), we headed out for a second dive, seeing eels and even a baby octopus! After a loooong time in the water, the group was a bit tired, but we headed back to the dive locker to log our dives. Lexie’s wittiness was able to revive the group’s energy, making some of us laugh until we cried. To congratulate ourselves for our hard work, we headed back to Day 1’s beach for some much needed R&R under the sun. Georgia and Maddie set up Spikeball, while others strolled along the coast. We decided that the sand here reminds us of Everything But The Bagel seasoning, which is pretty accurate if you ask me. We drove down the beach a little bit, finding a spot with SIX outdoor showers: a true delicacy to find while camping. After a quick shower pit stop, we told the group we were headed to Walmart for some last-minute dinner supplies. The girls were excited to stop at the store, with all of them coming out with matching camping-themed nightgowns. What they didn’t know was that our amazing LODs, Evangelene and Lilley, helped us plan a surprise local food stop! The group was DELIGHTED to be stopping for Umeke’s, where many got yummy poke bowls. Kaia shared her Kahlua pork nachos with the group, which were definitely a menu highlight. Simply put, they were very happy to not be having our planned stuffed bell peppers 🙂 Lilly was the first to fall victim to our rule: if you lose something and we find it for you, you must be dancing in order to get it back. BUT, the girl did not disappoint with her moves. We headed back to camp with a full blown jam sesh in the van, and then had a great Moonup to close out a great day.
Day 5 was a BIG DAY! We are ~officially~ SCUBA certified The girls were so happy to be getting on a boat again. We cruised down to Garden Eel Cove, where we practiced our skills one last time. All of which, I was able to capture on the GoPro, so you all will get to see too! Then, we headed to our final dive location: the Golden Arches! The girls were keen to notice that this is actually the dive spot that is right off the beach we have been going to. We got to plan on our own dive this time, so the groups had fun deciding who would do what, and where they would go. We dove in one last time and got to swim through the arches, thanks to our good skills of buoyancy! Carlos’ group got to see a sea turtle, and Jeanne and Mel’s group saw a Crown of Thorns, thanks to Gretchen’s good eyes. We camp back to the shop to log our dives, and the overall feeling was accomplishment! Lilly and Kaia hugged and high-fived, beaming with pride for themselves and each other, as they have been dive buddies for the past few days. Afterwards, we headed to a local coffee shop for a quick pick-me-up. The girls all got some cool merch and some cool Hawaiian drinks, as Kona is one of 2 places in the US that grows coffee! We drove back to camp and enjoyed swimming at the beach. Kaia and Georgia helped in the kitchen, where they may have stolen the crown for new crowd favorite meal. Shockingly, it was the not-so-exciting stuffed bell peppers!
So many more activities await us, and we can’t wait to keep doing it all with this AMAZING group of girls!!!
Gretchen, Avery, and Helen
June 10, 2023
Hello Hawaiian Island Families!
We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Hawaii! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!