July 25, 2023
This trip has been absolutely incredible and we feel so lucky that we got to end our summer with such a great group of kids! We woke up on our last full day and had some pancakes for breakfast, which Lauren did an excellent job making! For our last activity of the trip, we went zip-lining through the mountains of Kapalua. Everyone had a blast flying through the air and spending our last moments together. Lincoln, Danny, and Carter enjoyed getting to know the guides, and Amelia, Lauren, and Lilla had a ton of fun racing down the lines! After zip-lining, we grabbed some sushi and sandwiches for a quick lunch before heading to Goodwill to pick our outfits for banquet. Banquet is a Moondance tradition where we find the craziest outfits possible and then wear them out to dinner. The girls picked outfits for the boys and vice versa, and it was hilarious watching the kids find things for one another and craft insane outfits. Morgan sported a very pretty dress while Clementine was fitted in a gaming t-shirt and oversized basketball shorts. Once we finalized our choices, we decided to play one last pickle-ball tournament. Evan showed off his new skills and impressed the group with his improvement! Grier and Amelia dominated the courts and went undefeated! After a few hours of playing, and watching the sunset, we got all dressed up, looking completely ridiculous, and headed to a local Thai restaurant in Maui. This was a super fun experience, as the kids were dying laughing at each others outfits as well as the conversations revolving around the funniest moments of the trip. After dinner, we headed back to camp for one final Moonup before staying up and cherishing our last night together. The next morning, we had Chick-fil-A breakfast and Krispy Kreme before we got to work on packing everything up and cleaning the campsite. After a hardworking morning, we headed to a local food truck lot before going to the airport. The evening was filled with lots of bittersweet goodbyes, as the kids bid farewell. It is always awesome to see just how close a group can get in just two short weeks! We had the time of our lives with this group and couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the summer.
Thank you all for sharing your kids with us!
July 23, 2023
Aloha! We can’t believe how fast this session is flying by. The past few days have been jam packed with activities and fun and we have loved every second! We embarked into the Garden of Eden in Hana for a day of rainforest rappelling. Individually, the kids summited down cliffs that were 60 feet high and right next to gushing waterfalls, into pools of water below them. We were surrounded by lush rainforest everywhere we looked, and the views were incredible. The group had a ton of fun with this activity, rappelling down the cliff and then cheering each other on. Grier, Clementine, and Amelia all were naturals and went down the cliffs with grace! After rappelling, we headed back to camp, but not before making a quick grocery run. For dinner that night, we split the group up into two teams- boys and girls- and had a cooking competition between the two, with the leaders as the judges. We were blown away by these kids’ cooking skills! After two very tense hours of cooking, the meals were prepared. The boys presented us with steak, asparagus, and homemade french fries. Danny led the team by cooking the steak, while Evan and Morgan assisted him. All of this was delicious and we couldn’t believe they were able to pull it off! The girls also did an amazing job, with Lilla leading the group in creating pasta with homemade vodka sauce, garlic bread, and roasted vegetables. For dessert, Lauren made us cake pops that were beautiful and tasted amazing! The girls killed this and their presentation really topped it off. It was an extremely tough decision to make, but in the end, we decided that the boys were the winners! Either way though, this was definitely our best meal of the entire summer. Once dinner was over, Amelia and Evan led Moonup, before playing games until we went to bed. We woke up the next morning, had breakfast, and then went straight to the beach! The girls got their tan on and played in the ocean while the boys wandered the connecting town with Ricky. After a day in the sun, we packed up and headed to a cooking class for dinner! This was super fun and located at a beautiful house in the mountains of Maui that also doubles as a coffee and fruit farm. After a quick tour of the farm, the kids got to work on our first dish, summer rolls! Lincoln and Grier helped the chef prep the ingredients before each kid made their own summer roll. This was a lot of the kids’ first time trying these, and they were a hit all around! Next, we stuffed homemade biscuit dough with a variety of vegetables and then fried and baked them. We then made fried rice with more vegetables and tofu and served these dishes together. This was also delicious and the kids had a ton of fun trying the various sauces to go with it. Afterwards, we made a vanilla coconut cream pudding and a chocolate one, as well as sweet biscuits with chocolate in the middle. The pudding was used in parfaits with a berry mixture. The desserts were definitely the highlight of the evening, and the group loved it! Evan, Carter, and Morgan especially enjoyed these. Once the cooking class was over, we headed back to camp, played some basketball, and then did Moonup, led by Lilla and Carter, before going to bed. We had a very early morning the next morning, as we set out on a boat with Redline Rafting for a snorkel tour! We had a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and fruit on the boat, and sang Happy