Something Out of the Movies – California and the Canyons

Something Out of the Movies – California and the Canyons

California and the Canyons has been very busy since our last blog.  The laughs have not stopped as we continue to bond and create unforgettable memories.  When we arrived at Ventura, California we had a fun day where we worked as a team to pitch our tents on a beautiful campsite. The next day was spent with an intense completion between the boys playing football on the beach.

On our drive to Los Angles, California our trip members were challenged to an epic game of “Name That Tune”. They certainly brought their “A” game as many of the chosen songs turned into bus wide sing-a-longs.  When we arrived in Los Angles we are all excited to scout out UCLA where it was cool to see what it was like to live on campus. It was something out of the movies.

Speaking of movies….Universal Studios was a definite highlight, where we were able to experience an organized studio tour of the back lot. This is where we learned about the magic of movie making. At one point, we actually drove through a live taping of “The Mindy Project”. We spent the day thrill seeking through the incredible special effects rides and super-fast and fun roller coasters. One of our trip member’s even had a star spotted moment when she recognized Mackenzie Zigler from the television show “Dance Mom’s”. What a ride!!!

We were fortunate enough to head to the famous Improv Comedy Club in Los Angles where many big names got their start. Our
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Farewell Friends – California Sprint

Farewell Friends – California Sprint

Get ready Los Angeles, 42 energetic teenagers are about to hit the town! Venice Beach had us in awe with all of the colourful artwork and positive vibes all around. The trip members got the chance to check out some of the little beach shops and walk around this world famous spot. Some of us found some pretty unique apparel that will always remind us of our time in California. Following our Venice Beach excursion, we settled into our dorms at UCLA and some of us went down to the gym for a quick workout and some of us went for a quick dip in the pool! That evening, it was time to hit the Hollywood Highlands! The hustle and bustle of Hollywood kept everyone on their toes with many encounters with very distinctive characters on the strip. The excitement kept us going all night long especially after a delicious stop at Diddy Riese, known for their mouth-watering cookie ice cream sandwiches.

The following morning, we explored the UCLA bookstore where some Trip Members purchased apparel for their dream future college. Then it was time to head off to where all the action happens; Universal Studios! We embodied our inner wizards with the new virtual Harry Potter ride which simulates you flying through Hogwarts in an epic chase scene identical to the movies. Not to mention the King Kong ride which blew everyone’s minds and the walk through the “Walking Dead” haunted house which had all of us screaming out of
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The Voya-Journey of a Lifetime- American Voyageur

The Voya-Journey of a Lifetime- American Voyageur

Dear Voyageur Parents and Friends,

We started the last leg of our adventure in Las Vegas. Our first evening in Vegas we saw the indoor canal at the Venetian hotel and enjoyed the famous fountain show at the Bellagio hotel. Everyone enjoyed the glitz and glamour of the strip lit up at night. The next morning, we stopped at the Stratosphere and enjoyed terrifying rides and amazing views of Las Vegas. That afternoon we enjoyed the Forum Shops, the pool and some trip members got to tour the T-Mobile Arena, which will soon host a new NHL team. We ended our day by heading to New York, New York to ride the coaster and enjoy some authentic New York eats followed by trying drinks from around the world at the Coca Cola store!

The next day, we entered Zion National Park where we started a competition and broke into teams! The Blue team led by Kayla and Gabe fought a ferocious battle against the White team led by Allie and Chaz! After an amazing hike in Bryce Canyon, teams competed in many events including a lip sync battle, apache relay and an ‘arts’ presentation. It was very close, but in the end White’s creativity in the skit, song and WOW event led them to victory. Lauryn W. wrote some original lyrics to the tune of Count on me that did an amazing job expressing how amazing and special this journey has been. Below is an excerpt of the song:

You can count on
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Killer Canyons and Majestic Mandalas – Cost Rica Community Service

Killer Canyons and Majestic Mandalas – Cost Rica Community Service

After a nice night at the bonfire our group was energized from a great night sleep to finish off our service in Flamingo. We were working on a new house which needed an uplift in order to allow the family to live there happily. Our group got right to work sanding and painting making sure that the house looked amazing after we left. We even enjoyed one last visit to the beach to wrap up a few days of service and fun.

