This summer I spent two weeks in Santa Barbara, California, apart of Project California with Rein Tours. We did a variety of things ranging from kayaking, paddle boarding, roller coaster riding and surfing, while doing community service. I met many people from across the country with different beliefs, talents, interest than mine. It was refreshing to learn about someone else reality versus my own.
My ultimate favorite site in California is State Street, because of the wide diversity of shopping stores, its close proximity to the beach and the beautiful palm trees on the street. There was name brand stores, indie stores, record stores, antiques stores, museums, a theater and much more. Personally, I love places like these because it reminds me of New York City, in the way that all these diverse stores/people are able be in close proximity from one another, and still maintain a friendly attitude and share a common goal to share their items or talent to the public. Also, these stores bring a wide variety of people from around the country, with interesting and inspirational stories.
During my stay in California, I had the opportunity to learn how to surf. At first glance I was terrified of falling but then I remembered that any fear is created in our heads and can be exaggerated, but the best way to overcome it, is by facing it. At that point I decided to give it my all. Although I had a rough start, halfway into the session I caught my first wave. It was the most terrifying yet exhilaration moment of my life. Then, soon after I rode a full wave till the shore of the ocean. I heard my friends cheering me on and the only thought running through my head was “do not fall, do not fall”. Not only did I learn how to surf but I was able to face my fear and overcome it in the process.
Meanwhile having fun in California, I was able to give back to the community of Santa Barbara by volunteering my time at an organization for girls called Girls Inc. The message of the organization is “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold”, which I find to be an absolute amazing message to all girls/women at any age. I feel that in media it is not said enough that women can be smart, strong, and be themselves which was exactly what the organization was promoting to young girls from the ages of 6 to 14. That organization inspired me to make an impact in my community by encouraging young girls who I will work with in the upcoming school, my own friends, and cousins, to stay true to themselves, yet aspire to be better. I will tell these girls that women can accomplish as much as boys and that they should not be ashamed of who they are. Working at Girls Inc. was a memorable experience that I will hold with me my entire life.