14 Long Beach High School Students “Explore, Dream, & Discover” at “Camp Justin!”

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Justin RuddCAMP JUSTIN! hosted 14 deserving high schoolers in the Long Beach Unified School District to take part in a 6-day day camp that afforded them opportunities to “explore, dream, and discover” Southern California. Those are the three words of the motto for Justin Rudd’s Web site JustinRudd.com. The 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. camp took place Mon., Aug. 1 – Sat., Aug. 6. In previous years, Justin has had the opportunity to do service projects in Germany, Spain, Zambia, and in the U.S., but this year he wanted to do a service project in his hometown of Long Beach and came up with this idea. The camp was funded by a generous grant from an anonymous family foundation to Rudd’s nonprofit “Community Action Team,” and the deserving 14 students had no worry about getting around the Southland or paying for the opportunities during the week.

EACH DAY’S ACTIVITIES were a surprise to the participants. Rudd rented a 15-passenger van and picked up the students and two chaperones each morning of the camp and hosted visits to places like the L.A. Zoo, the Hollywood Sign, the Huntington Library & Gardens and the OC Fair. They went horseback riding at Griffith Park and took a private tour and screening of “RIO” at 20th Century Fox Studios. The students enjoyed a ride-along with the fire department’s fire boat in the Port of Long Beach and enjoyed a marine biologist-led boat ride along the Pacific Coast. Volunteer activities for the week included beach cleanups in Palos Verdes and Belmont Shore. They toured an animal shelter and the CSULB recycling center. Campers were engaged in talks by community leaders including Mayor Bob Foster, First Lady Nancy Foster, Judge Danny Lowenthal, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, and LBPD’s West Station Commander Josef Levy. Topics included education, equality, justice, depression and animal care.

EACH GOT A professional photo shoot. They visited four college campuses including UCLA, USC, LBCC, and CSULB. Students ate delicious lunches, as well as morning and late afternoon snacks. Dining highlights included lunch on the Queen Mary, pizza on Main Street in Seal Beach, the original Bob’s Big Boy in Toluca Lake, Claim Jumper, Chick-fil-A and Sweet Jill’s.

ON THE FIRST DAY, students received disposable cameras and leather journals to document their week of camp. As the week progressed, students were taken to a department store to choose a new school outfit and were given their own school supplies and backpacks for their fall classes. And, the culminating event on Sat. afternoon (after a beach bike ride and a visit to the Nature Center at El Dorado Park) was a BBQ lunch that included the students’ families and closest friends. At the BBQ, each student was given the opportunity to share publicly what they learned and experienced during the week. Finally, the campers had a coastal tour aboard the Big Red Bus. The students were finally surprised to be able to take home brand new beach cruisers.

Day 1
PHOTOS | OUR PURPOSE for the camp was to “Explore. Dream. Discover.” We had 14 deserving high schoolers at “Camp Justin!” for 6 days of SoCal destinations, introductions and adventures. Today we went to the LA Zoo, original Bob’s Big Boy, Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame, Mann’s Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre, mailed postcards home from Hollywood, Sprinkles cupcakes, Rodeo Drive, and UCLA with LOTS of good fun and lessons along the way in the 15-passenger van.

Day 2
PHOTOS | Day 2 of 6 for “Camp Justin!” w/ 14 high schoolers: Bagels with composer Andrew London who was creating an original song for the Sat. slideshow/BBQ, back-to-school outfit shopping at Target, station tour and AMAZING fire boat ride around the port with Station 20, lunch on Queen Mary with Mayor Foster, hiking along cliffs in Palos Verdes, picked up trash on beach, inspirational talk from LBPD Commander Josef Levy, LBCC campus tour.

Day 3
PHOTOS | Day 3 of 6 for “Camp Justin!” w/ 14 LBUSD high schoolers: bfast @ McDonald’s; toured the Huntington Library’s library, art collections and botanical gardens in San Marino; lunch at Claim Jumper w/ Judge Danny Lowenthal; visited the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at CSULB; toured the Recycling Center at CSULB; talks from provost and biz school dean of CSULB; toured the CSULB campus; athletic shoe shopping at Famous Footwear; talk w/ Miss Long Beach.

