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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Our Adventure in the Land of the Midnight Sun – Community Service Alaska

Community Service Alaska drops us a line.

The Westcoast Blogger

Greetings from Anchorage!

Our adventure in the land of the midnight sun started on a great foot. No significant delays with the flights and no lost luggage, an amazing feat for airlines these days.  The campers came in a little disoriented from all the flying but all with wonderful smiles on their faces. Very rarely have I seen a group of  individuals bond so quickly. Our first day was packed with excitement as we headed to our first adventure, white water rafting. After having received the extensive security briefing, and appareled in dry suits and helmets, we set off for the river.

Many of us had been rafting before, but none of us were prepared for what was in store: breathtaking scenery, a sinuous river with exhilarating rapids and fantastic weather.  Our extremely experienced guides navigated the rapids with great ease and explained some of the scenery to us along the way. In a calm part of our descent, our guides invited us to jump into the water for a refreshing dip. Jake was the only one to brave the cold Alaskan glacial waters! 

On our second day in Anchorage, we visited the Anchorage Heritage Museum, where we learnt about the multiple Native American tribes living in Alaska. We watched a show featuring Native American song and dance. The campers were invited to dance withdancers after the show and all of our girls jumped on stage! After the show, our group toured around the replica villages learning about many different aspects of Native American life in Alaska. Unlike the Apaches of the continental United States, the Alaskan natives originate from Russia. Eddie was so enthralled by the Native American lifestyle that he became an honorary member of the Yu’pik tribe! We ended our day with a 3-D movie, UP! which was a favorite with everyone. 

Our third day marked the beginning of the community service in Anchorage. The Food Bank of Alaska has been working hard to reduce hunger in Alaska and volunteers are the heart of the organization.  We were warmly greeted by Mariko, a Seattle native who now calls Alaska her home and she walked us through our task. At the food bank, we sorted food donations, making sure no “bad” food was shelved. Jon K became our official can inspector, determining if the cans were too dented to be shelved. The group was divided in two, and while one group sorted food, the other group prepared chocolate chip cookies for our fundraising bake sale on the 4th of July.  The evening was filled with excitement for us as well. We volunteered to help out at a food drive at the ball park where we took rotations greeting guests and accepting their canned goods. We raised $126.25 for the Food Bank of Alaska. Kristen even got to throw the opening pitch for the game, and had a baseball autographed by the entire Glacier Pilots! During the game, Matt met with the Pilots’ general manager
and arranged to have donation cans for our future fundraiser, Dare to Care at the upcoming games. We were all very impressed with his initiative.

The fourth day was another day of volunteering at the Food Bank. Those who had baked the day before were now sorting cans and the other group was making peanut butter cookies. We made over 400 cookies! Leslie, our chef was helping us in the kitchen. We were blown away by her extreme energy and hilarious jokes. While the day was tiring, we all left the food bank excited for our bake sale, which took place on the 4th of July. The money we raised will go towards buying kid friendly food for the Food Bank.

That’s all for now,  

The Alaska Gang