Birthday to Danny, who turned fifteen today! Our first stop was the Molokini Crater, a volcanic crater about four miles offshore that is now a bird and wildlife sanctuary, as well as one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Hawaii. We hopped in the water and were immediately stunned by the clarity of it, as well as the abundance of fish swimming around the reefs! We explored for a while before heading to our next stop, the other side of the crater, which is home to a thing called the Elevator. The currents are pushed vertically rather than horizontally here, creating a sort of underground water rollercoaster that lifts you up and drops you down up to 20 feet! The kids had a blast playing in this, and were shocked by the depths of this water. Here, it is around 300 feet deep, and you can see all the way to the bottom of the ocean! Morgan and Lincoln were pretty spooked by this, but conquered their fears, jumped in, and had a ton of fun! After a short boat ride to our next stop, Evan and Lincoln got right in the water and snorkeled around our third reef spot while the rest of the group perfected their backflips off the boat. Soon, Lincoln and Evan joined the boat, and in no time, every single kid was flipping like a circus off the boat into the water! This was super fun and it was awesome to watch the kids give each other tips and never give up until everyone could do it. We then headed to our last stop, known as Turtle Town. After a quick lunch we jumped in the water and swam to the reef, which is a cleaning station for sea turtles. They come here to get the algae cleaned off of their shells by smaller fish who feed off of the same algae! There were turtles all over the place, and the kids were super excited about it, as everywhere they turned a new one would swim up! Clementine, Grier, Amelia, Lilla, and Lauren also spotted an eel! After this stop, we hopped back on the boat and headed to shore. This activity was the favorite of the session, and the group absolutely loved every second of it! We then went back to camp to prepare for the Maui Olympics. All of the Moondance groups on Maui come together and compete in various games against each other! We decked out in our team color, red, and got hyped up for the afternoon. Evan even painted himself head to toe in red paint in an act of extreme team pride. We drove up to another Moondance campsite and the games began! First, we played Birdie on a Perch, a Moondance favorite, and then followed with a 4-3-2-1 relay. Amelia started us off with her speedy bear crawl, and then Clementine and Lauren were next with a three-legged raced. Grier then sprinted down the field for the two-legged portion, before Danny finished off, hopping on one leg all the way to the finish line! This was super fun to watch and all of the kids were very into it. We finished with a water balloon toss, before having hot dogs for dinner with everyone! This was an exciting afternoon and the kids had a blast meeting all of the others in the different groups. Once the Olympics were over, we headed back to camp to have a little birthday party for Danny! We put on our party hats and enjoyed cake and ice cream, talked about our favorite moments of the trip and played a few games. Then, our Leaders of the Day, Danny and Grier, led Moonup before we headed to bed! This session has been an absolute blast and we are shocked at how fast the time has gone by. While we are sad that these kids leave so soon, we are so thankful for the time we’ve had together!
Amelia- Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip. It has been so much fun and I think I’ll do it again next year! Can’t wait to tell you about it!
Grier- Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip. I love it here and am so glad that you pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me come!
Lauren- Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you so so much for letting me come on this trip. I love it so much, it has been such an amazing experience. Can’t wait to see you guys in a couple of days! Love you!
Lilla- Hey Mom and Dad! I had so much fun on the trip. Thank you so much for sending me here. Can’t wait to see you!
Clementine- Hi Mom and Dad! Thank you so much for sending me on the trip. I’ve had so much fun! Can’t wait to show you all the pictures and tell you all about it!
Carter- Hey Mom and Dad! Thanks for sending me on this trip. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to tell you about it!
Danny- Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you guys so much for sending me on this trip, I’ve had a lot of fun. Can’t wait to tell you about it!
Morgan- Hey Mom and Dad! I’m having the best time ever and can’t wait to tell you about it when I get home. Thank you!
Evan- Hi Mom and Dad! Thank you for sending me on this trip! I miss you and can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Lincoln- Hey Mom and Dad! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip. I’m having so much fun and I can’t wait to tell you everything about it!!!!
July 20, 2023
Aloha!! This session is flying by, and we are having so much fun! We began the past few days with surfing lessons, which the group loved. We paddled out, surrounded by sea turtles, and learned how to catch some waves. Clementine was the first of the group to ride one all the way in, and everyone was super impressed. By the end of the session, all the kids were basically professionals, catching wave after wave with huge smiles all around. After our lesson was over, we headed over to a food truck lot where the group enjoyed some açaí bowls for lunch! These were delicious and hit the spot after a morning in the water.
