Fun Stats from Our Trip...
Thanks for making our trip such a success!!! Thought everyone might enjoy some of our fun road trip facts...
4838 Total Miles
95 Hours in the Van
16 Tanks of Gas
24 Training Sessions
3 Pr Stories - KOMU News, Fulton Sun and Naperville Paper
634 - Total People at Events
171 - Largest Event - St Louis - Thanks!
26 Overnight Hosts
3 Pools (we swam in) and 1 Hot Tub
4 City Tours
5 Meals at Subway (favorite food stop)
6000+ Hits on our Website -keep visiting!!!
684 Photos on Web
3 Wine Totes
16 Responses to our Online Survey
And The Raffle Winners Are.....!!!
We wanted to send a big congratulations to the following people who won the fabulous raffle prizes! We drew the names yesterday and the winners are....
Pearl Necklace: Russ Hodge
Westminster Coat: Kerry Kimble
Credit Gift Card: Alyssa Fixley
Wooden Plater: Jane Schroeder
Men's Westminster Watch: Tony Caddell
Westminster Women's Polo Shirt: Denice Greaves
Westminster Men's Polo Shirt: John Harwood
Thanks to all of you who purchased raffle tickets! Your contribution helped to support the Blue Jay Across the USA project as well as the Westminster Alumni Council. Thank you so much!
Yes... I Cried While Recording My Goodbye Video....
I come from an entire family of musicians. While I do not necessarily follow in that tradition in terms of musical talent, I do love music and have spent most of my life using music as an expression of how I feel. Sometimes songs just seem to say it better than I could. Thus, in writing my final blog to reflect upon what has been an absolutely amazing Blue Jay Across the USA experience for me, I will use a song. Not just any song though... a song that I both learned and fell in love with during the road trip. From the musical Wicked, "For Good."
"I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason.
Bringing something we must learn, and we are led to those who help us most to grow,
if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well I don't know if I believe that's true.
But I know I'm who I am today, because I knew you.
Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun.
Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the woods.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime.
So let me say before we part that so much of me is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our storeis end, I know you have re-written mine by being my friend.
Like a ship blown from its morring by a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a skybird in a distant wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."
What this trip has meant to me over the past 18 days is very much in line with what Westminster College in general has meant to me over the past 4 years of my life. It has challenged me to be a strong individual, an aware thinker, and a leader for others. It has educated me about the world and inspired me to be a person of the world who helps to make it better. It has engaged me with diverse people who are living the Westminster mission of fairness, integrity, respect, and responsibility. It has reaffirmed the value and importance of giving back and serving the college that I love and that has given so much to me.
I cannot explain in words (even with the help of that fantastic song straight from Broadway) how wonderful this trip has been. First of all.... what a success! Over 500 people met up with the road crew throughout our journey to celebrate Westminster. Over 5,000 hits were logged on our website. Almost 5,000 miles were put on our rockin' van. And most importantly, we saw too many smiles to count! Our road trip truly helped to keep people up to speed about Westminster and get them excited and engaged in all the awesome things happening on campus. I could not ask for anything more from the trip. I love Westminster, and I love see other people fall in love (or fall in love again) with the school. Total success!
On a personal note, I am so thankful for the ways that this trip has changed me. The amazing people I met during the course of the Blue Jay adventure and the way that the road crew members came together as a family, these things have changed me. Changed me for good. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this trip! I promise to never forget it!
Thanks for following our journey. Thanks for supporting our adventure.
Thanks for loving Westminster.
Blue Jay Love
Peace, Love, and Roadtrips
Road Crew Love for Life
Life is Highway
Going to Kansas City.... Kansas City Here We Come!
Last Sunday we were in Dallas. The Sunday before that we were in Chicago. The Sunday before that we were in Fulton getting ready for road crew training. Sunday the 26th we woke up in Kansas City. What a crazy/amazing life we lead!
A feeling of uncertainty filled the air as Maddy, Sarah Beth and I got ready to leave the home of Linda and Steve Taylor (the awesome folks who hosted us overnight!) We knew that the truth of the matter was the last day, the last city, the last event. We knew all those things, but we just couldn't believe it. You would think that after eighteen days on the road we would be dying to get back to campus and back to our normal lives. But the funny thing is that our chaotic life on the road had become normal to us. It had become home to us. And we were getting sad at the thought of that crazy journey coming to a close.
Despite our slight sadness, the sun was shinning beautifully over the fabulous Kansas City (my hometown... shout out to KC!) so it was easy for us to smile, be happy, and be excited about our day ahead. We said goodbye to the Taylors and headed out to a local church for a late morning service. Being the responsible road crew travelers that we are, we had to make sure to get to the event in time to set up before guests arrived. We snuck out of church a bit early and found a nice little gas station on the way to The National Golf Club where we all changed into our good looking Westminster Blue Jay polos. We wanted to look good for our debut at the awesome country club. We've gotten very good lately at changing in gas stations and such!
The National could not have looked any better with the sun shinning on the back veranda patio surrounded by wild flowers. And I guess it didn't hurt either that we had a delicious array of appetizers set up for all of our guests also. Food is always the finishing touch for a beautiful venue!
The Road crew was super pumped to be able to mix and mingle with about 50 people during our three hour event out on the veranda. Parents of former and current students, alumni, board members, and prospectives had a blast seeing old friends and making new ones. It was a fantastic mix of people.... and as always it was a total joy to see how the love for Westminster brought people together. Every single person I saw on his/her way out after the event had a Blue Jay t-shirt in hand and a smile on! Getting pumped about Westminster is definitely the name of our game. Go blue jays!
What a fantastic way to finish out the road trip tour. Thanks for an awesome event Kansas City folks! We're so glad you came out! And thanks, mom, for having the road crew over to dinner for a bit before we made the drive back to Fulton. You're the best!
Fulton.... Westminster Campus.... it's been a while. Here we come! The blue jays are returning home after an experience of a lifetime spreading Westminster pride and joy.
Life is a highway!
Gina and the road crew
Our Last Big Drive, Our First Gravel Road
Who would have ever guessed that an eighteen day road trip would go by so fast?
We woke up Saturday morning and for the first time in 17 days did not have to think about what event we would be hosting that day. Lucky for us, we had the whole day as a drive day. It was a big one as we were heading from Denver all the way to KC (my home town!) where we would host our last Blue Jay Across the USA 2009 event.
Sarah Beth, Maddy, and I missed Jason dearly as we loaded up the van and left the lovely state of Colorado. We didn't make it too far until we stopped for an oil change (we ladies are pretty good with the car stuff). Then as we were finally ready to head out for good, we realized that we (well, I realized that I) had left some important AV equipment at our host's home! We turned the van around and made it back to his home to find his son waiting in the driveway with all our things! We were all just glad that we hadn't made it to Salina, KS before remember what had been left behind.
The long drive across the plains of Kansas (and they were plain indeed) passed fairly quickly as we retold some of our favorite moments and stories from the trip. We cranked the music up and rolled the windows down and sang our favorite road trip songs. Very loudly. Very very loudly. It was a blast!
Funniest part of the drive to KC---we stopped at a gas station after dinner to fill up. While I was scrubbing the windshield, a van of young males pulled up next to us and started asking all about our awesome van (theirs didn't have a stellar window wrap with their picture on it like ours!) We took the opportunity to talk up Westminster and the Blue Jay Across the USA road trip. The guys acted like it was the coolest thing they'd ever heard of. They were especially interested in the free t-shirts, so we made their night by giving each of them their own shirt. And they asked us to sign them like rockstars. And we did! Everyone just loves Westminster and the road crew!
From their we drove through the beautifully rolling hills of Missouri to the home of Westminster Trustee Linda Taylor. She lives in the middle of the country under a blanket of about a million stars. The drive to her house was by far my most favorite drive of the entire trip. It was breathtaking. At one point we pulled the van over just so we could step out onto the empty road to gaze up at the stars. The road trip had been such an amazing life experience that it just seemed right to take a moment and think about how thankful we were for such a great opportunity.
Long day? Yes. Long drive? Yes. An awesome day spent with wonderful people? Yes. Seventeen days goes by fast? Yes. We went to bed that night looking forward to our event the next day in KC and thankful for the Taylors who hosted us in their amazing home.
We miss you, Jason!
