Outstanding summer programs for teens since 1982
Header Item 1

The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

First Glimpse of the Pacific Ocean – California & The Canyons

The California and the Canyon Trip checks in from Ventura.


Summer 2011 is underway! Our summer family was formed last week at the San Francisco airport as everyone landed in California. Trip members flew in from Chicago, Charlotte, Denver, Toronto, Dallas, New York, Phoenix, Atlanta, Detroit, Boston, Miami, and France! With some excellent teamwork and some awesome ice breakers we began our journey!

Day 1 began with a cable car ride up the hills of San Francisco. Joe, Kyle, and Anthony loved being on the side of the cable car as it surged up Powell Street! Jack was seamlessly integrated into the Chinatown culture by speaking fluent Mandarin with the locals. Our trip members’ multiple talents seem to unfold on a daily basis!

Day 2 brought us to Alcatraz.  A ferry ride to the island was the start of an incredible day! Marlee, Taylor, Alex R., and Sydney dared to stand in the front of the boat. Jake L. wandered through abandoned cells, Alcatraz’s library and dining hall and learned tons of facts on the chilling tour through Alcatraz. Off the island and onto Pier 39, Aaron and Riley got a glimpse of sea lions relaxing in the sun at Pier 39! The next stop brought us to Ghirardelli Square where Ethan engaged in a rhythmic chat with famous busker Norbert Yancey. A night at the Oakland A’s baseball game ended with an amazing fireworks show that we were lucky enough to view from down on the field! The show left us mesmerized!

Moving on to Day 3, we travelled to the Golden Gate Bridge on an unusually clear day! Alexa H., Emma, Hana, and Sami S. were able to get some great pictures on this beautiful day! We continued with a climb that took us up Lombard Street. Lindsey, April, Jillian, and Drew were troopers on our “Level 4 urban hike”. They really did a great job! Dinner was unique tonight with our co-ed dining. Our boy-girl seating led Ryan, Danny C., and Sam Lang to share a booth at Mel’s Diner. The day ended with an entertaining game of bowling! Emily and Ethan got strikes while Jared N. had a unique way of rolling the ball while practically lying on the ground!

Sometimes you gotta change it up! Since leaving San Francisco, the group had their first experience camping Westcoast style!  On the way to our beautiful campsite in Lake Tahoe, we were lucky enough to give into our adventurous sides and go white water rafting!  The groups on the river were rowing through the rapids like pros! Alex S. and Julia proved how tough she was during her challenging rapid ride! After getting settled into our tents, we gathered for some games!

Novelquest was a hit! Each group did a wonderful job with each team challenge. When asked to put on team performances, Gabriel showed us that he had no stage fright, singing the French national anthem for us! The next day took us to Lake Tahoe where the landscape was breathtaking! The trip members showed off their skills on beautiful Lake Tahoe with wake boarding, water skiing, and tubing. Surrounded by stunning snow capped mountains, the view from the water was breathtaking! Jackie impressed everyone with her water skiing skills while Benny had a need for speed while tubing!

After some water sports, Josie and Kylie enjoyed their day hanging out and chatting on the beach. Sarah got some great under water pictures in the crystal clear water. And Madison got to show off her volleyball skills on the beach volleyball court! Ending the day with class, we boarded our private sailboat for a sunset cruise around Lake Tahoe! Sammy D. got in some rest and relaxation laying on the front of our boat. Justin enjoyed mingling with his fellow trip members on the giant throw pillows that covered the front of the boat.  With the beautiful scenery, and a group that’s growing tighter by the minute, we concluded another amazing Westcoast Connection day!

Jared Z. ended the night with his camp fire guitar playing! After two days in Lake Tahoe, we moved on to Ventura and had another amazing night around the campfire! The drive there flew by because our group is so entertaining! Special mention must be made to our new art director, Alexa M., who designed our “daily activity whiteboard” for the day with her fantastic artwork! Hannah L. was our constant source of comic relief! Nicole led her team to victory in Family Feud. Games, music, and continuous laughter carried us through!

Daniel B. was excited to get to our second campsite for some sports and games! He impressed us with his football skills; catching a pass and scoring a touchdown! Brian amused us with his hysterical pre-dinner “Mean Girls” themed skit!

Yesterday took us to the beach where some of us touched the Pacific Ocean for the first time! Hannah G. and Abby were brave enough to jump right into the chilly ocean water! You go girls! The Jake’s had a blast body surfing!

The fun never seems to end with this group! More to come soon! Stay tuned! The ride has just begun!

Cali and Canyons Staff Team

The Westcoast Blogger