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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

The Time Of Our Lives-California & The Canyons

Greetings all,

After an incredible day in Lake Tahoe, everyone was looking forward to heading to So Cal.  We hit the road and had a blast playing a Battle Of The Sexes competition. The game ended in a tie – we’ll keep you posted with the tie-breaker.  We eventually arrived at Ventura Campground and everyone set up camp in record time in their tenting groups. It was easy breezy because everyone learned the ins-and-outs (and ups-and-downs) from our experience in Lake Tahoe. We fired up the grill and had a BBQ bonanza with steak, salmon and chicken – a meal fit for camping kings! Dinner was followed by Scrumptious Strawberry Shortcake which everyone enjoyed, especially Jake who had his first dabble. Delicious!

The following morning, Jack B., Deanna, Alex and Andrew were the running crew who ran along the beautiful boardwalk. Our first group stop was a trip to the Laundry Mat. Now they will all be able do the family laundry at home!

Next we were off to the exquisite waterfront. The weather was perfect and we had a fantastic day filled with different activities. Hannah Bl and Sam R were spotted doing a sing song on the beach, while Zack H and Jack B practiced top gun high five moves in the water. Trip members enjoyed a Mediterranean spread lunch that did not disappoint. Nick, Jack B, Mark, Josh, Deanna, Alex, Luke and Zack H had tones of fun splashing around in the waves.

Landon, Eric, Pat, Ariel, Luke, Alex, Mark, Jeremy, Jack H, Connor, Zack R and Matt E played football on the beach. It was game 2 out of 3 for the football teams, and they are waiting to play the tie breaker at a later date. That evening was Italian Dinner Night and Andrew and Parker helped cook up a delicious pasta and meatball feast with the dinner crew Jasmine, Julia B, Hannah Bl, Matt E, Matt L, Stephanie, Ariel, Alex and Sam M.

The cherry on top after a perfect day was the opportunity to go to the movies with some new friends.  Sam R, Jake and Victoria went to see Happy Feet 3D with Monica and the four of them seemed to enjoy their movie more than anyone.

After a relaxing day by the beach, the trip packed the bus and headed straight to Universal Studios in Los Angeles.  We boarded the back-lot trolley tour all together – the King Kong sequence was quite impressive.  The evening was spent exploring the fun shops and attractions on City Walk after a yummy meal at the Hard Rock Café.

Our next morning started off with a trip to the Food Bank where Jasmine and Brittney got into the food-packing groove and with the help of all trip members we were able to accomplish great things! Nick was also spotted playing word association with other volunteers – he was having a great time while working hard! Trip members realized that a little help goes along way.

We then ventured to Venice Beach which was alive with street performers, interesting people and unique shops. Matt E, Matt L, Jack H, and Zach R spent some time playing basketball right next to Muscle Beach. Rodeo didn’t disappoint either – Landon, Mark and Luke were star struck by spotting Jessica Alba getting her nails done.   More stars were seen at the Walk of Fame that evening when the group headed to Hollywood!

Our next day started off at the Museum of Tolerance. Trip members explored the topics of discrimination, tolerance and prejudice. There was a speaker who told the trip members his real life story about hate crimes and living on the street and how he has persevered and now wants to educated others about these important issues. Every trip member walked away more enlightened on the subjects.

After a quick stop at the famous Farmers Market for lunch, we headed back to UCLA to enjoy the incredible facilities.  The two football teams changed sports for the afternoon and a dozen guys had a ball shooting hoops in the same gym where the UCLA Bruins practice.  Andrew, Sam R and Jack B rocked the volleyball court and beat the staff they were playing against.

That evening we had the special treat of front-row seats and the famous Improv Comedy Club.  Every single student laughed the night away – especially Olivia.

Our last day in Los Angeles was spent at the happiest place on earth: Disneyland – what a magical time for everyone. The day was full of fun and brought out the kid in everyone. Alex started a “slow clap” in line for Space Mountain – and Zach H experienced his first roller coast ride ever! The night finished with one of the best fireworks shows (it brought tears to Michelle and Nicole’s eyes) that had flying Tinkerbelle as the icing on the cake!

Until next time,

The Westcoast Blogger