Life is a Highway. Blue Jay Love,
Gina and the road crew
Remember That One Time When.... ---- Funny Things Happen When You Spend 18 Days on the Road
REMEMBER THAT ONE TIME WHEN…
… Sarah Beth and Gina were waiting in line to get fast food when the worker leaned her head out of the window, looked at them, looked at the van, then looked at them again and asked “Is that ya’ll faces on the side of that van?”
… Maddy ran face first into a glass door at Sarah Beth’s house.
… Jason continuously respond to people who said “hope you have a great rest of your trip” by saying “you too” even though they were not on a trip.
… Gina thought the man singing and playing guitar (with a background track) at the event was faking it.
… Maddy and Gina got nailed by a little boy yielding a squirt-gun and a garden hose at a pool in .
… Sarah Beth ate 37 very large cherries in one sitting and only gave Maddy 4.
… Jason almost hit (and I mean came really really close to hitting) a woman on a bike in .
… Gina ruptured blood vessels in her face.
… Sarah Beth walked into a gas station and used the restroom without shoes on. She apparently didn’t realize that she was barefoot until after she got back into the van.
… Jason drove down a one way street…..the wrong way.
… Sarah Beth drove down a one way street….also in the wrong direction.
… Jason close-fisted hit Gina in the face in OKC, on accident of course.
… We left our stuff all over the nation:
- Gina and Sarah Beth left earrings and a necklace in the hotel in
- Jason lost a pair of tennis shoes somewhere… maybe
- Maddy left a scarf in
- Maddy left flip flops in
- We lost our sanity somewhere about a week ago
…Gina didn’t realize that her very heavy suitcase had roller wheels until the very end of the trip (while literally everyone else knew that it could very easily be rolled instead of carried).
…Sarah Beth ran into a piano and got a bruise the size of her fist.
…Maddy claimed to be attacked by cats in the middle in the night (she said they were trying to knock on the door with their “fists”) and no one believed her the next morning.
…Maddy said that she wanted to make cat stew, even though she is a vegetarian.
…Jason sat all alone in a crowded room at the hotel in eating breakfast, while wearing Gina’s sunglasses….all alone….looking very creepy.
… A laptop got slightly broken.
… A tri-pod got slightly broken.
… A microphone got slightly broken.
… We were blindly following Tandy (our GPS navigation system) trying to find a Wal-Mart. She said we had arrived at our destination, but we were really in the middle of a cornfield in .
… Gina said that a waiter at the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club was attractive. And he heard her. And Jason laughed at her hysterically in a corner.
… We made a bed out of about 100 t-shirts in the back of the van. We knew those would come in handy somehow!
… We contemplated picking up a hitch-hiker on our way to because he had a sign that said KC. We thought we could take him with us till the end of our trip.
… Jason walked into a host’s home, thought he saw a cat in the dark, meowed at it, and then realized that it was a plastic figurine. He also happened to be in the wrong bedroom.
.. We gave a homeless man a Blue Jay Across the USA t-shirt in . And he immediately put it on.
… Maddy and Gina went to the wrong house (knocked on the door and everything) trying to find their alumni host in . When a stranger answered the door instead of their intended alum, Gina proceeded to pull out her ginoromus binder and ask him if he was in the wrong house.
… We said about 15 times that we were going to eat Cracker Barrel and instead ended up eating Subway every time.
… Gina brought enough 5 Hour Energy shots for everyone… and NO ONE HAD TO TAKE ONE DURING THE ENTIRE TRIP!
… We changed our clothes and did shots of mouthwash in parking lots.
… Sarah Beth and Gina danced with older businessmen at a concert in . Jason wasn’t too happy about it.
… Jason got hooked on chick music, but continuously tried to deny it.
… The three girls huddled around Jason for a good 15 minutes, laughing, hugging, and crying while telling him goodbye in .
… We went on a road trip across the country for 18 days and had the time of our lives!
Welcome to Colorado!--- Colorado Springs Blog
As we were on tight schedule when we entered Colorado Springs, we decided to pull our van into a Borders parking lot, pull out our suitcases and change in Borders restrooms. The look on everyone’s face as we walked in with our clothes on hangers, heels in hand, and other necessities hanging over our arms was just priceless! Our six hour drive may have left us looking a bit disheveled, but we know how to pull it together and look good. After five minutes, we walked out of the restrooms looking good (like we always do) in our pearls and heels. Jason took a little longer to get ready but it was worth it as he outdid the girls by looking just dashing in a full business suit.
When we arrived at the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club, our host Kirk Johnson’95 and his mom Kristen warmly welcomed us and helped us setup for the event. The Club was situated in a rather fascinating atmosphere surrounded by mountains. The interior was decorated with a classic look that complemented the history of the Club. Soon the guests arrived and the party began. As we sat down to have dinner Gina officially welcomed the guest with a small talk. The three-course meal was just fantastic and everyone seemed to really enjoy it, especially the ice cream (that looked like a Turkey according to Sarah Beth).
After dinner we all walked up to the card room to enjoy a little history of the club. We were rather fascinated by the countless winning sets of cards that were framed and hanged on the walls. It was fun for us to take some silly pictures in such a unique place! After the good meal, interesting conversations and walks down the memory lane, we all headed out. On our way to Kent and Carol Freudenberg’s house, Gina and Maddy dropped Jason and Sarah Beth off at the Golden Bee Club with Kirk Johnson’s family.
As Gina and Maddy were on their way to the Freudenberg home to stay for the night, they may or may not have knocked on the wrong house (well it was the same house number, just on the wrong street). We were totally surprised when a complete stranger opened the door instead of the Freudenberg’s. Gina may have pulled out her ginourmous binder to show him the address. When we finally figured out that we were at the wrong house, we headed to the car laughing at ourselves, but not before Gina could pull her hand out with a smile and shake his hand while saying “HI! MY NAME IS GINA. We’re from Westminster College!” The gentleman was definitely laughing at us as we walked away. Tandy our GPS system struck again. Thanks Tandy.
Kent was very pleased to see us when we arrived at the correct house and even his two wonderful daughtershad stayed up just to meet us. We all stayed up for a while looking at the pictures and listening to the funniest stories of what he had done during his three years at Westminster. We saw some awesome pictures of some of our retired and current faculty/staff in his Blue Jay yearbooks! It was just a perfect way to end our long day. Gina and Maddy fell a sleep with smiles on their faces in the basement looking forward to meeting some of our Westminster Family in Denver.
Blue Jay Love,
Maddy and the rest of the road crew
We're Pretending That The Trip Isn't Coming to a Close Soon---- Denver Blog
While the girls spent time at the Freudenberg’s home after the event, Jason and I hit up a local hang-out with our hosts. The Golden Bee was quite the experience for the two of us, and we loved the sing-along facilitated by the pianist and the bee stickers that the waitresses flicked at our shirts!
Morning came very soon after that and we had on our minds. Before hitting the road, Kirk took me and Jason out for a quick tour of the Broadmoor Hotel in . We were both captivated by the breathtaking scenery of the Rocky Mountains reflecting in , and Jason was mesmerized by the impressive golf course (which will be hosting the U.S. Women’s Open in 2011) . We also got to peak into a store which had some amazing fossils on display and were able to crack open our own geode to keep as a souvenir. Our super speedy tour guide then rushed us back to the van so we could get on the road for our next stop in !
We caught a bite to eat at a Sushi restaurant in downtown . It was Jason and my first time eating sushi, and while it was rather tasty, I decided that a nice juicy hamburger was more my style. It was a fun experience, and Jason even learned how to eat with chop sticks!
After lunch, Kris Lensmeyer and her husband Glenn graciously let us dominate their hotel room with our luggage so we could get ready for our event that evening. We have become professionals at taking over any given space with our stuff and making ourselves at home! It didn’t take us too long to get ready and looking good for our evening event.
Snooze Diner was just a quick drive down the street from the hotel and we were immediately met there with hugs from President Barney and Jane Forsythe. It was great to see all of our family again! The food at Snooze was AMAZING! Especially the chocolately/peanut buttery pancakes… that tasted way too good to be a breakfast food… which I guess is why we were eating it for dinner.