The next day we were all packed up and ready to for a nice drive to Arenal. What a site to roll into! It was a clear day on a clear day and from our hotel we had a great view of the volcano and other surrounding areas. After checking in we enjoyed some nice games before going off to the hot springs. This was the most beautiful place that many of us had ever seen. The boys immediately went to the slides and enjoyed the fast movement of them. While the girls took their time and looked around before testing their bravery on the slides. After a nice relaxing night at the hot springs we went to a late dinner which was the highlight of the day! The number of deserts that were brought to our table and the great variety left everyone with a full belly and smiling faces. Our second day in Arenal we got to push ourselves to the limit of our courage by doing
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The Memories are Forever with U.S. – U.S. Explorer

The Memories are Forever with U.S. – U.S. Explorer

The U.S. Explorer has been California Dreamin’ this past week, and we have been loving it. In the past few days, we have seen so much of the Golden State – San Diego, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, and we are now in San Francisco.

In San Diego, we totally stayed classy despite the warm weather. Hanging out with the pandas, polar bears, and giraffes at the San Diego Zoo was incredibly cool for our trip members. It was super interesting to learn how the zoo is involved with animal conservation projects around the globe, and is even working on a gene bank for endangered species!

We had an awesome day at Moonlight Beach, learning to surf and facing the waves of the Pacific Ocean. We all looked like pro surfers in our wetsuits. Most trip members managed to get up on the board at least once or twice. It was gnarly, dude!

Hanging out in L.A. was the ultimate California experience for the U.S. Explorers. We were able to see all different sides of Hollywood, from the celebrity wax figures at Madame Tussauds, to a behind the scenes tour of Universal Studios. A few of our Trip Members even encountered some famous faces browsing at The Grove – the basketball player Russell Westbrook, and YouTuber Olivia Jade.

Spending the day at Universal Studios was amazing for us all, especially for our resident Harry Potter fans. I think we can all say that there is nothing better than a frozen butterbeer and a pink Simpsons-themed donut
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Zions & Bryce & Canyons OH MY! – American Voyageur

Zions & Bryce & Canyons OH MY! – American Voyageur

Good morning / afternoon / evening to the friends and families of the Great Voyager Trip!

Our trip wrapped up in quite a spectacular fashion as we headed through Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon, as well as visiting Sedona and riding the Pink Jeep tours! Our stop in Bryce not only featured a great hike but was also the setting for our last big program…a competition between 4 teams competing in a variety of different group challenges and activates in the ultimate quest to victory! Congratulations to the Red team for a hard fought victory!

The Grand Canyon was a blend of beautiful hiking and incredible views, and trip members took breathtaking photos of the scenery and vastness of the Canyon. The Pink Jeep tours in Sedona were a hit with hilarious guides and even better views of the enormous mountains and valleys of sandstone and limestone formations that made for some unforgettable experiences.

After 38 days of exhilarating experiences, unforgettable moments, and incredible friendships we headed to Scottsdale, Arizona where we sadly had to start to say our goodbyes. Everyone will surely have a favorite memory, experience, or location, but collectively we can say that there was no group we would have rather shared these moments with. Day 40 will certainly be bitter sweet as we return to our families but say goodbye to the incredible friends we have made over the past 6 weeks of traveling the West Coast of North America. This has been without a doubt a summer
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Until we meet again NYC… – Seventeen Fashion Experience

Until we meet again NYC… – Seventeen Fashion Experience

It is so hard to believe that our final week is finally coming to an end. With all of the fun we’ve been having, time seems to have flown by!