We then drove up to the gorgeous Napili Bay, a beach on the west side of Maui known for its insanely clear waters and beautiful views. We spent the afternoon playing frisbee and swimming in the ocean. On our way home, we stopped in the town of Paia for some ice cream, and then headed back to camp for dinner. We had chicken fried rice and hung out at our campsite playing games before bed. The next morning, we had our second day of surfing, which was even more fun than the first! The kids had a lot of fun practicing their new skills and even learned some tricks! Lilla and Amelia perfected tandem surfing, riding countless waves together while sharing one board. Lincoln and Evan had a ton of fun spotting the sea turtles that were all around us.
Afterwards, we had a quick lunch and then went to Pono Grown Farms for a service activity. Pono Grown Farms is a farm and education center here in Maui that focuses on creating a sustainable environment through solar energy and zero waste methods. The kids learned about the benefits and impacts of farming before getting to work! We helped Evan, the owner of the farm, remove debris from different areas. Morgan and Carter worked very hard at this and were great helps.
After we finished, Evan took us up to his chicken coop to play a game of Catch the Chicken, where the kids chased all the chickens around and tried to be the first to successfully catch one. Lauren, Danny, and Lincoln were our winners, and each caught a chicken with ease! Next, we headed up to the highlight of our afternoon, a homemade waterslide on the farm that led to a small pool. The group had an absolute blast with this, flying down the slide both individually and in trains. Grier, Lauren, Amelia, Lilla, and Clementine connected feet and slid down countless times, and it was awesome to watch them have such a good time together.
Once the afternoon ended, we went back into Paia for dinner at Paia Fish Market, a local favorite. This was extra delicious after working hard and playing harder at the farm. We then grabbed some ice cream and headed to the beach for sunset, which was beautiful! Afterwards, we went back to camp for Moonup, led by our Leaders of the Day, Morgan, and Clementine, before heading to bed. The following day was one of our favorites of the trip so far. We spent the morning playing a very heated pickleball tournament, in which all the kids were insanely skilled. We split up into teams of two, created a bracket, and started playing. After a lot of laughs and some very close matchups, Grier and Evan played Morgan and Lauren in the final four. The whole group gathered around and watched as Morgan and Lauren came out as our pickleball champions!
All our pickleball playing really built up our appetites, and we headed into the beautiful and fun town of Lahaina for lunch. We then spent the afternoon exploring the town, walking around, and checking out all of the shops it has to offer! Clementine, Amelia, Lilla, Grier, and Lauren all got adorable matching bracelets and the boys got some sweet t-shirts from the local stores. As the afternoon came to an end, we came back to camp, where Carter helped Gretchen make some quesadillas for the group for dinner! These were a hit all around. After dinner, our Leaders of the Day, Lincoln, and Lauren, led Moonup before we played some games and then headed to bed. It has been so fun to watch this group get so close as a whole and we can’t believe we are already halfway through the trip!
Gretchen & Ricky
July 17, 2023
Hello families! We are having the best time ever here in Maui! We spent a beautiful morning sea kayaking and snorkeling with a Moondance alum and Maui local, Griff. We raced in our kayaks as Griff led us around a bay with crystal clear waters and amazing cliffs all around us! Once we reached the reefs, we geared up and hopped out to explore the water, and got to see some awesome sea wildlife! There were a ton of sea turtles hanging out around us, and Evan and Lauren even spotted an octopus! After swimming around for a while, we kayaked back to shore and headed back to camp for a quick lunch before hitting the beach! We drove up to the west side of the island to Black Rock Cliffs, a gorgeous beach with scenic mountains behind it and a huge rock to climb up and jump off of! The kids had a ton of fun jumping off of this cliff, and Lincoln executed a perfect backflip on his first try! We hung out on the beach, and Evan, Morgan, and Danny explored the resort nearby. As the afternoon ended, we drove back across the island to camp, where Carter, Amelia, and Grier made delicious tacos for the group for dinner! These were a hit and a favorite dinner for many so far! After dinner and Moonup led by our Leaders of the Day, Evan and Lauren, the group hung out and played cards until we went to bed. The next morning, we woke up bright and early for paddle-boarding. We paddled out to what felt like the middle of the ocean and played a few rounds of Last Man Standing, where the kids try to push each other into the water while staying standing on their boards. Lilla was impressively good at this and successfully got the majority of the group in the water without flinching! We then paddled around a gorgeous bay with crystal clear waters and got to see all of the coral reefs under us. After paddle-boarding, we stopped by camp for a quick lunch before going to one of the Ricky and I’s favorite spots on the island, Slaughterhouse Beach. Tucked into a cove surrounded by steep cliffs, this beach is a hidden gem in Maui, and the kids loved it! We played in the ocean and took some snorkels around the nearby reefs. Clementine, Amelia, Grier, Lilla, and Lauren were super excited about seeing a bunch of turtles all over the place, and also playing around on the rocks next to the beach. The whole group played frisbee in the ocean for a while before relaxing in the sand, and then we headed back to camp to cook dinner. Danny, Evan, and Grier made spaghetti and meatballs for everyone and it tasted amazing! We then had a Moonup filled with laughs as we reminisced on the day before heading to bed. This group has been awesome so far and we can’t wait for the rest of the session!
