Sunday, July 15, 2018

West Coast Part 3- Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego

We arrived Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas with time to explore the Mandalay Bay Hotel before cleaning up and heading to dinner at the House of Blues, with great music and singing by all. Following dinner we walked down the strip to the Miracle Mile Shops where groups were able to explore over a mile of indoor shopping, grab Starbucks or ice cream and hang out. Wednesday was a late wake up day before heading to the MASSIVE brunch buffet at the Mandalay Bay. We got our moneys worth here...Following brunch, we explored the amazing Mandalay Bay pool complex. We enjoyed splashing in the wave pool and hanging out in the lazy river! Later in the afternoon we returned to our rooms to shower and dress for an evening out in Vegas. At the Mirage hotel we enjoyed a delicious and relaxing Italian dinner at Osteria Costa Restaurant. We then headed over to our great seats at The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil. What an awesome production, Everyone enjoyed watching the amazing choreography to the Beatles greatest hits. After the show we strolled the city that truly never sleeps and concluded with shopping at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

After checking out of the Mandalay Bay on Thursday morning, we stopped for a bagel breakfast and began the drive to Los Angeles. We made a quick stop at the Seven Magic Mountains art exhibit (a huge Instagram hit!) on the side of the road and for lunch. We arrived in L.A. mid afternoon and headed to the Hollywood Walk of fame and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. We enjoyed seeing the stars on the Walk of Fame and wax figures of some of our favorite actors, singers and idols. Following a diner at California Pizza Kitchen we walked around a bit more, grabbed some ice cream and headed to bed. We awoke Friday and headed to Universal Studios where we enjoyed the back lot studio tour before splitting into groups and experiencing Harry Potter World, the Jurassic Park and Mummy Rides among other themed favorites. After Universal Studios we headed to The Grove, one of L.A's premier shopping destinations (also a popular hangout for many popular YouTuber's and Instagram celebrities). Each group enjoyed shopping and snapping photos with some celebrities (we saw 4!). We headed back to Hollywood Blvd for dinner and the TMZ tour where we got the inside scoop on Hollywood, Beverly Hills and many other locations that celebrities frequent and live. 

Saturday was a day of relaxation as we went to the Santa Monica Pier and enjoyed the beach and pier for the morning. After a late lunch, we headed south to our final destination, San Diego! We checked in to our hotel, grabbed some dinner and went to bed in anticipation of Surfing Sunday morning. We woke up Sunday morning, ate some breakfast and walked down Mission Beach in San Diego for our surfing lesson! We started on land and learned the basic movements and positions needed for surfing and then took what we learned to the water for some challenging fun in the Pacific! After grabbing some beachside lunch, we headed to the hotel to relax and swim in the pool. Shortly we will head to dinner.

As we reach the bittersweet final full day of the Super Senior trip, we will go sailing on the former America's Cup race boat Stars and Stripes. It seems like just yesterday we departed on the west coast part of our journey. Each and every camper has experienced many firsts with some of their best friends (new and old). They have strengthened and forged new bonds with their peers, learned valuable skills about living and traveling with others and had an overall awesome summer! 

Monday, July 9, 2018

West Coast Part 2- Grand Junction, White Water Rafting and Moab

The Super Seniors were greeted with another early morning on Friday in anticipation of a fun filled day of hiking and rappelling at the Colorado National Monument. As we ascended the Devil's Kitchen trail with our amazing guides, we got to enjoy some wonderful views of the vistas and wildlife. We put our teamwork skills to the test as we worked together to climb through the chimney, a narrow rock crack, on the way to the summit. Following a quick water and photo break, we harnessed up and did a little bit of rock climbing on our way to the Lemon Squeeze, a small hole which each of us climbed through to reach the beautiful view at the summit. After returning to the bottom of the hike, each of us got our chance to rappel down a 100+ft rock face. Following a morning of challenge, fun and teamwork, we got some much deserved lunch and cooled off at the hotel. After dinner we caught a movie and headed to bed. 

Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful day to go white water rafting! After breakfast at our hotel, we loaded up and headed to Cisco, Utah where we met our rafting guides. After putting on LOTS of sunscreen, we got suited up with life jackets and boarded our rafts to begin our float into Westwater Canyon. Shortly after casting off, we went swimming in the river and played lots of games. We reached our campsite and spent the afternoon relaxing, playing games, and doing a lot of swimming! After a wonderful taco dinner prepared by our guides, we settled down and relaxed as a group (without our phones). After a beautiful night sleeping under the stars, we woke up, ate breakfast, and headed to the rapids. After a whitewater safety talk from our guides, we hit the rapids and had a soaking wet fun time! Following the rapids we enjoyed lunch and more swimming before arriving at the end of our rafting experience. 

We headed to Moab, Utah mid afternoon, checked into our hotel, and enjoyed some nice shower and relaxation time before heading to dinner. Following dinner and a FroYo stop, we headed to Arches National Park to enjoy sunset. We woke up this morning, enjoyed some breakfast and headed mountain biking. Everyone enjoyed seeing the beautiful views that Moab has to offer while challenging themselves with a great bike ride. Following lunch and some shopping time in Moab, its off to Cedar City, UT for the night before heading to Las Vegas on Tuesday.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Morry's Camp and the West Coast Part 1

Following a hot and sunny day at Hershey Park, the Super Seniors crossed the NY border and arrived at Morry's Camp Sunday afternoon. After meeting with some of the oldest campers for a tour of the camp, we joined Morry's campers and staff for line up and a wonderful outdoor BBQ dinner. Southwoods campers were excited to sit with and get to know the Morry's Camp Post Grad 3 group who are approximately the same age as them. They enjoyed swapping camp stories and songs and learning about the power of camp! Following dinner, we were invited to a campfire with Dawn Ewing, executive director of Project Morry who spoke with our group about the wonderful mission of Project Morry and the impact that camp has on her campers lives.. The next day we woke and joined campers of all ages in the Morry's Camp dining room and then headed to morning line up. Following line up, the Super Seniors were divided among the many Morry's Camp age groups and we were able to participate, lead and get to experience Project Morry in a real way. We also got to know some of the PM campers really well. After a day of fun, we packed up and headed back to Southwoods.

Tuesday morning back at Southwoods consisted of community service with the Lake Champlain Trail society and a picnic lunch. After returning to Southwoods we packed our bags and then were able to get a break from the heat and enjoy free swim, free-play ski and a special evening activity with Scott of tubing and rocking the evening away on the SS Ellie Mae, (Southwoods' new double decker pontoon boat)! We slid down the two slides, leaped from the upper deck and danced like no one was watching, even though everyone on the lake came to check out this amazing new addition to the Southwoods fleet!

Wednesday morning was bitter sweet as we ate breakfast and headed to the airport. We arrived in Denver, CO around 3:45pm and headed to the hotel. Following dinner, we went to bed in anticipation of an early morning on Thursday. After a beautiful drive through the Rocky Mountains, we arrived in Grand Junction, CO and went rock climbing! Everyone enjoyed their choice of 5 different climbs bringing challenge, encouragement and a LOT of fun! Tomorrow we go hiking and rappelling at the Colorado National Monument. 

Super Seniors Take the East Coast by Roller Coaster!

After departing Southwoods Tuesday morning after breakfast, the Super Seniors headed straight to Niagara Falls. Following an awesome tour of the falls on the Maid of the Mist, we headed to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, followed by fireworks overlooking the falls. Wednesday morning was full of soaking wet smiles from jet boating followed by a road trip to Sandusky, OH (home of Cedar Point!). After dinner, it was off to bed for an early morning in the park! Following breakfast by the pool, we headed to Cedar Point where we rode many of the United States' largest roller coasters and had an overall great day. We returned to the hotel mid day for some cool-off time and pizza by the pool before returning to the park for some fun under the stars. We woke up Friday morning and headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. Campers enjoyed learning about the history of Rock and Roll and how it has helped to evolve music into the genres they listen to today. We arrived at our hotel in Somerset, PA in time for dinner and bed time. Everyone is enjoying an awesome trip and is very excited to visit Hershey Park and Project Morry in the coming days. More to come soon!