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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Service and Sunshine! – California Community Service

After flying in from all over Canada and the United States, the squad (as we are known in California) arrived in San Diego. The group got to know one another very quickly as we are a small, now a tight knit family. Our first four days have been non-stop and we are loving every minute of it. After settling in at the dorms of UCSD we gathered our white shirts and headed to Middle Earth (the beautiful grassy area at the center of the dorms) for a tie-dying experience. It was very fortunate that we had Alana on our trip who has vast experience with tie-dying and helped show us the ropes. With her guidance we all created unique works of art that we could all wear on our community service expeditions. After our artistic endeavor and a nice first dinner together we loaded up the mini vans and headed out for a friendly game of bowling. We had our own private cosmic bowling area to hold our first ever bowling competition. The winner of highest overall score, and bragging rights for the next 24 hours, went to Zach! Honorable mention goes out to Louis for fastest speed.

After much needed sleep we headed out for our first full day here in California. Our first stop was Mission Beach to pick up our rides for the morning, some good ol’ fashioned bikes! We all saddled up and headed out for a beautiful scenic tour around Mission Bay. Everyone was a great sport as we faced “the hill”, which we managed to make it over each time with a smile on our faces. We took a pit stop at a park to have a rest and get to know each other a little better. Adam impressed us with his memory by telling us everyone’s name and favorite thing that they had shared the day before at the airport. After returning the bikes we left for Coronado Beach. We all managed to make it from the boardwalk to the water on the hot sand and were thrilled to lay down our towels for a little rest. After not too much time in the nice warm California sun we were ready to hit the waves. The whole group stuck together and enjoyed a cool down in the Pacific waters of San Diego. We packed up our cooler and belongings and headed back to the dorms to freshen up. After a nice group dinner we headed out for a night in Seaport Village. The trip members enjoyed the scenery, but Lily and Blayne especially enjoyed the carousel ride. We gathered back together and headed back the dorms to prepare for our first day of community service.

The group woke up the next morning excited to start the day and do what they came here to do…help and serve with others! We arrived at the Habitat for Humanity build site ready for the challenges ahead. We received our orientation from Joe, our amazing site supervisor, before splitting up to do a variety of tasks around the site. Zach, Louis and Lily eagerly volunteered to begin working on the floor for the second level, which at this point was really the rood of the structure. Abigail and Blayne began building the walls and Alana and Amanda got right to work on the door frames for the inside. Tsippy and Lizzie were measuring out the foundations for the next two homes to be framed and Savannah, Katie and Adam all began work on the finished home by cleaning, measuring rooms and cutting and carrying rolls of carpet (definitely not as easy as it sounds). The trip members worked away with smiles on their faces and a feeling of accomplishment as they worked together to build homes that will change the lives of families in the community. After a fulfilling day, work we all went out for a dinner at Islands restaurant. The trip members were required to find their table groups with a fun game of find your partner. After a delicious dinner we returned to the dorms for our evening program where Lizzie had a beautiful impromptu introduction to the program using her mushroom pen she brought with her on the trip.
The next day as another great day of community service, but this time at the Boys and Girls Club. We all donned tie-dye shirts as we entered the doors to the organization that provides programs and a safe place for youth in the community. As soon as the kids saw the trip members they were waving hello and asking them to play. The trip members were divided into different groups and worked alongside the staff of Boys and Girls Club to run various programs throughout the day. Abigail helped her group make slime, Adam taught his kids how to play chess, Blayne led a group in red light green light, Louis helped gather their focus and attention with his dance moves to Purple Soup, and Lily left the day with a stack of keep sakes from the students. When the end of the day came around none of the kids wanted the trip members to leave, but not to worry we would be back.

Until next time.

The Westcoast Blogger

Have we piqued your interest? Explore our 10-day21-day or 28-day tours and community service projects for teens in California. Start planning your own adventure with Westcoast Connection. It will be the travel experience of a lifetime!