Outstanding summer programs for teens since 1982
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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

One last thought from California – California Community Service

Hello families!

  Though you are enjoying having your son/daughter home, we wanted to send you an update from the last part of their trip:
We have spent the past 4 days at the Boys and Girls Club and instead of me writing about it I thought hearing from one of our own trip members might give you all a better idea about the experience we’re getting here. Jackee has enjoyed all of our community service but she has especially taken to this last project. This is her perspective:
My time at the Boys & Girls Club has been an incredibly rewarding and eye-opening experience.  From the minute I stepped foot onto the facility, I was amazed by the positive atmosphere created. The kids were happy, fun-loving, and became attached to me very quickly. By the second day I had three little girls hanging on to me by the arms, dragging me wherever they went. Many of them taught me how to dance, showed me around the club, and told me all about themselves. I helped a big group of the kids every day to do gymnastics and tap dance. I watched as they learned how to do magic tricks, make publisher documents, and interact with each other. My time with these kids became some of the happiest and most fun times I’ve had on this trip in its entirety.
Through spending some time with a few kids and getting to know them, though, I began to realize that these kids had been through a terrible amount of hardship. There were moments, when one of the children would explain to me what they had experienced, became the reasons I was able to understand how important our service there was. The Boys & Girls Club is a place where these kids can come to just be the fun-loving people they are, and forget about whatever it is that they’ve been through in their life.  Being there gave us an opportunity to be the positive role models that shape these kids’ lives while having fun in a safe place. This gave me a great sense of satisfaction after our last day today. But this also made it incredibly hard to leave these kids after four days,  they had wrapped their arms around me so tight that it became hard to breathe. Leaving today has inspired me to look into volunteering long-term at a Boys & Girls Club local to me…
Everyone seemed to love spending time with the kids. They certainly appreciated having us there and needed the extra hands with over 300 children under the age of 13. Sam, Emma, Julian were in the 7-8 year old group, Jackee, Molly, Eric, Spencer, and Olivia played with the 9-10 year olds, Jeremy, Rebecca, Sydney, and Francesca got to know the 11 year olds, and Lisa, Lexy, Joanna, and Nina hung out with the 12 year olds.
 The 12 year olds taught Lisa new games such as gutterball and speed. Joanna was taught some moves. Emma was constantly hugged by many of the girls in her group fighting for her attention, Jeremy bonded with a girl named Anthea. Rebecca could be often found in conversation with many girls by the playground.  Sam was always surrounded by a slew of 8 year olds. It was such a rewarding experience for us all.
While we may have been busy, we’ve also found time to enjoy the sights of Los Angeles too. We’ve explored Hollywood Boulevard where Nina found her favorite actor, Hugh Jackman’s, star. We also discovered that Jon and Nina’s top man are hand twins. His hands fit perfectly into Hugh Jackman’s handprints!
The Improv show was hilarious and the lineup was filled with up and coming comedians from tv shows such as “Raising Hope,” MTV, and Comedy Central. Spencer was even called up on stage! We all cheered him on as the comedian gave him lessons on public speaking.
With our last community service project finished we are looking forward to some fun in the sun and Universal Studios.
Til next time!

The Westcoast Blogger