As if hanging out with our awesome alumni at Snooze wasn’t enough, the group then headed over to Coors Field to watch a Rockies/Giants game. had a right field suite that was amazing! Clear view of the field, perfect weather, breathtaking mountain scenery, popcorn, peanuts, and foot-long hot dogs… who could ask for more?! Well, okay, the could have won, but a fun time was had by all regardless of the outcome. J
We had a tearful goodbye outside of the ballpark as we sent Jason on his way to the airport hotel he was spending the night at. We knew that we were becoming very close as a group, but it didn’t hit us as too how much we’d gotten used to each other till it was time to break up the road crew. We all shared a long hug and I threw in one more “if I jump, will you catch me” moment (Jason’s gotten pretty good at being able to catch me in a second’s notice), the three of us girls retreated to our van alone. Our tears were soon replaced with loud singing and laughter as we drove to the Boatwright’s home where we were staying for the night. The three of us crashed into bed immediately, and were all well rested to continue our journey across the state of !
It’s going to be sad drive away from the beautiful mountains of “Colorful Colorado”!
Peace, Love, and Sticky Bees,
Sarah Beth, and the Crew
You'd Think We'd Be Tired of Living in the Van By Now... But We're Not!
Favorite Songs to Drive to On the Road:
- "Life is a Highway" by Rascall Flats
- Gina and Sarah Beth singing Broadway songs from Wicked in the backseat
- "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus
- "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey
- "Remember My Name" by Fort Miner
- "My Life Be Like" by Grits
- "Life is a Highway"
- Any Goo Good Dolls song ever made (that's for you Jason)
- "Summer Lovin'" by Justin Timberlake
- Dixie Chicks...their older stuff of course
- "Dirty Little Secrets" by the All American Rejects
- "Thanks for the Memories" by Fall Out Boy"
- "My Friends Over You" by New Found Glory
- "Sweet Home Alabama"
- "Free and Easy Down the Road I Go" by Dierks Bently
- "Party Like a Rockstar" by JT Experience
- "Boondocks" by Little Big Town
- "Heart of a Champion" by Nelly
- Did I mention "Life is a Highway".....
Favorite Snacks on the Road
- Brownies (homemade by some of our fantastic hosts. Thanks Mary in Springfield!)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (huge shout out Diane Mills in Ft. Worth!)
- Pop Tarts (well... Gina was really the only one who ate these)
- Starburst Candy: Jason loves the pink, Maddy loves the orange, Sarah Beth's favorite is the yellow. Gina's favorite is the red. Are we not the perfect mix for a road crew or what?
Nicknames for The Road Crew Members
- Gina--- they started calling me "mom" about a week ago
- Maddy-- we decided that calling her "Usha Usha" made her seem more interesting
- Jason--- Jase Face, Jay Dubbs, and Dr. Warncke
- Sarah Beth--- SB, Peach
We're like a road crew family. Lot's of love is what keeps that minivan still trucking along!
Blue Jay Love for Life... and lot's of snacks and loud obnoxious singing along the way,
Gina and the rest of the road crew!
We Just Didn't Get Enough of Texas the First Time Around---- Amarillo
Our time is flying by WAY TOO QUICKLY!!!
To be honest, I didn’t see much of the scenery on the drive from OKC to Amarillo for the intense nap I was taking in the back seat, but Gina assured me that it wasn’t the most breath-taking thus far. We came to a stop in the Amarillo Club parking lot 25 minutes before the event was to begin. So, being the resourceful road crew that we are… we decided to change in and/or around the minivan. While Maddy blocked Gina changing in the front of the van, Jason helped me spray my skirt (which had been in the bottom of my luggage for 17 days) with wrinkle release. We then all bonded over a group shot of ACT mouthwash. By the time we walked through the front door of the building, we were all lookin’ mighty fine… quite the team!
While only one alumni and his wife were able to attend dinner, it was still quite a lovely and entertaining evening! Jeff and Renee Brain were spectacular! We loved catching up on stories about infamous short-term and world travels. Our chicken dinner was amazing (vegetarian Maddy had some pasta_ and a good time was had by all!
After dinner, the road crew had a fun night hitting up Amarillo’s local putt-putt golf course to enjoy one of the last few days together. We spent a lot of time in the grass next to the putting green or in the muddy/flooded part of the green. At one point, Jason chased my ball down a stream before it was lost in a pool at the bottom of the course. What a friend! We vowed at the beginning of the course that the three losers had to give the winner a back-rub the next day…. Turns out Jason is getting pampered today. Even though I only lost by 5 strokes! (My super competitive nature may or may not have come out intensely at one point….) I’ll beat him next time. Gina was the third place winner. Maddy came in last. She played a good round though, being that it was her first time playing putt-putt!
The four of us had a pow-wow in Gina’s room at the Holiday Inn before retreating to our own rooms for the night. Good night’s sleep, big breakfast, and now looking out the window at a BEAUTIFUL landscape as we point north toward Colorado. We’ve even already had a chance to get up close and personal with some wildlife. As I was typing, Maddy began to scream about a large jet-like bird that almost flew into our windshield…
Peace, Love, and Suicidal Bombing Hawks,
Sarah Beth and the Blue Jay Road Crew
"I think I could move here"---- Oklahoma City
It was a fresh start to our Tuesday as Maddy and I cleaned out the van before meeting up with Jason and Sarah Beth. With some intense scrubbing, we had the van looking pretty darn good in no time! Jason and Sarah Beth showed up at Audrey’s home looking pretty good as well… they had just gotten haircuts. So we ended up with one clean van and at least two good looking road crew members. Not bad.
In most of our traveling thus far, we’ve arrived in each new city with time to get to an event, change into our Westminster clothes (sometimes in the parking lot of a venue!) and set up for the event with little wiggle room. But the trip from Ft. Worth to OKC was a pretty short one, so it was a pretty strange feeling for us when we pulled into town with a good 4 hours to kill before our event. Little did we know that our fabulous host (Diane Slayton… mom of a current Westminster student) had things all taken care of at her home. The lovely Diane was making homemade guacamole when we arrived, which was the start of the fantastic little party that she had arranged for us. We headed out back to their pool and enjoyed a few hours in the sun with the Slayton family and some of their neighbors. What a way to welcome us to OKC! We loved every second of it.
We cleaned up a bit and headed to the downtown area of Oklahoma City known as Bricktown (….which we later realized had that name because all the buildings are made of brick!) We set up for our event at the Deep Deuce Grill. We absolutely fell in love with the charming outdoor patio that had been reserved for our Westminster group. A huge thank you to Tyler Peyton (2000 grad) who arranged the event for us and provided some yummy appetizers for all our guests! It was awesome.
We had about 42 OKC folks come out to the Deep Deuce…a fantastic mix of incoming students, lots of current students, and several alumni as well. This event seemed to be the best one thus far in terms of these different groups mixing, mingling, and getting to know each other. The energy in the place was huge! I especially loved talking with the incoming students at the event… they were excited to begin with about coming to Westminster in a month….but by the end of the night they were so pumped about Westminster that one of them said she wished she could move there tomorrow. I LOVE THAT! At one point in time she actually grabbed my arm and starting jumping up and down with me. I get pretty excited right along with them! Go bluejays!
Since we didn’t have to rush out of OKC too early the next day, we woke up and headed back to the Bricktown area to take some fun pictures and get to know that downtown area better. We enjoyed the canal and river walk area, took a simply charming trolley ride (…after Jason had to chase it down for us to hop on…) and also toured a bit of the Oklahoma City bombing memorial. We all agreed that we loved OKC!
Awesome people. Relaxing by the pool. Great event with Westminster friends. Fun sight-seeing. I don’t think it could have been any better.
Blue Jay Across the USA is possibly the greatest thing ever created!
We’re loving our journey and getting sad that it’s coming to a close, but we’re still living up every second of the trip and still living the Westminster mission and logo 24/7.
Blue Jay Love for Life!
Gina and the road crew
Westminster Scores a Perfect 10--- Dallas Event
Well what a wonderful way to connect with people. We had our 13th event in Dallas Texas on Sunday the 19th. The event was held at the Plano Super Bowl alley. Even though some who attended were not the best at bowling (including my self) we managed to have a great time as a group. As we entered the State of Texas we got more and more excited about going bowling that evening.
