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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Fun in the Sun! – California & the Canyons

Hey Parents!

Once we left San Francisco, our first stop was our white water rafting trip on the Truckee River. It was very exciting, as many kids, such as Sam B. had never gone before! The rafting tour guides were hilarious and energetic, which made the adventure more exciting for the whole gang.

Our camping adventure began in the Lake Tahoe area, where our campsite manager Matt taught all of us how to pitch a tent. Luckily, we had some camping experts like Rebecca, who were able to assist those who were struggling to get the giant tents up. Pitching the tents required a lot of teamwork and cooperation: Nikki’s height helped us reach the tall poles, Dani’s strength helped with a mallet to put the stakes into the ground, and Morgan’s listening skills helped with following the correct steps. Our first evening at the campsite consisted of a barbeque and making smores at the bonfire and telling stories at night for the full camp atmosphere.

The next day was spent at Lake Tahoe where we participated in water activities like water-skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding. As a beginner water-skier, Josh was able to stay up on his skies for a solid minute (and this was only on his second try)!  After a beach barbeque and spending a full day in the beautiful sun, we went on an hour-long boat cruise that was very relaxing and scenic. In the evening at the campsite, we continued our evening activities by playing card games such as Mafia before we cut a giant cake in celebration of Canada Day (July 1st)!

The next morning we packed up the campsite and began out journey towards Ventura Beach. While in Ventura, we got to hit up the beach and finally swim in the Pacific Ocean (which Jake and Gillian thought was a lot of fun). We even saw dolphins swimming in the ocean!  After camping out in Ventura, we spent the evening going to the movies in town! The majority of the group went to see Despicable Me 2, which they said was hilarious, others went to see the Lone Ranger (Claire recommends the movie to anyone who enjoys action films)!

Next stop on our itinerary was Los Angeles! LA has been a favorite city for many people. Our first stop was Universal Studios Hollywood to celebrate the Fourth of July! As a group we all went on the Studio Tour that took us through the set of Desperate Housewives Wisteria Lane, the mechanical shark used in Jaws, and some 3D engineering used for King Kong! We spent a full day exploring the theme park and strolling through City Walk at night (including dinner at the Hard Rock Café!). Ashley L. won a giant stuffed animal playing basketball.

In the morning, we went to the Museum of Tolerance and were able to hear from a Holocaust survivor on how she spent time in hiding and made her escape to freedom. She was super sweet and gave out her mailing address if we ever wanted to write to her! Later that day, on Rodeo drive, the boys car-watched and discussed dream cars. We saw everything from Bugatti’s and Ferrari’s driving down the main strip. Jessie was even lucky enough to meet and take a picture with Richard Simmons! To top off such an amazing day, we went to the world-famous Improv Comedy Club, where we got to see many famous stand up comedians such as Amy Schumer perform! Every single trip member was laughing the whole time – Andres even spent the whole night reciting his favorite quotes from the comedians.

On our third day in LA, we spent the afternoon at Venice Beach, which was in Sydney’s words “hilarious and completely irreplaceable. It has such an individual vibe with all the different people and stores.” As part of being in LA, we have gotten to experience real college dorm-life by staying on campus housing, using campus facilities, visiting the student union building, and sporting UCLA Bruins gear. In the evening, we had dinner at Hollywood and Highland and visited the world famous Mann’s Chinese Theater (Russell Peters even walked right passed us)! LA is treating us AMAZING so far, and we’re looking forward to our last day at Disneyland before we head to San Diego!

– The Westcoast Blogger

California & the Canyons- Universal Studios