Our week began with a trip to the largest store in the world known as Macy’s located in Herald Square. We took a quick historical tour followed by a panel which included chats with Vice President Creative Director, Senior Manager of Social Media Communities, Director of Special Projects and Vice President Fashion Director. Each member on the panel discussed the ways in which they contribute to creating a “shopping experience” for their customers as well as their roles as innovators in the industry. They discussed the responsibilities of each of their jobs and the path to discovering their occupation in the fashion industry. They also explained that the customers are at the center of all decision making, thus driving the motivation behind the company’s decisions as a whole. Each executive member came back to the fact that it’s all about finding your mentors that help push you forward, find your authentic voice in whatever you’re passionate about, trust your gut and be open and curious above all! The panel also mentioned the value of internships to help you discover the field of work that you’re truly passionate about. The panel advised the girls that “your career is a marathon, not a sprint” meaning that they do not need to rush into finding their dream job. They reminded the girls
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Making Our Mark – California Community Service

Making Our Mark – California Community Service

Following two relaxing days at  Hermosa and Venice Beach, we were fully energized to return to the Boys and Girls Club to continue the activities in which we participated in last week. Later on that night, we enjoyed touring around Hollywood Boulevard, scoping out the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Chinese Mann Theater, and the famous Hollywood sign from a distance.

Ending our last day of community service at Hope Gardens, we made our final impact on the community in a variety of ways. This included cleaning the kitchen, playing with the kids and assisting with a landscaping project. We finished our service at Hope Gardens early in the afternoon, allowing us to have plenty of time to hang out around the UCLA campus. We went swimming, played soccer, and visited the UCLA campus bookstore to buy some memorabilia.

Our dinner that night was the moment we had all been waiting for…In-N-Out Burger! We dug our faces into those famous west coast burgers, fries, and shakes. Yum!

With full stomachs, we had a relaxing evening at the UCLA dorms. This allowed us to reflect on our time at both the Boys and Girls Club and Hope Gardens. We had a touching conversation that showed us how thankful we are for what we have and the changes we’d like to make in the future to help others enjoy and succeed in their endeavors as well as how we could better ourselves as individuals.

During our last full day in LA, we enjoyed all that Universal Studios has
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Our Final Chapter in Paradise – Hawaii Community Service

Our Final Chapter in Paradise – Hawaii Community Service

To all of our readers, we would like to thank you for following our service and travel experiences.  With this blog, so ends the final chapter of our visit to paradise.  Our time over the last few days has been spent participating in activities that many will remember Maui by.  

Our final service project took place in Maui’s pristine rainforest where our ohana came together to make a difference in a high traffic visitation area of the forest.  We cleared and created numerous new pathways, both metaphorically and physically, working together and with our new friends Nature Jay and Ray to allow for shaded paths throughout the forest.  Our group learned that there are many moving parts as well as roles that make up a team, and that with hard work comes worthy rewards. One such reward was being led on a hike to Twin Falls – a secluded freshwater swimming area with waterfalls to cool off and enjoy.  After a well-deserved swim and meal, the group returned to the forest to gather around a fire and reflect upon what they have taken away from their community service experience in Hawaii.

Activities that will be remembered as favorites amongst the group include, surfing lessons and the snorkel cruise with the Pacific Whale Foundation. At surfing, all of our members achieved the difficult feat of getting up and riding a wave on a surfboard – an achievement not to be taken lightly given that many were surfing for their very first time!
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One Big Cali Family – California and the Canyons

One Big Cali Family – California and the Canyons

One week into the California and The Canyons trip and the Trip Members are already feeling like one big happy family. Our family members arrived to welcome signs and warmth, along with an assorted breakfast spread after their flights. Once everyone arrived, we embarked towards our hotel where we learned about each other by playing some icebreakers. Everyone checked into their rooms and had some time to relax and change before we took off on our amazing adventure together. We started our journey in San Francisco where we rode the cable car to Chinatown and had dinner at a delicious Asian Fusion restaurant. Our trip members were very excited about using the “Lazy Susan” to pass dishes around to one another.  When our fortunes arrived, everyone shared theirs awaiting to see if they would come true!

The trip members couldn’t wait to hear our morning song when we left for Alcatraz on Day 2. “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band has become an instant hit and sing along on our morning bus rides. When we arrived to Alcatraz by ferry we hung around inmates and listened to an audio tour while exploring the old prison.  Once we escaped from the island like the mobsters before us, we headed over to Pier 39 where we encountered what looked like a live Pokemon fashion show strutting down the street. Although quite entertaining, we couldn’t catch them all.

We woke up the next morning to begin our excursion to the Golden Gate bridge. We expected
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