We decided to go have lunch as we had arrived in Dallas pretty early. At the restaurant, we met a waitress who was very fond of Westminster! She had a good friend that is a current student there. What a small world! We love meeting people who know about Westminster or know people who go there. As we left the restaurant we saw the blue skies turning dark gray as we watched and lightning blaze in the clouds. It was a sign of a storm. The disappointment of the road crew showed on our faces as we looked at each other. We were clearly worried about people not turning out to our event if a bad storm was on its way. But we have learned to take it as it comes and realize that things will be great and that the event will be a ton of fun no matter what.
As people started to gather the real fun began. It was interesting to see how everyone helped out each other with the bowling practice! It was more of a group effort rather than a competition. The diversity of the crowd was definitely impressive as we had a significant amount of current and incoming students who definitely had a great time scoring the points. We also had a guest from the development office of Westminster, Wayne Lowen, who was in the Dallas area and stopped by our event. Alumni and parents mostly enjoyed chit chatting and catching up on the stories from the old days.
Sarah Beth, Gina and Maddy joined Jason towards the end of the event to play and soon decided that we needed to hang out more often in a bowling alley… strictly for the purpose of improving our bowling skills for future Westminster event of course. Sarah Beth however, was a natural while Maddy kept on crossing the foul-line when she bowled (Westminster did teach her to cross the lines and think out side of the box…) Gina as usual was very optimistic (even despite her four consecutive gutter balls) and she kept announcing at the start of every turn that she would score a strike. Needless to say… that never happened. We owe Marshall a great thank you for the great success of the event! Also, thanks for teaching us how to bowl backwards and with our legs. It was only when I started bowling with my legs that I was able to keep up with everyone else’s scores!
As everyone went home smiling with door prizes, Blue Jay road trip t-shirts, and memories we went off to dinner with our hosts David Vassar, Traviss Sartain and George Mahn. Mexican food, margaritas, and talk of Westminster past and present. What a great time! Then we were off to a movie for a little down time… Gina may or may not have fallen a sleep three or four times during the movie. We also wanted to say hello to Gina’s grandma and that we were all thinking of her!
All in all…awesome day!
Blue Jay Love, Maddy and the Road Crew.
Everything is Bigger in Texas--- Ft. Worth Event
Everything’s Bigger in Texas
July 20, 2009
Today was a very light travel day, as the drive from Dallas to Ft. Worth was only an hour. We arrived at Dr. Audrey Remley’s house around 11 am and ate lunch at P.F. Chang’s downtown. DELICIOUS! Then we went to the Jubliee Theatre for some service. Audrey serves on the board for the theatre, so she was able to get us the inside scoop on the historic African American theatre group that is in the beautiful downtown district of Ft. Worth. Benjamin, the production manager, gave us a fun tour of the theatre before we headed to their basement office next door. That’s when the work began for us as we gave them a helping hand with some paperwork organization that majorly needed to be done! Check out the Ft. Worth photo album for the before and after pics of what the paperwork mess looked like! We felt great to be able to help them out, and we also had some fun doing the project at the same time.
After that we went back to Dr. Remley’s to freshen up then head out to our evening event. Joe T. Garcia’s was truly a special place! The outdoor patio area was the most expansive, beautiful eating area I had ever seen. The terrace has room for up to 1400 guests, and there is still an average of a 2 hour wait on weekends! Plus, there are 60 servers on staff at any time to handle this massive amount of customers! Luckily, we had a private room reserved for our event tonight. The menu for the night was enchiladas or steak/chicken fajitas. The food was EXCELLENT. After the meal we gave a brief speech about the state of the college and chatted a bit more with incoming students and alumni. There were two incoming students (and their families) present at the dinner tonight along with several area alumni, and it was awesome to get to talk to them about Westminster because they are SO excited to attend! Thanks to all who attended the event tonight in Ft. Worth!! Be sure to check out our fun videos and pics from the night.
It’s funny… we keep having so much fun at all our events that we don’t think the next place can get any better. And then they keep getting better! We are truly having a blast.
Blue Jay Love,
Sarah Beth, Jason, and the rest of the Road Crew
…. And P.S…. we heard from Travis Sartain today (one of our awesome hosts from Dallas) that his wife went into labor finally. He sent the road crew a text with the good news, so congrats to them!!! More members for the Westminster family to love on. There’s nothing better.
It's a FIESTA!!!--- Tulsa Event
It’s a FIESTA!
Today might have been my favorite day yet because we got to sleep in! Gina and Sarah Beth came and picked us up at the Stufflebam’s house around 9:45 am. Bob and Mary Stufflebam were very generous to lay out a three course breakfast out for us in their beautiful kitchen, full of fresh fruit, muffins, etc. After visiting with this wonderful couple for a bit, we were off for Tulsa!
The drive from Springfield to Tulsa was only 3 hours and we luckily did not run into any traffic. We arrived in Tulsa around 1:15 pm and began setting up in El Guapo Mexican Restaurant on their beautiful rooftop. After we finished we began to realize that we would not have the room to ourselves, as non-Westminster folk were being seated all around us. It then hit us that there would not be enough room to hold our event on this rooftop floor that we thought we had reserved. So, at the last minute (about 1:40 pm) we decided to move to the second floor into their banquet room. This could not be pulled off without our excellent training…. and considering that we’re on our 12th city we could most likely set up an event in five minutes in our sleep. So, we successfully decorated and prepared the room with time to spare.
Once our guests began to arrive we ordered a plethora of appetizers and set them up buffet style. Although only 7 guests showed up (we were expecting double) it was still a FANTASTIC event! This smaller event allowed us to talk with each guest at length and catch up with some old friends as well!
Sombreros + margaritas + buffet of unhealthy Mexican food + alumni = YES.
In regards to the sombreros…make sure you check out the photo album for pictures!
Thanks to everyone that came.
After the wonderful lunch at El Guapo, we had the opportunity to spend the evening at the home of the mother of Flint Breckenridge, a Westminster alumni. She was very generous to open up her home to us during a family get together, and we had a great time meeting, swimming, hanging out, and enjoying barbeque with their lovely family. Uncle Flint (which Gina and Sarah Beth began calling him) then drove us to Embassy Suites Hotel in Tulsa where he had reserved a suite for the four of us. Thank you so much for letting us stay in style, Uncle Flint!
TWELVE down, NINE to go!
Jason, Sarah Beth and the Blue Jay Road Crew
If This Were a Marathon... We Would Have Just Run Thirteen Miles--- Springfield
We are all either really talented or really crazy given the fact that we decided to travel to host two events in two different cities in two different states today. Talk about hectic!
It’s hard…nearly impossible…to believe and comprehend that I woke up in Little Rock this morning, traveled to Fayetteville for a few hours, and then ended up hosting an event in Springfield for 4 hours tonight before going to bed and heading to Tulsa tomorrow. Hard to believe…but it’s true!
The road crew absolutely loved the Springfield Brewing Company restaurant where we had the event tonight. We had a great upstairs area reserved alongside a live band! We shared appetizers and then ordered different entrees off of the menu. And the best part… we had 18 people RSVP to attend our dinner and we ended the evening with 29 people enjoying the party. I’m really a firm believer that when it comes to events like this… the more the merrier! It really pumps the road crew up when we meet people who are excited about Westminster and happy to be spending time with other Westminster folks! Twenty-nine people at our Springfield dinner, we’ll take it! Thanks to everyone who came out for the event.
Like most events have played out thus far, we ended up staying at our event location (Springfield Brewing Company) for longer than what the invitation listed. I don’t even think we began packing our thing up until after 10. We get pretty caught up in talking with people, handing out t-shirts, and taking videos that time just slips on by. Then all of a sudden the event is over. That feeling of time flying by is similar to how it’s been for us during the trip as a whole. Can’t believe we’re about halfway over.
From Tulsa tomorrow, we’re going to be swinging through Texas, Oklahoma City, Colorado, and KC to finish out the last leg of our nation-wide journey. Keep checking up on us and following our Blue Jay adventures. The good news… no more two cities in one day!
Three basic truths for all to learn: Arkansas and Springfield are awesome. Tulsa will rock. The road crew rules.
One simple mission: Spread that Blue Jay spirit.
Gina and the road crew
Food, Smoothies, and Fun People.... Three of My Favorite Things--- NW Arkansas
Although we haven’t been getting too much sleep on the road (but don’t worry moms and dads… we’re getting enough…) it is easy to get out of bed in the morning when you know you have a fun and full day ahead of you.
