I applied to Trip of a Lifetime because I wanted to experience something different and out of my nature. I knew there was more to life than just a city with flashy lights. To me this was like a dream come true. I would have never thought that I would just be driving around L.A. or getting a tan in Palm Springs. I was part of “Project California 2012” with Rein Teen Tours; and it was the best opportunity that I’ve ever taken. I got the opportunity to assist families in need through community service. I worked with “Unity Shoppe” on State Street in Santa Barbara. I stacked cans, bagged food, organized clothing, but most importantly I helped families eat and receive clothing that month. It warmed my heart warm to know that I can help others survive during difficult times. No child in this world should be left to starve. I got to be a part of the whole process.
I saw fresh fruit and vegetables coming in big boxes from the market, I bagged them, tied the bags, labeled them, put them on shelves, and then helped families pick out what produce and other foods they wanted. There were many things that other volunteers and I prepared for families. There were freshly baked donated breads, muffins, danishes, and cakes. There were many different varieties of pasta. While I was there, they were low on Tuna and Peanut Butter because it was common for families so they ran out of it a lot. I thought it was such a kind gesture and wondered to myself why hadn’t I done the same thing before. I remember one day where I helped a man that needed soap and hygiene products, but there weren’t any on the shelves and so I was highly upset. So that night I went back to the dorms and during my free time I went around to all the rooms including boys and girls and asked if they wanted to donate any soap. Each room was given two small body washes that hardly anybody used so by the end of my collection I was so happy to donate it the next day to Unity Shoppe. The next day there was soap ready for the the families, I put them in little bags and made it presentable for families that needed them. Helping families gave me a better perspective on life. It taught me to appreciate everything that is given to me. What I have today, I might not have tomorrow. I know I don’t have the wealthiest family or parent but I know that my mother works hard for everything I have and I shouldn’t take it for granted. Some families are making ends meet not because they don’t have college degrees, but because they went through tragedies and it came during the recession.
Besides the community service I also had fun during the evening activities they had planned for us. We went shopping and to the movies once a week. One night we went to a bouncy house and it took a lot out of my breath but it was extremely fun! Another great day was the 4th of July, we went to a nearby park and enjoyed the fireworks in the night sky. It was absolutely beautiful! Other campers and I also had afternoon electives and I chose photography; that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I learned about different angles, lightings, views, and settings to make your photo the best. I got some pretty great shots throughout Santa Barbara. We went to different places everyday like different beaches, the city, and even far up in the country along the mountains. I enjoyed my experiences in photography class.
My time being in California, I stood at UCSB. At first arriving there I was home sick and felt very out of place. I didn't share the same type of style, music, or interests. I stood more to myself then being more of a social butterfly. I eventually broke out of my shell and shared laughs with most of the other campers. I met two beautiful girls that own the title as best friends now. We shared personal life stories and situations. We offered each other advice and spent every bit of our free time together. It’s so amazing that you can get so close with someone in a matter of three weeks. One who’s named Juliana, but we call her Julie, and the other Carly sometimes I call her Carls. They are both exciting to be around. If I could I would be their room mates forever! I met Juliana because we were suitemates, and I met Carly because we were the only two girls in photography class. I spent most of my time with them.They weren’t the only friends I made but they were the closest. I also became friendly to other boys and girls and I got along with everyone. I love the counselors! Everyone was sweet and almost everyone got along.
This was the best summer ever, and I appreciate this trip of a lifetime opportunity! It was the perfect getaway for me! I relaxed and enjoyed myself. The food was great, the people were great and the place was even greater! Thank you so much! I will always remember this summer, you’ve made it possible and blessed me with a trip of a lifetime! *smiles*