Lincoln- Hi Mom and Dad! Miss you guys! I’m having a blast. Tell Palmer I said we miss him here! Y’all are the best, thanks so much for sending me on this trip!
Morgan- Hey Mom and Dad! Miss y’all a lot. Tell Charlie and Rhys that I said hi! Love y’all and see y’all soon! Im having a blast!!
Danny- Hey guys! Hope everyone’s doing well. Dad, don’t forget to sign me up for Placid. Having a wonderful time, love you guys!
Evan- Hi! I am alive! I’m having a blast with Carter and I’ve seen Thomas a couple of times. I’ve also seen some sea turtles! Can’t wait to see y’all, love you!
Carter- Hi Mom and Dad! I’m having a ton of fun with Evan. What’s the roster looking like for True? This trip is awesome, can’t wait to tell you about it!
Lauren- Hi Mom and Dad! This trip is so much fun!! I’ve seen so many sea turtles! Can’t wait to see you guys! Love you bye!
Grier- Hi Mom and Dad! Miss you lots. Loving my Hawaiian experience! Can’t wait to see you! Thanks for sending me out here!
Amelia- Hey Mom and Dad! Moondance is really fun! Missing you a lot. I wonder how Mac is doing! Love you!!
Clementine- Hi Mom and Dad! Miss you guys so much. I’m having a blast here! Tell the boys and Irish that I miss them. Thank you so much for sending me, see you soon!
Lilla- Hi Mom and Dad! I miss y’all a lot and hope Mackenzie is having fun in Italy. Tell Mary Blake that I miss her too. I’m having so much fun in Maui! Love and can’t wait to see y’all!!
July 15, 2023
Things are off to a great start here in Maui! After all of our kids arrived on the island and we picked up pizza for dinner before heading to our campsite. We played a few icebreakers and got to know each other over dinner before heading to bed. The next morning, we enjoyed yogurt parfaits for breakfast with lots of fruit and granola before heading to our first activity, windsurfing! The kids set out on their boards and began learning the ins and outs of the sport. The group really impressed us with their skills from the beginning, especially Grier and Clementine, who were naturals! After a couple of hours of windsurfing, we came back to camp for a quick lunch of sandwiches before hitting the beach! The kids played in the water and enjoyed the sun for a few hours, and Lincoln, Morgan, and Danny had fun watching the skateboarders in the skate park. Then we came back to camp, where we played games until dinner. The group had a lot of fun playing knockout, and Lauren and Carter came out as the winners! Afterwards, we had BBQ sandwiches and mac and cheese for dinner, which was a hit! We had our first Moonup of the session, led by our Leaders of the Day, Amelia, and Morgan, before heading to bed.
The next morning, we had our second day of windsurfing, and the kids were all crushing it this time around. Carter, Evan, and Morgan had fun catching some tandem rides on a single board, while Lilla, Clementine, and Grier mastered some special tricks on their boards! Afterwards, we had chicken Caesar salad for lunch before heading to Baldwin Beach, a beach right next to the town of Paia. The kids had a ton of fun here, swimming in the ocean, playing volleyball, and seeing a ton of sea turtles! We then got to explore the town of Paia, checking out all the shops and getting some ice cream. After a long afternoon, we headed back to camp where we had pesto pasta and garlic bread for dinner. The group played a couple of rounds of Ghost in the Graveyard before doing Moonup and then heading to bed. We have loved getting to know these kids so far and are so excited for what the rest of the session will bring!!
Gretchen and Ricky
July 13, 2023
Hello Maui Families!
We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Maui! 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!