We headed out of Little Rock this morning at about 8 AM to make it into Fayetteville in time for our lunch event at Bordinos. When we were planning our NW Arkansas event, we had at least three alumns tell us that we absolutely had to hold the event at Bordinos. We love listening to our alums because they clearly have fabulous taste! The restaurant was a fantastic mix of trend and sophistication, and the private room we had set up provided a perfect spot for chit chatting about how awesome Westminster is!
It was great to see a recent alumnae at the event (Morgan who graduated in the same class as Jason and me), several young alumni, older alumni members, an incoming student and his parents, and also the parents of Westminster grad. It was probably one of the most diverse groups we’ve seen thus far! What fun it is to have the opportunity to bring people together like this in such a new way.
A special thanks goes to John Elrod for supporting the Blue Jay Across the USA trip by sponsoring the lunch for today. He’s one of the many examples of how Westminster succeeds in training people to lead lives of excellence, kindness, and stewardship. A big thanks to him for his thoughtfulness.
After the lunch we packed up our van to follow the Woods (parents of former students and current staff member Donald Wood) to their Tropical Smoothie store they own just a few minutes away from Bordinos. These two are awesome! They talked and talked about how much they loved Westminster even now that their son has been graduated for ten years! And they liked the road crew quite a bit as well and hooked us up with some complimentary smoothies to take with us on the road. These were not only delicious, but helpful as well since each drink contained a caffeine shot. Hey…when you’re doing two cities in one day, you need all the help you can get!
With smoothies in one hand and the GPS system in the other, we headed out of Northwest Arkansas for our next event.
Thanks Fayetteville… ya’ll were great!
Blue Jay Crew Loves You
Random Details You Are Dying to Know!
(Stats Effective the evening of Friday, July 17th)
- 37 ½: total hours together in the van thus far
- 11: cities we’ve hosted events in
- 6: states we’ve traveled to
- 9: number of days we’ve been on this crazy adventure
- 3: times we’ve eaten fast food
- Over 390: number of people we’ve engaged with the road trip thus far!
- 2: swimming pools at alumni homes
- 1: hot tub
- 800: dollars we’ve collected through generous donations thus far!
- 1: pair of earrings lost to a hotel in Nashville
- 6: times we’ve rocked out to Rascal Flat’s “Life is a Highway” song
- 7: times we’ve filled up the van with gas
- 2: times we’ve almost run out of gas
- 14: alumni homes we’ve stayed in overnight
- 3: times we’ve had separate rooms but have still slept together (yes… we really like each other that much)
- 3: loads of laundry done
- 1: times the van has been completely unpacked, cleaned, and re-packed
- 0: times we’ve washed the van (it’s still on our to-do list)
- 2: times the electric converter box in our van has blown a fuse
- At least 100: times that we have forgotten the date, what day it is, what city we’re in, what our own names are….
The trip has pretty much reached it's halfway mark. Crazy!
More stats to come in the future. Just know that we're having a blast driving around the country in a mini van (with our faces on it) sharing the good news about Westminster and making awesome memories.
One half down. One half to go. Wish us luck... and stay tuned for more fun stories and stats.
From the best Blue Jay Crew to ever live...
Lots of West MO love from the road!
Gina and crew
"Rain Rain Go Away"---- Little Rock
Bring it on… Westminster can still have a great time rain or shine! The Little Rock event was well attended, and even though the Travelers baseball team was not able to play due to the weather, current Westminster students, incoming freshmen, and alumni all seemed to be having a wonderful time visiting and eating dinner under the cover of our private party deck. We had a great time getting to know everyone and would like to thank everyone for being flexible with the cancellation of the game. We’re glad you showed up and still had a good time!
Westminster College + hot dogs + free t-shirts + party deck = a good way to spend a Thursday night.
After all of the guests headed for home, the road crew got to sit down with the rest of the Westminster staff who had driven down from Fulton that day to attend the event. When we saw Kris Lensmeyer, John Comerford, and Kristen Jackson in their hotel before the game, we realized how much we had missed them this past week! We sat on the party deck for over an hour sharing the stories of the funny things that had happened to us on the trip so far. That basically meant that we were all making fun of each other!
Maddy and Gina then dropped Jason and me off at the home of Stan and Leslie Roberts (who have the cutest little baby named Ellie…we love her!) Gina and Maddy spent the night at Dorsey and Lucy Jackson’s home. Thank you SO much to both of our gracious sponsors!
Little Rock. Ya’ll are great. Thank you for an awesome night! J
Peace, Love, and Heat Lightning,
Sarah Beth and the Blue Jay Road Crew
PS. Thank you to Dylan Hibbs for helping us figure out how to set up out internet and get some sweet Apps on the trip iPhone. Can’t wait to see you on campus in the fall, Dylan!
Our One Week Anniversary--- Celebrating Westminster and the Road Trip in Nashville
Nashville--- July 15th
After several days of going-going-going non-stop, we were so thankful to have a few hours yesterday at David and Debbie’s home before we headed out to Nashville. We spent the afternoon working in their living room and kitchen on all of our fantastic AV projects. We were able to get several blogs, videos, and pictures uploaded onto our site from our Lexington and Louisville events. Can’t tell you how good that feels! We have been hearing from all of our families and friends that they’re been keeping close tabs on us through our updates. We pretty much feel like rockstars with a huge following!
It was a short drive to Nashville and we headed straight to our event location at Sunset Grill. It’s funny for us to notice all the strange looks we get when we climb out of our van (that has our faces on it!) and start hauling in containers, AV equipment, and luggage into a place. It’s been a huge conversation started for sure! I think we’ve lost count by now of all of the random people we’ve talked to about the trip. Just last night I had a lengthy chat with a lovely Irish woman in a bathroom! Everyone so far has thought that the trip is a totally awesome idea.
The Nashville group definitely made a good showing at the event. We had 10 people registered to attend, and by the time we sat down to dinner there were 15 of us! We did a buffet type o f meal with a variety of tasty appetizers… and of course we finished it off with some dessert.
One reason I loved going to the Nashville area is that it is a place where Westminster alumni events don’t reach on a regular basis like KC and St. Louis. Nashville hadn’t had an event there in years…until last night! The road crew and Blue Jay Across the USA let the Nashville group know that they were important to us. The crowd seemed really interested in maintaining energy in the Nashville area. Love it.
We had hotel rooms booked for the night. Staying with alums had been awesome thus far, getting to spend more personal time with fantastic Westminster folks. But in planning for the trip we noted that Nashville would be a good place for the road crew to have some alone time and be able to stay in their own rooms. Good plan, right? But it’s a good thing that plans are meant to be changed. We’ve become so accustomed to spending time together (ridiculous amounts of time together) that it just seemed wrong to be apart. So before we went to our hotel we spent an hour or so touring downtown Nashville. It was lit up like Vegas and live music poured out of every place we walked by. We enjoyed a band at a grill called Stage and Jason laughed as Sarah Beth, Maddy, and myself tore up the dance floor! It was the absolutely perfect way to celebrate our one week anniversary as a road crew! One week down!
Nashville was a truly great stop….but we’ve already hit the road and are on the way to new places and new events. Here we come Little Rock!
Blue Jay Love for Life
Gina and the road crew
Looking for Loving in "Loo-a-ville"--- Louisville
As we entered Louisville all four road crew members started practicing the correct way to pronounce Louisville… We were corrected by the alums in Cincinnati and Lexington and were taught how to pronounce it the right way (Say it like you have gravel in your mouth) but the road crew was definitely very creative… Loui’S’ville is definitely my favorite!
As we pulled the good looking Blue Jay Van into our lovely host David & Debra Nicholson’s home, we were warmly welcomed and given a tour of their beautiful house. They had the bouquet of flowers we’d sent them ahead of time displayed on their table! David had put so much effort into planning a tour around the city of Louisville and it definitely paid off. We saw the Louisville Slugger Factory and museum, International history museum, the riverfront and many more awesome places in the city. The Road Crew was going crazy jumping in and out of the car, taking pictures and listing to great stories that David was telling us about these places. We also saw the Muhammad Ali museum where Gina, Maddy and Sarah Beth had a little three way boxing match.
