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Need advice ASAP

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Level Contributor
37 posts
11 reviews
Need advice ASAP

I've planned numerous trips, but this is my biggest challenge yet! My husband and I were supposed to take 50 youth to a place in California to work on a farm for a week. Due to a virus outbreak that we JUST found out about, the Health Dept. is recommending that the farm shut down for the next 7 days to sanitize everything. We fly out in less than 24 hours and suddenly need to find somewhere to serve near Bakersfield for the week. Disaster relief, cleaning, etc.?? (We think we already found a free place to stay in Bakersfield.)

On top of that, the charter bus company needs our revised itinerary in the next couple of hours. We hired a bus to take us from LAX Saturday night up to our hotel near Bakersfield. On Sunday we were going to head up to Sequoia before being dropped off at the nearby farm, but now we need to come up with a new activity that's not quite so far away.

The tricky part is that we can only have the bus for a 6-hour activity or the driver will be over his hours. It's a 56 passenger bus, too, so the bus can't always go on the shorter, hilly routes. Everywhere we're looking seems to be too far for the amount of time we have. We also need to find a cheap activity to do mid-week for a day, since we'll have a bus for that day, too. (Yup, we're scrambling, let me tell ya!)

Next weekend we have non-refundable hotel and bus reservations in San Diego, chartered trolleys, etc. so backing out on the trip would mean that the kids lose a wad of cash. We're in a tough spot. Anyway, if anyone likes a good challenge and has any thoughts on ANY of this, I'd be so grateful!

Bakersfield, CA
Level Contributor
123 posts
63 reviews
11. Re: Need advice ASAP


I can't offer any advice as I saw this thread after you left for Bakersfield, but I wanted to say it must have been your group my daughter met at youth group Wednesday night. Small world! Hope everything worked out and you were able to make it to the beach :)

Fresno, California
Level Contributor
1,272 posts
12. Re: Need advice ASAP

I saw a newspaper article about this group and thought I'd post it as an update for the posters on this thread. Hopefully danacath-NE can give us a future firsthand account.


As a quick article summary, the teens have spent the last few days preparing a new community garden due to open in two weeks. The Bakersfield area community has also supplied food, transportation, and other support to the group. It was nice to see that the region was able to help.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
19,452 posts
43 reviews
13. Re: Need advice ASAP

What great news! I'm so glad this hard working group got to help out!

Manhattan Beach...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
Level Contributor
17,132 posts
3 reviews
14. Re: Need advice ASAP

I'm so happy this turned our well for these kids. What a wonderful thing they did, and how great the community was to help them out.

Level Contributor
37 posts
11 reviews
15. Re: Need advice ASAP

OP here-- Well, we had quite a trip! My husband said that it was his favorite trip of all the trips that he's led over the years. Amazing things happened all week long. For whoever is interested, I'll try to give a brief report...

When Scott first told the youth (Friday night), it was a shock for them to hear that we weren't going to go to Gleanings. None of them backed out, even though we didn't really know what we were going to be doing, where we'd be eating, etc. He reassured them and their parents that whatever happened, he wouldn't add on any extra cost to their trip expenses. (The kids were planning to pay just $85 for 6 nights of room and board at Gleanings, so it was going to be a big challenge to still keep their cost that low.)

Also on Friday, Scott had called St. John Lutheran in Bakersfield, where we were originally planning to briefly stop for worship on Sunday and then eat a lunch provided by them before taking a bus up to Gleanings. He told the woman on the phone our dilemma, and sheepishly asked if we could not only worship and have lunch there, but ALSO spend 6 nights on their campus. (We felt like the tacky relative that comes to visit for the day and ends up staying for a week! LOL) She was so gracious and was excited to do whatever possible to help us out.

So when we got to Bakersfield, Scott got up in church on Sunday, told the people our story and that at this point we still had no plans for work or meals; he also thanked them for agreeing to let us stay on their campus for the week. Before church even ended, their kindness overwhelmed us. They were texting contacts trying to line up work for us, offering gift cards and cash to take care of some of our meals and supplies, planning fun evening activities, etc. By that night they had also collected air mattresses and bedding for those in our group that needed it. Scott was given a car to borrow, and Valley Baptist Church let us borrow a bus for the week. (One of our leaders has his bus license.) We had more than enough of everything, including work possibilities. We got connected with the community garden project and that looked like a job that we could complete within a week, and also be a big help to someone who was desperate for volunteers.

One personal bummer was that I grabbed the barrel of my 400 degree curling iron on Sunday morning, and ended up in the ER with super painful 2nd degree burns. Scott told the church people about my accident and that I had also just had knee surgery in May. After church, a woman approached and offered to let me stay at her home in my own private suite, so I could recover and not have to be sleeping on the floor with the youth. With a burned hand, I couldn't really work in the community garden anyway, so this ended up being a wonderful blessing for me in so many ways.

dotfurio1-- Was your daughter the girl who was wearing the Dr. Who shirt at youth group? We have some girls that are big Dr. Who fans and they made a beeline for her at the end of youth group. :)

I just have to give a big shout-out to St. John Lutheran in Bakersfield. They cheerfully took care of us all week long and we were complete strangers to them. Every day their generosity was both overwhelming and humbling. Meals were brought in by different families to feed all 54 of us each night, 2 evening pool parties were planned, and with some of the extra money they gave us we were able to help buy paint and other supplies for the garden. The youth just kept talking about how awesome it was to step out in faith and have our needs met in bigger and better ways than we could ever imagine. One girl said that she'd never worked so hard in her life or had so much fun at the same time. It will definitely be a trip to remember. :)

Oh, and we were kept busy enough that we didn't take a Wednesday trip to the beach after all. We did stop at Harbor Beach in Oceanside, CA on our way down to San Diego on Saturday. That was just fine for a 45 min. photo op. We also went to Coronado Beach at the Hotel Del on the following day. We chartered 2 trolleys to take us around San Diego on Sunday and that worked out perfectly. We went to Old Town, Coronado, Balboa Park and Seaport Village. The kids had a great day and then we flew home on Monday.

Thanks for all of your helpful suggestions, too. The Tripadvisor community is so awesome!

Level Contributor
37 posts
11 reviews
16. Re: Need advice ASAP

One more thing I forgot to mention-- If you want to see more pictures from our trip, you can go to the blog at thespiderman.com. The content will probably get buried in a few weeks, though, as my husband continues to blog about all sorts of things that interest him, so don't delay in checking it out. :) We also had 2 Bakersfield TV stations cover the story, and the LIncoln Journal Star wrote an article on it, too. I'm sure you can google it and get the links to the coverage if you're interested...

17. Re: Need advice ASAP

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