Dear Families of Westcoast Connection California and the Canyons,
Our time in L.A. is already coming to an end, but not without some incredible memories and experiences… On Tuesday morning, we visited the Museum of Tolerance. We learned a lot about racial, political, and ideological tolerance, with a special focus on tolerance in high school. We watched short films and had group discussions that once again proved that despite coming from different cities and backgrounds, we have so much in common. One of the main highlights was a presentation by the general manager of the museum: Matthew Boger. After becoming homeless when he was 13, Boger became the victim of a hate crime, when he was brutally assaulted in an alley by a gang of skinheads. After many hardships, Boger got his life together and ended up working with the Museum of Tolerance. The presentation was something that many trip members said they would never forget.
On a lighter note, we spent the rest of our day and night at the happiest place in the world: Disneyland!!! In addition to seeing the world-famous parades, and themed areas of the park, we went on thrill rides like ‘Space Mountain’ and ‘Splash Mountain’ as well as incredible movie-themed rides like the ‘Finding Nemo’ Submarine Ride and ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean.’ David, Lloyd, Cooper, and Roger ended their night by riding the thrilling ‘Indiana Jones’ rollercoaster. And finally, before leaving the park, we enjoyed an incredible firework show.
The following morning we enjoyed the UCLA facilities. While Josh B, Jake W, Jenn C, Shannon, Eilzabeth, Emma, Saffire, Carly and others enjoyed a morning at the beautiful pool, others including Chad, Daniel, Andrew, and Jake G used the gym’s facilities. Afterwards, we continued to explore the campus. At the bookstore, Nick entertained us with his impressive guitar skills.
That afternoon, we visited Rodeo Drive and had quite possibly the funniest moments of our trip so far. We pretended that Josh G was a famous teen star, and had him walk with Ludo, Victor and Jill (one of the trip leaders), who pretended to be his personal assistant. As they walked the street, we followed them, while some like Sam S and Ryan took pictures with them. Within minutes, other tourists joined in and tried to get a glimpse of the ‘teen star’ and his entourage. When people asked who Josh was, we simply said, ‘The Kid from the show!!!” Eventually, they went into Louis Vuitton where they were put in a private lounge and offered the opportunity to leave through the back entrance to avoid all the ‘fans.’ The staff at the store even pretended they knew who Josh was, and said they were used to similar situations with other stars. After we all got back on the bus, we all laughed hysterically at one of the best pranks Rodeo Drive must have ever seen!
As if we hadn’t laughed enough about ‘The Kid in the Show,’ we went to an incredible comedy performance at The Improv. The performers included Owen Benjamin (from ‘The House Bunny’), Nick Kroll (star of FX’s ‘The League’), and Bethany Dwyer (from ‘Disaster Date’). Since our group was the largest one in the crowd, many of the jokes revolved around us.
The next day, we had the amazing opportunity to visit and volunteer at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The organization provides unbelievable amounts of food and supplies to families in need through many charity organizations in the area. Anna, Lindsay, Kim, Jordan, Ebba, Jess C, Rakel, Ally S and others helped sort over 1000 bags of food, while others including Paige B, Sami M, Paige T, Dylan and Jeremy helped with the distribution of over 10 thousand pounds of food. It was really amazing to see how much we could accomplish together as a group.
Afterwards, we spent our afternoon visiting beautiful Venice Beach, where we walked along the boardwalk, which showcased the work of many street performers and artists.
Our last evening in the city of angels included Hollywood & Highland to see the Hollywood sign and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As a special treat, we stopped at Diddy Reese for their world-famous ice-cream sandwiches.
We are off to San Diego to surf!!
Your Staff: Lauren, Michael, Louis, Jill, Carly, and Laura
The Westcoast Blogger