The event at the Nicholson home was more than the pictures as we met with not only alums but also current parents and a Westminster board members. We enjoyed the awesome food (thanks to Debrah!) and each other’s company on past 10:30 PM. Us road crew members were sitting on the floor while David and fellow alums sat in big comfy chairs telling hilarious stories. It was like a picture out of book….storytime in the living room! One of our favorite stories was from an area alum named Hearman who told us how he ran a mile (hungover) at 6:00am to open a Fulton bar. Apparently he’s been telling that same story for years!
Later that night, we got in the Whirlpool with young Sam Nicholson (David’s son) and we reflected on our fun stories from the trip. Sam loved hearing about our Blue Jay adventures across the nation. The next day morning was exiting as we had breakfast with David and toured more of the city of Louisville….seeing the 17 million dollar home of the owner of Papa Johns!!! It was an awesome morning.
Thank you David for all the lovely souvenirs you got us as gifts (I loved the Kentucky Bourbon Balls)... now we’re getting set to head to Nashville! Hard to believe how fast the trip is flying by! Five days down….thirteen more to go!
Blue Jay Love, Maddy and the road crew
Gettin Lucky in Kentucky!
After a wonderful lunch in Cincinnati, we hopped back in the Blue-Jay-Mobile and pointed it toward Lexington, Kentucky for dinner that evening. We arrived at Ramsey’s in downtown Lexington ready to meet all the spectacular Alumni and prospective students with smiles after a full day of driving. A larger group than expected was able to attend the dinner to enjoy the wonderful food and visit with fellow Westminster students and graduates. Jason and Maddy ordered Ramsey’s signature item on the menu… a “Hot Brown”. I feel like this unique name accurately described the mountain of toast, meat, gravy, and melted cheese that sat in front of Jason (Maddy’s vegetarian version was filled with cooked vegetables). It was quite a sight. A sight that reminded Jason and I of our promise to work out every day and eat healthy while on the trip. Whoops.
We were able to spend the evening catching up on the day’s events in the pool at the home of Sam and Susan Barnes, which was wonderful and much needed! Jason and Maddy then returned to the Brinlee home for the night while Gina and I stayed up to finish up some work. That’s when the sleep deprivation really began to kick in. We sat in the basement giggling like 5th grade girls at a sleepover as we recounted all the funny things that had happened the past few days on the road. We decided to finish up working upstairs, but we were asleep 3 minutes after sitting on Gina’s bed. Even though I had a bedroom to myself, we shared a SUPER comfy bed that night; I guess we don’t have quite enough time together in the van?
Thank goodness we all got a good night’s sleep because the next morning was MUCH anticipated. The Barnes’ drove us through horse country and to the Kentucky Horse Park to walk around. We got to see an adorable miniature pony foal, visit the exhibits on famous racehorses, and witness part of the sparkling Calumet trophy collection. But the best was next to come!
We were taken to the Hill’N’Dale thoroughbred horse farm (where the famous Seattle Slew is buried) to witness some of the most beautiful, polished horses I have ever seen. We first got the privilege to meet a couple of the stallions standing at stud there, who were housed in a stunning brick courtyard with their own doors on the outside of the building. One of these was the spectacular Stormy Atlantic who was named a Leading Sire in 2008 and has already been named a Top 5 Turf Sire in 2009. We were then able to see both the Barnes’ adorable weanling and yearling who were both out of the Barnes’ broodmare, Beaucette. Before leaving, we were able to meet and spoil Beaucette and the rest of the broodmares turned out with her with carrots and lots of love. It was certainly hard to leave… I could definitely get used to this!
I completed the trip out of Lexington with both feet sticking out of the window in the sunshine, hand in the wind, singing loudly to the radio. Perfect ending to an AMAZING morning!
Peace, Love, and Thoroughbreds,
Sarah Beth and the Blue Jay Road Crew
"Wow, which river is that?!" "Uh, Ohio." "Oh ya I knew that"--- Cincinnati Lunch Event
Lunch in Cincinnati
Sarah Beth and Maddy came and picked us up at the Daniel’s 8:45 Monday morning then we were off for Cincinnati. July 13th would bring a new set of challenges to the road crew as we would be holding two events in two cities. This was the first time we had done this so we were curious to see how it would turn out. Luckily, it was an all-around great day.
The drive was only an hour and a half from Columbus to Cincinnati, which was quite refreshing. We arrived at the famous Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse around 11 am, plenty of time to prepare for lunch at noon. The restaurant was beautiful. It showcased a plethora of Cincinnati sports memorabilia, along with a gorgeous view of the Ohio River. Beth Pack (Slemons) and her husband Chris were the first to arrive, while Bill Hartford shortly followed. It was nice to have a smaller event because it allowed us to talk with each alum at length. I had a rack of the famous Montgomery Inn ribs, along with signature homemade BBQ chips and strawberry shortcake Graeter’s ice-cream for dessert. DELICIOUS. Cincinnati BBQ is tough to beat. After lunch we ventured to the top balcony for pictures with the Ohio River and Kentucky border as our background. We took some video footage of our guests and also had them sign our map of the USA like all our other guests. It’s starting to look pretty full of names!
Blue Jay Love,
Jason and the Road Crew
"My Life Be Like..." Welcome to Life In a Van... A Van With Your Face on It
Get to know the road crew a little bit better!
- Gina doesn't like to use the same brand of shampoo and conditioner. She likes to switch it up.
- Maddy wants to live in a treehouse.
-Jason is a freakishly fast learner of Ring Toss (a bar game played in Dublin, OH)
- Gina and Sarah Beth both really really don't like it when drivers leave their blinkers on for too long after switching lanes. Really. They don't like it.
- If you start to describe a type of noise to Gina, she will without a doubt try to immitate it. It will without a doubt annoy you.... and sound nothing like the noise you are talking about. Then you will join in with the noise-making for the next two miles. Jason and Maddy shake their heads and turn the radio up.
- Jason likes to take the ladies' sunglasses without asking and wears them. He can pull off a variety of different looks. He has great bone structure.
- Maddy could live off of soda, nuts, and cheese.... silly vegetarian.
- Sarah Beth is awkwardly afraid of pool cleaners.
- Although hesitant at first, and altough he will deny it to your face, Jason really does enjoy chick music and will sing along and bob his head when he thinks no one is looking. "It's a love story.... baby just say yes."
We hope you now feel like you know us a little bit better now!
Peace, Love, and Long Live 90's Music
Blue Jay Road Crew for Life
"Tandy" the GPS lady is a compulsive liar...Columbus Event
Sunday, July 12th was an interesting day to say the least. We started off the day on a great foot by accompanying the Johnson family to their local Presbyterian church at the 9am service. Then, we began the 6 hour trip towards Columbus (Dublin), OH. We stopped and grabbed sandwiches at Jimmy John’s about halfway through and scarfed them down on the road. After about 4 ½ hours into the drive we started realizing that the GPS system (we named her “Tandy”) did not account for the time zone change in her estimated arrival time. So when the GPS said that we were supposed to arrive at 4:27… what Tandy was really saying was that we would be getting there at 5:27. For a 5:30 event. Yep.
At first, we were pretty freaked out thinking that we were going to be late to our own party! We didn’t quite think 3 minutes was enough time to set up the event, change, go over logistics with our lovely hosts, and take a breath before the guests would arrive, but we handled the crisis like some pros! We called and talked it over with our sponsors, Russ Hodge and Jeff Ledbetter, and by the time we pulled in their driveway, they were set up and ready to go. The Hodge and Ledbetter families even came into the driveway to meet us and greet us with hugs as we got out of the van! We knew right off the bat that we were going to love these people.
The rest of the alumni started showing up shortly after 5:30 and we immediately began to realize that this group would be much different than any city we had seen before. Thanks to the guests (you know who you are) we heard plenty of Westminster stories about how campus (mostly greek) life used to be. We even met the man who claims to have given Pat Kirby all of his white hair! All around, this Columbus group had fantastic energy, for everyone seemed to have a great time. The menu for this event included signature Columbus BBQ, along with all the fixin’s (which was absolutely wonderful). The evening was topped off with peach cobbler and an abundance of entertaining stories about the good ole days. GREAT time had by all.
Gina and I split off to the Daniel family’s home while Sarah Beth and Maddy crashed in the basement of the Hodge’s house. THANK YOU to both of the families for their incredible hospitality.
