Day 23- Return

Day 23 - The Return 

Today we woke up bundled in our sleeping bags next to our best friends for the last time. Many of us stayed up late (early) with tarp talk and even playing a hilarious game of truth or dare. Some of us were just reaching our REM cycle as our favorite directors (Dallas and Katie) blasted “Good Day” from the speaker. Next up on the playlist included “Wake Me Up” and of course the iconic “Dead Puppies.” We truly will miss their creative wake up calls! They also played one final “Birthday Hooray” song for Genieve’s birthday!!! HAPPY 17th BIRTHDAY GEN, WE LOVE YOU!

We started gathering our belongings and taking them to the bus where Joseph opened the bay for the Bashfuls to load our duffles. Everyone else helped clean the area of trash and the famous KFC bucket hats that were laying on the ground. After making sure our campground was left sparkling clean we headed to one of our favorite places…WALMART! The Sneezy group shopped for our final meals of TWB. We took advantage of the free time in Walmart one final time finding random food items to buy including chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, donuts, energy drinks, and candy. After our quick stop, we got in our vehicles and continued our quest back to North Carolina. The vans and bus were lively with jokes and sing-a-longs once we devoured our delicious cinnamon rolls. The counselors informed us that there would be no napping on the vehicles today, which we did not mind because we wanted to spend as much time as possible with each other. After stretching our legs at a rest area in NORTH CAROLINA, it started feeling real that we would be seeing our family and friends so soon.

As we headed back home a service light on the bus came and on Joseph (the Legend) safely got us to the exit ramp of the highway. We found out that a new bus would be coming to the rescue and we discovered a park nearby to hang out in while we waited. At the park we organized our belongings, cleaned out the vans and kitchen trailer, and had all our wonderful gifts we purchased returned to us. While various jobs were being completed some of us played on the playground, threw the frisbee, and even gathered under a shade tree for a sing-a-long.  Once everyone had the chance to look through the lost and found, we gathered together for a few last words from Grant and the counselors. They handed out papers with all of our names and numbers on it so our TWB family could always stay in touch. The counselors also presented Genieve with a birthday gift of Tennessee souvenirs since we traveled through its wondrous mountains on her special day. She was given two pom poms and two cups since she is a twin of course! Shortly after, the new bus and Joseph arrived! We had a moment to say our very emotional goodbyes to each other before traveling the last hour and a half to our FINAL stop.

When we arrived at Mallard Creek we were filled with so many emotions. We were thrilled to see our friends and family but also sad to say goodbye to our TWB family. We sang, “This Land is Your Land” and our personal favorite “Today” one final time. We then gave many hugs as we were reunited with our loved ones.

Our last Walmart stop!

Hanging out under our shade tree 

Getting ready for a quick meeting

A few more songs with Grant while we waited for our other bus

Potential last hugs :(

Dallas giving Genieve her birthday gifts!!

We made it home!

A note from the counselors:
Thank you parents, family, and friends for checking in with us each day and following along with our journey. We truly felt and appreciated your prayers every single day. We were blessed with 80 amazing teenagers these past 23 days. We could not have dreamed of a better group to spend our summer with. Participants, we love and adore each one of you! Each of you made our trip truly unique and special. We hope that you will look back on the blog often and be reminded of all the wonderful memories we made together this summer. We are so proud of you all and we are already missing you!! Y’all are so amazing and we can’t wait to see what incredible things each one of you will accomplish. We love you to California and back.   

Hugs and high fives,
The staff (AKA the DREAM TEAM)