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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

San Diego, LA & Celebrity Encounters – U.S. Explorer

Hello From Sunny California!

We’ve finally made it to the state, sights, and jam-packed itinerary we’ve all been waiting for!  As unbelievable as it is, we have reached the last leg of our trip.  But, we are not saying goodbye yet – there is plenty to do and see here and we are enjoying every minute of it.  Because so many of us love talking about the trip, this edition of the U.S. Explorer Adventures and Expeditions features twelve teen journalists describing our time here so far.  Hope you enjoy it!

Spotlight: Samantha S. – The San Diego Zoo

“Today  we spent our sunny second day in San Diego at he zoo.  I had the chance to get closer than I ever thought I could to some of the most exotic and interesting animals I’ve ever seen! I even got to see the most cuddly animal ever, a panda bear; and even though it was a 30 minute wait, it was SO worth it. This was a day I’ll remember forever, and I was so happy I could spend it with so many of  my closest friends.”

Spotlight: Zach C. – Surfing at Moonlight Beach

“Today, we took a trip to the beach, where we all got surfing lessons. It was my first time, just like a lot of people, but we all soon got the hang of it. It took a lot of slips and falls, but we were all eventually able to ride and surf the waves like a pro.  Surfing in the Pacific was definitely my best experience in San Diego.”

Spotlight: Bridget – Movie Night!

“We got a night to go to the movies and I got to see Harry Potter! I’ve waited so long to see it and I was so excited. The movie was amazing and I had a great night hanging out with my friends and getting to experience the final Harry Potter with them.” [Shout out to Lori and Howard]

Spotlight: Zach E. – Laser-Tag

“Tonight we got to play Laser Tag at Ultrazone.  It was a lot of fun.  We split up onto teams and ran around the two-story arena trying to catch the other teams’ members.  We all had funny code names like Dr. Evil and Powderpuff Girl.  We ran, hid, spied, and climbed in order to shoot or avoid our opponents.  At the end of the night, we got our scores to see how well we did and were tired, but really enjoyed ourselves!”

Spotlight: Robert – UCLA

“After driving into the City of Angels, everyone was truly star-struck driving through Beverly Hills, and looked on in awe at the surrounding houses and buildings. UCLA fits perfectly into this amazing city. The facilities and accommodations are like something from a Hollywood movie; probably because they’ve appeared in many. The ‘dorm’ rooms are more like one of a very modern hotel; each with a fantastic view of the campus. The best part is we actually are spending five entire nights here! Los Angeles and UCLA are definitely one of the most memorable stops on this incredible journey.”

Spotlight: Jillian M. – Museum of Tolerance

“The Museum of Tolerance was very interesting and cool. We learned a lot about bullying that relates to our everyday lives, especially being in high school. There was also a section about the Holocaust, which explained why tolerance is a necessity among all people. At the end, we watched a very inspiring film about a man who was able to forgive someone who hurt him 20 years after the incident. It was a moving experience that had an impact on all of us.”

Spotlight: Danielle S. – Disneyland

“The other day when we went to Disneyland, we all had a blast!  Everyone went on so many cool rides such as Pirates of the Carribean, The Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear’s Adventure, and Space Mountain.  The fireworks after a fun day were incredible!  The light show, Fantasmic, with Mickey and many other Disney characters was spectacular.  Our day spent at Disneyland was so much fun and one of the highlights of my trip so far.”

Spotlight: Emma – Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

“This week, we went to the Los Angeles Food Bank to do community service. We were assigned different stations including  vegetables, fruit, beef, juice, and cereal to be packed into bags and sent to distributors to go to needy families throughout the LA area. We packaged non-stop for two hours and it was well worth it to know we got to help others. I think it was a very rewarding experience for all of us, teaching us to appreciate what we have and showing us that a little hard work can go a long way.”

Spotlight: David E. – Universal Studios and CityWalk

“Universal Studios and City Walk were two of my favorite things on the trip so far. The rides such as The Mummy, The Simpsons, and Jurassic Park were quite exhilarating and the food was extremely scrumptious. While on City Walk, I was able to look at all the new styles in stores as well as get a chance to listen to a live rock band perform in front of the Hard Rock Cafe, where we had a great dinner.  All in all, this day was an amazing experience for me and the rest of my fellow trip members.”

Spotlight: Jason and Zach C. – Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, Improv Comedy Club

“Today we went to Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, and the Improv Comedy Club.  Venice Beach was definitely a unique place, with lots of interesting people – even a Santa Claus!  The shops were fun to walk through and the street vendors were really talented artists.  There was an Indian Festival there too, with floats and a parade going down the boardwalk.  After this, we completely switched scenes and went to Rodeo Drive.  We walked around the famous location and looked at all of the shops.  Some of our fellow trip members chased down a celebrity from the TV show Pretty Little Liars and got a picture with him.  Finally, the Improv was a great way to end the night with a lot of laughter.  We met up with another Westcoast group and hung out and took some pictures with them.  We saw some great comedians including a semi-finalist from America’s Got Talent, who could do impressions of many famous people.  Throughout the show, we had the chance to see many funny and talented people.  Stephen Glickman, who stars on the TV show Big Time Rush, closed out the show and stayed after to take pictures with us that we tweeted to him.  All in all, it was a great day!”

Spotlight: Danielle H. – Grammy Museum and Santa Monica

“Yesterday, we started off our afternoon at the Farmer’s Market. It was a great place to walk around for lunch. The streets were filled with people and there were tons to do. After the Farmer’s Market, we went to the Grammy Museum. This museum was very interesting because we got to see many famous musicians performing and receiving awards and got to play instruments and listen to music through headphones. After the museum, we went to the Santa Monica Promenade for dinner. It was a great day in California.”

The Westcoast Blogger