Blue Jay Love,
Jason and the Blue Jay Road Crew
Our big surprise at the ball game... Chicago Ball Game
So let’s talk about this big surprise mentioned in the previous blog…. My first baseball game ever was in Wrigley stadium in Chicago!!! And that’s not all…it was a Cubs cardinals game!!!
PS: WE ALL GOT TO GET ON THE FIELD BEFORE THE GAME!!!
Thanks to Randy Johnson we got to watch the game from awesome seats under the hood. Everyone around me was super excited for the Westminster crew to be at the game… and also excited for me as they helped me to understand the game. The crowd was just having a blast, drinking beer eating peanuts and just chit chatting away. The Westminster Chicago group definitely knows how to have a good time. The Cardinals fans were not too excited about the score board until on the fifth inning when the scoreboard flashed a sign that read “Welcome Westminster!” We’re so proud that our dear college is so popular. How amazing is that!!!
Overall, the game was a great cultural experience for me personally and just too much fun. My face is literally hurting by the end of the event because of my continuous grinning!!! …and Sarah Beth almost had a cardiac arrest due to excitement!!!
After the game we walked down the roads outside Wrigleyville enjoying the crazy crowd pouring out from the game and heading toward the endless bars around the stadium. The four of us took a stroll around the area taking pictures and people watching. Then we drove all the way down to Naperville to have deep dish Chicago pizza with Randy Johnson and his family in the beautiful downtown area. We now feel like real Chicagoans.
That wrapped up our visit to Chicago!
Three down…. Sixteen more cities and events to go!
I don’t think Blue Jay Across the USA could be any cooler.
Love from Maddy and the rest of the road crew
Third Time... no.... Third City is the Charm--- Chicago Part I
Let's face it...we're a pretty good-looking road crew. But when we woke up at 4:30 this morning to hit the road for Chicago, the picture of us on the van was looking much better than we were!
The five hour drive to Chicago went really well and surprisingly fast. Gina made it through the first leg of the journey at the wee hours of the morning without having to resort to the 5 Hour Energy drink she had in her purse. Jason and Sarah Beth grabbed one of the awesome give-a-way blankets from our stash of gifts in the back and cuddled together in the backseat. We're obviously bonding as a crew.
It's hard to even begin to explain how thrilled we were when we first saw the skyline of Chicago from our van window! We blared Rascal Flats' "Life is a Highway" song as we entered the city and agreed to make it our official road trip theme song. We're going to turn up the sound, roll the windows down, and rock out to that song every time we arrive in a new city.
Our lunch event at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro was a close gathering of 22 people. We are so glad that President and Jane Forsythe were among our lunch guests. President Forsythe gave a small talk after lunch to update everyone on the awesome things going on at Westminster right now. The crowd clearly loved what President F. had to say...they interrupted his talk three times with applause! No surprise....Westminster is just full of good news these days.
Random note...one of our favorite parts of the event...we hung out with three young children during lunch and surprised them with some Blue Jay Across the USA baseball hats. The kids loved wearing the hats and we fascinated by us taking pictures of them! The best part was definitely when we taught them to say "Go Blue Jays!" Their parents could not have been more proud. It was the perfect ending to our tasty lunch event.
To find out about our AMAZING afternoon in Chicago and our AWESOMELY HUGE surprise we received you will have to make sure to check out our next post!
Take care, and remember that the Blue Jay LOVES YOU!
... follow us with fun updates on facebook @ BlueJayRoadTrip
We're In A Van Down By the River
We left St. Louis in the glory of our awesome kickoff event and excited for our trip across the river to Quincy, IL.
The road crew made awesome time in the mini van and arrived at our location in plenty of time to set up for the event at Backwaters Nightclub. Unfortunately, when we tried to enter the club we were greeted by two locked doors. Then we realized that there was a sign next to the entranced that said that opening hours were 8 PM. And the problem....our event was scheduled to begin at 6 PM! We had a brief moment of panic thinking that we were going to have a crisis on our first day of flying solo on the road. But no worries, we ended up getting let in by a manager in plenty of time for the event. Crisis averted!
The Backwaters location was truly a blast for the road crew's second event of the trip. The trendy interior with dark stained wood, dance floor, dim lights, and live music was perfect for some mixing and mingling. Our guests enjoyed appetizers, beer, wine, and soft drinks for a few hours on the riverfront of Illinois and shared in some good Westminster memories.
One exciting part of the event was that we busted out a huge map of the USA and laid it out on some bar table with some markers for everyone to sign. Since the blue jay crew is heading all across the USA, we want people in every city we stop in to add their names to our map. At the end of the trip, we want our map to be filled in with about 500 names!
Although the event was scheduled to end at 8:30 PM... the party was definitely still raging when we left well after 9 with the Daniels family. Westminster folks sure know how to party! Some guests were saying that they hoped to make it all the way until 3 AM!
A big thanks to all who came out for our Quincy event. A special thanks to Bill, Chris, and Ruth Daniels for opening their homes and hosting us.
Quincy is done! Another one marked off the list! Two down. Seventeen to go!
Tons of Blue Jay love.... talk to you later!
Blue Jay Road Crew
.... and make sure to follow our fun updates on facebook @ BlueJayRoadTrip
Little Bit of Ritz... Little Bit of Service.... Great Day in St. Louis!
Even though Friday was our departure day for our next event in Quincy, IL, St. Louis wasn’t quite done with us yet!
Sarah Beth and I spent the night with long-time Westminster Trustee John McFarland. John laughed at us a bit as we sat in his kitchen inhaling cheeseburgers at 10:30 at night. We were too busy working the event that we forgot to eat the Pappy’s BBQ! But the cheeseburgers made a perfect complement to the charming conversation we had with John as he told us stories about the many memories he’s had with Westminster over the past several decades! Talk about a man who is dedicated to Westminster… he serves on the board, constantly opens his home to students, and sponsors the McFarland Family Scholarship. What a tremendous individual!
The next morning for Sarah Beth began bright and early as she went to work out with John at 5:30 am. I told the two of them that I would have loved working out with them….but I couldn’t as I did not pack tennis shoes. And I swear that’s the only reason I didn’t go with them. It was the tennis shoes that kept me away….not the whole 5:30 am alarm clock situation or anything like that…
Sarah Beth, John, and I met up with Jason, Maddy, and the Wilson family for breakfast at the Ritz! But don’t get the wrong idea….our trip isn’t all about pampering the road crew! Directly after that delicious and fancy breakfast the road crew headed to do some service at Sunshine Ministry. This remarkable organization serves the needy in the St. Louis area through men’s addiction and rehabilitation therapy, family food services, and youth ministries. The four of us spent an hour working on packing some food kits that would soon be distributed this weekend. We also got a tour of Sunshine Ministry’s amazing facility from the executive director of the organization, Jim Clarkson. One of the most amazing aspects of our time at Sunshine is that Jim is a proud Westminster alum! His work of leadership and service with Sunshine Ministry shows the type of amazing work that can be done when you have the Westminster values alive in your life. We are so thankful that we had the opportunity to meet Jim and work with him today at Sunshine!
From there we bid farewell to our first road trip city and headed out of St. Louis. We were lucky enough to stop at Sarah Beth’s house in O’Fallon for lunch! Check out the pictures from our home cooked meal thanks to her awesome parents and sister!
Next stop…. Quincy, Illinois!
Blue Jay Across the USA is totally unstoppable!
Blue Jay Love,
Gina and Sarah Beth
… keep up with us on facebook @ BlueJay RoadTrip
Finally On the Road!!!
What a way to kick things off! Prospective students, current students, and alumni from across the St. Louis area came together with the road crew and Westminster reps at the Magic Chef Mansion to celebrate the start of Blue Jay Across the USA! It was great to see over a 170 people at our kick off event! Thank you so much for everyone who came out and enjoyed the party! The Magic Chef Mansion was beautiful inside and out with a gorgeous back patio where we enjoyed BBQ and chatting with friends. Pappy’s Smoke House did an amazing job with the food and to top it all off the weather man definitely did a wonderful job with the skies. Or perhaps it was the presence of our lovely first lady Jane Forsythe and President Barney Forsythe that made the evening so remarkable. We’re so glad the two of them were able to make it out to the event!
And the water tower…. How about that climb!!! But the 200 steps up the tower were totally worth the work. Those who made the climb got a panoramic view of the beautiful sunset over the city of St. Louis. As the sun was setting , our guests left the event with their Blue Jay Across the USA tour t-shirts and smiles on their faces. What a night!
