Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Mesa

New haircut at Mesa Lane beach, down the steps by my house

With Tessa!

I displayed some art on my driveway at a garage sale. I even sold one! :D

Here's another garage sale photo on natalie's blog

San Diego: Matador State Beach

On the way home we stopped at Matador State Beach to climb rocks and explore caves.

San Diego: Extraordinary Desserts

Mine is the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Loaf. Julia got a Dulce de Leche something or other cake. MMMMMMMMMMM

We're super classy. I love this picture

San Diego: Coronado

We took the ferry across the harbor to Coronado.

We packed a picnic!

San Diego: Hash House A Go Go

The five of us split these two huuuuge dishes. Chicken and waffles, mmmmm

San Diego: Nari the dog

San Diego: Wind & Sea Beach!

Pancake Breakfast

Grandma likes this tree.

We were dancing, of course. Grandma knows the DJ and he played some of her favorite songs.

The whole crew

Monday, August 23, 2010

After Graduation?

A list of ongoing ideas.

Get a masters degree in Education, Literature, Journalism?

WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

Fly to a random country and get a restaurant type job

Move to DC and get a journalism job

Friday, August 20, 2010


My campers and I were featured in the Santa Barbara Independent! Check out our story!!

Field Trips Forever

What They Blogged for Summer Vacation

Friday, August 20, 2010

It’s probably safe to say that, even in this day and age, blogging is not how most 10-year-olds spend their summer.

The children participating in the United Way’s Fun in the Sun summer enrichment program, however, just wrapped up a seven-week vacation that was anything but average. This is not to say that the kids were penned up in a computer lab.

Most of them spent a lot of time at the beach and playing ball. But some also participated in a program offering $500 scholarships to children completing 100 hours of “service learning.” Amberly Young, leader of a group of 13 girls and boys aged 10 to 13, chose to let her kids fulfill that requirement by putting a computer-age craze—blogging—to good academic use.

Kids Go Green with their reusable Trader Joe grocery bags.
Click to enlarge photo

Courtesy Photo

Kids Go Green with their reusable Trader Joe grocery bags.

“My background is in journalism, so I wanted to teach what I know,” Young said, explaining the genesis of her idea. “They get to see themselves in print, have their family and friends comment on it, and develop their writing skills,” she said. “I think that being able to express themselves in writing is an important attribute for the kids.”

The blog provides an insiders’ view into the students’ world of field trips, learning, and, of course, fun. Through writing about their adventures, the kids were able to critically reflect on the field trips, which highlighted community involvement and green living. They went “places in the community that are free, fun, and interactive,” said Young. “I just think of what I would like to do if I were a kid.”

“The field trips were always fun,” agreed Marlene Bahena, 13, one of Young’s students. “We could never stop wondering what they would be.” Considering that they ranged from picking oranges in Carpinteria’s agricultural fields, to taking lessons at Santa Barbara Dance Arts, to making pizza at Domino’s, trying to guess what was next would surely be its own diversion.

Each day, the kids mentally and emotionally engaged, in their journals, with what they experienced, then collaborated to develop something for the blog. “We got to put it in our own way, and nobody told us what to do,” said Arlene Vargas, 13. They also did the blog’s photography. “I love our pictures,” said Antonio Castillo, 11. “I photographed things like orange-picking, and our trip to Los BaƱos swimming pool.” He added, “We get to remember our fun times, then our families send us comments and we get to write back.”

The project didn’t stop there: The campers made fliers to advertise their blog, calling businesses to ask permission to display them; and wrote thank-you notes to those who hosted them on field trips.

Overall, it was an unusual experience for the students, who got to have their summer fun while almost unwittingly learning at the same time. “I’m so proud of them!” Young said. “Their writing confidence skills have progressed. Now, they can all write a complete page in their daily journals. Before, their skills were just everywhere.”

“The blog was great, we took our time doing it and learned a lot,” Jessica Zavala, 10, said, summing up the mutual feeling among the group. “I got to do a lot of things I wouldn’t have done and enjoyed my new friends.”

