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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

San Frantastic! – California & The Canyons

Hello Parents!

Our trip is off to an AMAZING start!  All of our trip members arrived safely in San Francisco and were greeted by their wonderful trip leaders (Jill, Brooke, AJ and Harrison) and trip director Keanne. Within the first few minutes of everyone arriving, it was clear that we have a great group of trip members who were excited to begin our adventure!

After settling into our hotel, it was time to explore San Francisco’s famous China Town – we all shared lot of laughs and began to bond like a family. It was really nice to see
the trip members from different backgrounds, home towns (and countries!) mingling together.  We’ve got Ariane and David from France who add a lot of humor to the trip, as well as French and hair lessons. And Alice and Cristiana from Italy keep trying to eat American Italian food even though it can never compare to their authentic Roma-Italian food.

While walking through China Town, AJ’s group stumbled upon a blue man pretending to be a robot who beat boxes. The Trip Members enjoyed the performance, but it became that much funnier when AJ started dancing to the beat allowing Emily, Josh G, Natalie, Adrian, Jake, Laura, Amanda to have a good laugh together. Everyone enjoyed the delicious Chinese food and had a great first day!

The next morning we headed straight to Alcatraz.  On the way to “The Rock” we learned about the three escapees and how they broke out unnoticed. The trip members debated whether or not they thought if all three prisoners survived their attempt to find freedom – it was a fairly even split. From Alcatraz we had a crystal clear view of San Francisco and took amazing pictures of a sight many prisoners never had the chance to enjoy with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background!  Everyone seemed intrigued while learning about the rules and restrictions faced by the inmates and, hopefully, this experience will help keep them out of trouble! The trip members enjoyed taking different pictures together (trapped behind bars, sitting on the cells’ toilet) and shared a lot of laughs.

After Alcatraz we went to an awesome baseball game! The home team, the Oakland Athletics, defeated the Chicago Cubs 1-0 in a very strong defensive game. While not everyone in the group is a baseball fan, they still appreciated the atmosphere and experience that came with going to a game with their new friends.  Celebrating the home team win and the 4th of July, we headed to Pier 39 to enjoy the festivities!  While the crowds gathered by the bay to watch the fireworks, we found a prime viewpoint away from the crowds to sit back, cozy up as a new “family,” relax and enjoy the incredible light show which was the longest and biggest fireworks display some of us have ever seen.

After a good night’s rest we started the next day off by going to the Golden Gate Bridge.  Drew and Grant had a lot of fun making funny poses and pretending to be holding up the bridge. It was also nice to see how much fun Margaux, Amanda and Laura were having; they loved the view and couldn’t get enough pictures in front of the bridge. Japanese tourists who were also visiting observing the bridge were particularly fond of our group. Sabrina got to hold their flag when we took some group shots.  This fascination made us instant Japanese celebrities.  Miranda, who had already been there years earlier, was impressed by how close we were able to get to the bridge and thought the view was really beautiful.

We drove across the iconic landmark and arrived in Sausalito where we broke the group up to participate in a really fun paper clip “Trade Up” activity. The objective of this activity was to make several trades with different people in the seaside town in order to try and upgrade the items that you have. By the end, the trip members presented their new objects to the rest of the group with the story of how they got their new items. The group of David, Grant, Harris and Adrian were able to make very significant exchanges and impressively were able to acquire a pair of US sneakers – David’s accent, Grant’s charm and Harris’s persuasiveness helped them accomplish this feat. Next stop is to get a house right boys?  Christiana, Alice, Rachel were able to acquire two rubber ducks from their exchanges which are now our trip mascots Ariel and Jack. Julia and Kate’s group were able to get an Olympian bracelet; Drew and his group returned with two large cans of fruit punch, a bracelet as well as a water bottle; and Josh G, Matthew, Jake and Josh L ended with a San Francisco tourist glass, as well as mini tooth brushes!

That afternoon we continued our visits to famous San Francisco icons.  The trip members really enjoyed the view atop Lombard St and had fun walking down the most crooked road in the world.  And then it was off to experience a cable car ride!  We waited patiently in line at the popular attraction and played endless games of “Big Booty” – you can only imagine the scene we made and the smiles all around… “aaah yea big booty, big booty, big booty.” Some
stand out performances were from Sam, Sabrina, Drew, Grant, Paige, Adrian, Rachel and of course our dynamic duo Harrison and AJ who led the way!  Ariane put her French connection, stylish hair dressing skills to work as she fishtail braided Keanne and Ariela’s hair and gave an impromptu braiding tutorial – let’s just say we look good riding that cable car through San Fran! C’etait magnifique!

After some jam packed few days we returned to the hotel where Harris and David took advantage of the fitness center while the majority of the trip members checked out the pool and got comfy cozy and squished into the hot tub. We’re not sure if that hot tub has ever had so many people in it.  After an intense football game Matthew, Josh G, Jake and Josh L welcomed some girls to toss the ball around.

It was amazing to see these kids who were strangers a couple of days ago come together and grow as our Westcoast “family.”

We’ll fill you in soon on our adventures in Lake Tahoe and SoCal!

The Westcoast Blogger

California & the Canyons at The Golden Gate Bridge