Day 4
PHOTOS | Today (Thurs.) we took the students for donuts, then headed to Griffith Park to ride horses; then to the 20th Century FOX Studios for lunch and a talk with former Miss USA/KTLA reporter Lu Parker and a private screening of “RIO” and a studio tour with Ralph Millero; then to USC for a campus visit.

Day 5
PHOTOS | Today we started with cinnamon rolls at Sweet Jill’s on 2nd St., accompanied in the van by Riley the Bulldog; went out on a large boat to study marine life along the Pacific Coast of Long Beach with marine biologist Eliot Freutel of the Long Beach Marine Institute; had pizza on Main St. in Seal Beach with Long Beach’s First Lady Nancy Foster and walked out on the Seal Beach Pier for a talk from Mrs. Foster; then to OC Fair for thrill rides, tasty cold treats & frog legs, elephant rides, and visits to the agriculture and livestock exhibits.

Day 6
PHOTOS | We started with a delicious breakfast from Chick-fil-A at the Town Centre before heading over to El Dorado Park’s Nature Center for a 1-mile hike in the urban forest. Then we walked next door to Long Beach Animal Care Services for a visit with dogs, cats and other animals while touring and learning from a talk by John Keisler, head of Parks/Rec/Marine’s business affairs and head of Animal Care Services. We then drove to Jones Bicycles to pick up new beach cruisers/helmets/locks to enjoy a ride on the beach bike path. We stopped to watch the dogs frolic on Rosie’s Dog Beach and created a large “Explore. Dream. Discover.” chalk mural on the concrete boat launch ramp at Granada Ave. Then, we joined our families and friends for BBQ feast upstairs at Lucille’s BBQ on 2nd St. Attendees watched a 10-minute slideshow and heard testimonies from campers about the week’s activities. Assemblywomen Bonnie Lowenthal gave us an encouraging talk. Finally, we hopped aboard the BIG Red Bus, and Peter Joseph took us for a coastal tour and venture over the Gerald Desmond Bridge. We loaded bikes in the back of volunteers’ pickups and delivered the new bikes to their new homes. It was a perfect week for 14 high school students at the inaugural “Camp Justin!”

Erika Mendoza-Calderon, Ariana Ramos, Alejandro Garcia, Vanessa Cisneros, Bernardino Rivera, Maria Almaraz, Kathryn Saldivar, Salvador Barragan, Velveth Alarcon, Precious Fabian, Carlos Garcia, Yannel Araujo, Santiago Morales, Erika Lopez

Leslie Gombrich; Ritambhra Jain; Beatriz Nieves; Judy Seal; Ralph Millero, Moses Freyre, Eric Wilson, Andrew Capra, Monique Villa, Jona Nieves.

Bonnie Lowenthal, Calif. Assemblywoman; Commander Josef Levy, LBPD; Danny Lowenthal, CA judge; Lee Johnson, CSULB Recycling Center; Mayor Bob Foster; First Lady Nancy Foster; John Keisler, LB Parks/Rec/Marine; Monique Villa, Miss Long Beach 2011; Lu Parker, Miss USA 1994 & current KTLA-TV reporter; Ralph Millero, director of production at 20th Century FOX; Patrick Marks, talent acquisition at 20th Century FOX; and Aimee Hoffman, recruiter at 20th Century FOX; Moses Freyre, cancer survivor; Eliot Freutel, Long Beach Marine Institute; Dr. Donald Para, CSULB provost; Dean Michael Solt, CSULB College of Business Admin; Bruce Vancil, Outreach & School Relations at CSULB; Mark Taylor, director of community and government relations at Long Beach City College; & Riley the Bulldog spoke while we ate cinnamon rolls at Sweet Jill’s.

Chick-fil-A, John Howard; Big Red Bus, Peter Joseph; Carol Rheaume (zoo visit); Moses Freyre (backpacks); Spider Energy Drinks; Jones’ Bikes; Ralph Millero/Patrick Marks/Aimee Hoffman (20th Century FOX Studios visit)

And, see video at www.JustinRudd.com/

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