To visit the kids’ blog, click here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Reviews!

Their whining voices echoed in my head long after the work day was over. After an arduous day at Fun in the Sun, I would come home to find myself trapped. All I could think about was work, what I was going to do the next day, more ideas, more field trips, more special guests!

To alleviate my never-ending thoughts of camp, I would read. I got lost in the books, forgetting about my life and letting the alternate universe of the story engulf me completely. I love reading!!!

Here are the books I read this summer, separated by author, along with a grade:

Suzanne Collins:
Hunger Games, A+

One of my favorite books EVER. A dystopia novel, the story is set in America in some distant future, a country known as Panem. Panem is separated into twelve impoverished districts and ruthlessly controlled by the Capitol. Once a year, the Capitol presents the Hunger Games, a punishment for a rebellion that happened a hundred years ago. Two children ages 12 to 17 are selected from each district, forced into an arena where they must fight to the death.
Katniss lives in District 12, a coal mining town, and has to hunt illegally to feed her family. She volunteers for the Hunger Games to take her younger sister's place. Read it!!! It sounds morbid, but you will love it. You won't be able to stop, I guarantee it.

Catching Fire, A+
The sequel is just as good as the first.

Mockingjay, A-
This book was well-plotted and interesting, like the first, but it got too dark for me. Too much violence in the end. Worth reading to see what happens, I guess. I think I may have nightmares about it.

Niel Gaimen:
Coraline A-
Coraline falls into a wonderfully imaginative alternate world, just real enough to be scary.

Anansi Boys A-
Fat Charlie was always embarrased by his father. In elementary school, his dad told him that President's Day means you dress up like your favorite president. Teehee. Fat Charlie grows up and is about to be married when his father dies and his long lost brother enters his life. The book is thick with mythological creatues, clues to unravel a mystery, and an awesome ending twist.

Garth Nix:
Sabriel A-
In this alternate universe, after you die you must pass through seven gates along a treacherous river. Only the Abhorsen can enter death and save people from passing through the final gate before their time. Sabriel must step into her father's shoes as the Abhorsen. The book is very dark themes, and made me think a lot about death and dying, a subject I usually don't think about too often.

Lyriel B+
Not as good as the first one. I liked Lyriel's character, though. She works in an awesome library.

Abhorsen B-
The worst of the three.

Tom Robbins
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, A-
A fun read, interesting writing thick with metaphors, but I'm not a huge fan of the ending. One of my mom's favorite authors. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fun in the Sun and beyond

It's the last day of Fun in the Sun. I'm relieved that it is ending, of course, but a little sad. I will definitely miss the kids and the demand for creativity that this job requires. I haven't decided whether or not I want to do it again next summer. I will keep my options open and see if any other internships or job opportunities come up.

I haven't been blogging as much because we have been working so much on our other blog.

Make sure to check out the field trips page and the special guest pages. I had so much help from family and friends! Andy came in and we built birdhouses, and then we painted them. He is on the special guest page.

I will have a few days of relaxation and then head back up to Santa Cruz and try to move in. I'll be back and forth from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara before school starts late September. My goals before then:

make a journalism portfolio
make an art portfolio
decorate my house
do a lot of art/music (join a band?)
bike around Santa Cruz
find a job? (maybe intern for the SC city newspaper?)

I already have a job for next year as a writing tutor, helping freshmen with their English papers. It should be fun! I'm excited.

Hope all is well everywhere else, thanks for reading.

<3 Amber

Sunday, August 1, 2010

House Last Year

This is where I lived last year! In a few weeks I'll move to a new Santa Cruz house! :)


These photos are from Fun in the Sun last year with my group of 4th and 5th grade boys. One more week left for this summer! Now I'm with 6th thru 8th graders. To see current pics go to our blog, especially the field trip page.

Last year Kim came for a scientific goop-making experiment

And Tessa played the cello for them!

That was a nice day.

Raul isn't here this year. :(

Neither is Angel.

Brayan isn't back this year either. :(

They liked the Wilcox Property!

Chase Palm Park