Teen adventure travel can be a life changing experience. Every Moondance trip is an exploration into the heart of wild country. You’ll find that you’ve made some of your best friends within days of knowing them and that friendship will carry you up to the summit of a mountain or through a tough paddle in the Pacific. Whether you are returning for your fourth summer, or crawling into a sleeping bag for the very first time, you’ll be a part of an expedition that shares similarities with all of our wilderness adventures.
Who goes on these trips? Students are divided into small co-ed groups with 9-13 students and 2-3 adult leaders. Having small groups allows us to do more, see more and experience more, all while allowing individual attention and ensuring the best supervision.
Learning proper expedition and camping skills form the core of every Moondance adventure. On our Discovery, Multisport and Leadership adventures, you will learn how to pick a proper campsite, pack a backpack and use a backcountry stove. You will also become skilled in using maps and reading the terrain, especially in our leadership adventures. On our international programs, you will stay at hotels, hostels and homestays. In short, you will find you can be just as comfortable and at home in the wilderness or abroad as you can in your living room. Moreover, every Moondance expedition practices the ethics of Leave No Trace in order to leave the wilderness in which we travel better than when we first encountered it.
Expedition Behavior (EB)
For some students, their trip will be the first time they have spent an extended period of time away from the comforts of home. For many, it will be the first time they have worked together in a group with people from all over the country for 24 hours a day for weeks at a time. Therefore, teamwork, good communication and a positive attitude become very important. Good “EB” is acting with the best interest of the group in mind, looking out for other group members and being a good team member yourself. It may mean helping someone set up their tent, filling their water bottle, or simply encouraging them on a tough climb. It doesn’t take much to have good EB, but it certainly makes a difference in everyone around them.
Leader of the Day
Adventure travel allows many opportunities for the development of leadership qualities. We encourage everyone to assume various leadership roles throughout the trip and will designate two “leaders of the day”. At night, the LODs meet with instructors to discuss plans for the upcoming day. They are responsible for helping everyone break camp in a timely manner, ensuring the group remains well hydrated, deciding when and where to stop for snacks and lunch, and most of all, for keeping a positive attitude, particularly during challenging situations. The LODs make decisions only after thorough group discussions and are responsible for writing in the group journal for that day.
Every evening, each Moondance group will gather to talk about each other’s accomplishments, to mentally prepare for upcoming challenges, to sort through differences, or to have another opportunity to get to know everyone a bit better. We think it is the perfect way to end the day.
Having good food is essential for a positive experience. While most meals in the backcountry taste better after a long day on the trail, all of our meals are simple and plentiful; we want to ensure you have a tasty and well balanced menu. Part of your responsibility will be to help prepare and cook the meals as everyone participates in a cook group. While on cook crew, enjoy laughs and good times with your fellow chefs as you create front and backcountry delicacies. We eat family style so everyone shares not only good food, but good company at each meal. On our wilderness courses, you will have foods such as pancakes, omelets, pasta, pizza, chicken fajitas and even brownies! Plus, there is always a bag of GORP (trail mix) to snack on in between meals. With our international programs we will be fully emerged in the different cultures as we eat traditional meals with indigenous ingredients prepared by locals. Enjoy a Costa Rican meal of ceviche, homemade tortillas, and plantains or a delicious meal of fresh trout and homemade soup in Ecuador. One thing is guaranteed for all Moondance trips: You will never go hungry and your creativity and cooking talents may even follow you home as well!
On trip start dates, there will be multiple groups starting at the same time to ensure you are with other individuals similar in age. Each expedition group is co-ed and never larger than twelve students. There are always at least two qualified leaders (one male, one female) with each group.
The Spirit of the Moondance
Describing a Moondance experience is hard to put into words. It’s like trying to explain a rainbow to someone who has never seen one. You can’t. When new friends, radiant sunrises, shared accomplishments, and thrilling activities combine and intermingle, the result is indescribable. We call it the “Spirit of the Moondance.”
Like the sun and rain are to a rainbow, the “Spirit of the Moondance” requires a unique combination of positive attitude and thirst for adventure. If you heed the call and bring a selfless spirit and a desire to push your limits, we promise you one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.