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Life Changing Experiences

Livin’ & Lovin’ L.A. – California Community Service

California Community Service

Captain’s Log: July 15th, 2015

Ahoy family and friends!

Having been docked for over a week in L.A. we now have a few more things to report!

After our 2 community service days last week we took a few days off to spend some time relaxing at Hermosa beach, checking out the stars outside the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, strolling around the Farmer’s Market for lunch, and heading to Santa Monica Pier, where the group capped off the night on their famous solar powered Ferris Wheel. However, one of the most profoundly affecting parts of the trip took place on Sunday, as the group visited the Museum of Tolerance.

The Museum of Tolerance, established in 1993, is a multimedia museum aimed at examining issues of racism and prejudice around the world, with strong focus on the Holocaust. We had a chance to visit the Tolerancenter, an interactive exhibit presenting some of the various times of struggle or acts of violence in modern history. The ‘Point of View Diner’ and as well as the ‘We the People Wall’ were two of the standout parts of the exhibition. We were able to do a group debrief on the UCLA field later on during which trip members had the opportunity to write down a question that was raised in their minds based on what they saw at the museum or during our service projects ( Why do people commit acts of violence against others? Can one person make a difference? Have you ever thought ‘what if you were one of the boys or girls in the boys and girls club’?). A ‘speed dating’ format gave them opportunity to respond to some of these questions in groups of two. Both the quality of questions asked and conversations had shown that we really do have a group of remarkably mature and bright teenagers and we’re thrilled with how well they responded to the activity.

Monday saw a return to community service, with the group being split into two to work with the Boys and Girls Club centers. Having some experience now with how the centers are run, our trip members were given much more freedom to not just participate along-side the kids, but to actively run the activities. During the first 2 days, Daniel L led an activity playing various pinnie tag games, Jason taught some of the kids to play knockout basketball and Hannah and Rachel led an arts and crafts activity to build a zoo. At the other center, Jordan, Monica and Erika led a talent show, while Madison, Brooke and Monica bonded with some of the girls during a nail painting activity. Wednesday was a special day at both sites that saw one group organize a Water Festival with sponge relays and water balloon games, while the other put together a carnival, with mini-games including Hannah and Shelby’s Pin-the-Nose on the Clown and Maddy B and Rachel’s Spoon/Ping Pong Ball obstacle course. A special mention should also go to Ari, who worked very hard as our face painter, and produced some great designs which the kids were proud to show off!

Tuesday was a special day for Jason who celebrated his birthday, and woke up to his hallway decorated and some birthday doughnuts! We also had the chance to take a walk back to Westwood Village that evening for some ice cream sandwiches at Diddy Riese – with 10 types of cookies, and 11 types of ice cream to choose from, everyone was able to put together their very own delicious treat! What a great birthday treat!

We are excited for the next few days, during which we will be able to wrap up our team challenge, and spend some time at Universal Studios and in Hollywood!

Looking forward to a great next few days.

Have we piqued your interest? Explore our 10-day21-day or 28-day tours and community service projects for teens in California. It will be the travel experience of a lifetime. Start planning your own adventure with Westcoast Connection today!