We were lucky enough to enjoy the incredible home of Scott and Karen Wilson for our overnight stay in St. Louis. It definitely felt like we were in MTV Cribs as they gave us a rockin’ tour of their home. The dip in their outdoor pool, dominos pizza, and Scott’s fascinating stories of how he made it through Westminster made for a truly memorable end to the evening. We definitely owe the Wilson’s a huge thank you for last night and everyone who came to our event.
Blue Jay event #1….. A TOTAL SUCCESS!
Stay tuned for more!
Blue Jay Love,
Maddy and Jason
….. be sure to also follow us on our facebook page @ BlueJay RoadTrip
Oh Wow...Thursday is tomorrow
All week we've been excited to begin our journey on Thursday... just this morning, Gina has reminded the group that Thursday is tomorrow. It's been a busy couple of days with training and getting details of the road trip ironed out, but we are all ready and EXCITED to get on the road.
Last night we had a fun dinner with Columbia area alumni at the Club at Old Hawthorne. It was great for the road crew to brush up on our meal etiquette and conversation skills just in case we had forgetten anything over the last 2 months of summer. Thank you to all of the alumni who joined us!
Our training is almost complete, and it's time to begin packing the Road Trip van. Check out our photo's from the training week and event at Old Hawthorne! :)
-Blue Jay Road Crew
Road Trip Van!
Everyone the road crew passes on their 4,000 mile adventure across America will know Westminster is coming when they see our awesome van wrap! We decorated the Alumni van to help announce the road crew's exciting arrival in every city and then did a photo shoot to showcase the van's new look. What a great home the van will be for three weeks on the road! Look for the eye-catching van as it drives through a city near you!
Now on Facebook
Check out all the Blue Jay Across the USA events on our new Facebook page - Bluejay Roadtrip! Be sure to add Bluejay Roadtrip as one of your friends!
Road Trip Prep
The Blue Jay Across the USA is our 19 city - 18 day summer road trip around the USA in July. We hope to engage alumni, friends, students, parents, families and supporters of Westminster is fun casual events. We will be taking photos and videos and posting to our website - be sure to follow the road crew on our adventure!
Fun After the Trip
ENd of the Road Trip Pizza/Cake Party!!
Jason with his cake
Road Trip/Birthday Cake
Jason's Birthday Surprise
Final picture with the van with our faces!!
Kansas City on July 26th
Our first picture as we were welcomed back to the green, rolling hills of Missouri!
We woke up early to spend time with our KC hosts, Linda and Steve Taylor, on their land
We woke up early to help do chores with the horses
Also helped with the chores with the chickens
Linda wanted a pic with us by the van
Making sure name tags are on straight! This was one of Gina's specialties!
The Revare Family with Mary Cross
Maddy with prospective Sarah Smith and her family
Some of the Westminster gang that joined us in KC--- Donald Wood and John Comerford
New Westminster 2009 Alumni--- Gina Campagna, Dustin Davis, and Annie Hubbel
A view of our party enjoying the lovely weather on the veranda of the clubhouse
The Jones Family
The last day for the raffel tickets! Those were some awesome prizes
Gina and Dustin both came from KC to the wonderful Westminster!
Kris with Brian York
Kris with the Revare Family
Some of Gina's family came to the event to support her!
Scott Boswell and son Senn picking up their t-shirts and door prizes on their way home. Senn loved the Blue Jay hat
The Lynch Family
Toasting to the wonderful Westminster
Mary Cross with Cleone and Sheldon Crossette
Linday Taylor and Sarah (Reid) Murray
Annie Hubbel and Nick Diefenbach
Family of recent grad Dustin Davis
Bob and Mandy (Hamlin) Featherston with son Brody
Brody.... future Westminster Blue Jay!
The road crew went to Gina's mom's house for dinner after the event. When they arrived, Susan had already changed into her Blue Jay t-shirt
Denver on July 24th
Jason and President Forsythe with Spencer and Jana Lomax
We hosted our dinner event in Denver at Snooze Diner
Cool snooze t-shirts
Jane with her good friends Kate Maley and Glenn Leshner
Jane and Kate
The Maleys and the Forsythes
Super trendy Snooze Diner
The Maley Family with Jason and Maddy
Gina and Sarah Beth were so happy to reuinte with Kris Lensmeyer in Denver after not seeing her for over a week!
President Forsythe with alum Kerry Kimble
Everybody heading toward the food!
Possibly the greatest pancakes you've ever tasted! Peanut butter, chocolate, and ooy-gooy deliciousness
More breakfast food to die for... a hashbrown caserole that was really popular
Kris with her food.... very excited about the food!
The Kimbles sitting down to eat with Sarah Beth
The Lomax family posing with Gina and Jason
Kris jumped in for the next pic with the Lomax family
Outside of Coors Stadium.... we were getting very exicted about the game
Finally inside the stadium!
The awesome Vaughn family joined us for their second day in a row on the Blue Jay Tour! Posing with the Forsythes
Brian Boatright and his son Ty posing with Maddy at the game
What an awesome stadium!
Ryan Hunter and Glenn with their ball park beer
Hot dogs for everyone!
Kris catching up and chatting with recent alumni
Jane and Kate at the game... Jane looking good in her Blue Jay Across the USA baseball hat!
Jason and Sarah Beth with Kris! It is a Westminster reunion everytime we get to meet up with her on the road!
Gina with President Forsythe... her favorite person in the world
President and Jane Forsythe with Pat and Kate Maley
Road crew taking a few minutes to kick back, relax, and enjoy the game
Ty was awesome at cheering for the Rockies! He just also happened to be a huge fan of the desserts as well
Westminster treated all our Blue Jay friends at the game to some delicious desserts
Can you tell that Jason and Sarah Beth were pretty excited about their ice cream?
Gina is a little June Cleaver sometimes. She was serving up the cupcakes while Jason and Sarah Beth enjoyed their ice cream.
Dessert for everyone!
It's amazing how ice cream makes people so happy.
Sarah Beth and Ty
The road crew loved meeting Ty! He was such a smart guy with so much energy. We think he liked the road crew a lot too!
The game would not be the same without some ball park hotdogs
Mixing it up... half and half.... Gina and Sarah Beth just couldn't agree on what to put on the hot dog
At this point in time, the road crew had been living together in a van and sharing things for about 16 days. Why not share a hot dog?
Maddy was so excited about all the goodies she got to take home with her from the ball game!
One of the best pics ever with Kris and the road crew. One happy family!
Before leaving Denver, we had to introduce Sarah Beth and Jason to sushi
It was really entertaining to see Maddy trying to teach Jason how to use chop sticks
Colorado Springs on July 23rd
Here was the perfect welcome for us when we arrived in lovely Colorado
Road crew in Colorado!
We pulled off the highway to take some pictures
The beautiful Colorado mountains welcomed the Blue Jay road crew
We knew when we saw these amazing sights that we were going to have a hard time leaving Colorado Springs
The road crew really did bring gorgeous weather with them everywhere we went
Sarah Beth loves seeing her sunflowers! Makes her think of her grandpa
We are such an amazing road crew, we even know how to take pictures of ourselves
This pic was a bit more difficult to take
And we clearly couldn't get it right the first time
... or the second time... but we love taking pictures together!
Promoting Blue Jay Across the USA everywhere we go!
We needed to change into our nice Westminster gear for the event at Cheyenne Mountain Country Club.... and we thought that Borders was the perfect place to do it!
Shoes and skirt in hand.... ready to get pretty for the country club event!
Blue Jay girls getting ready on the road
Maddy was doing her hair in the Borders bathroom
Our room where we hosted our dinner at Cheyenne Mountain Country Club
Sarah Beth folding shirts to give away to our guests
Gina's pearl necklace broke along the trip... so she replaced it by modeling the pearl necklace from the raffel prizes
Colorado Springs dinner guests
Sarah Beth sitting with the Kirk Johnson family and the Vaugn family at dinner
The Harwood family
The Vaughns and the Harwoods
While most of us left the table after dinner to take a brief tour of the club, some of the men stayed around to chit chat
And awesome poker themed room in the club
The poker room was decorated with sets of winning poker hands
Gina found a trophy.... thought she would claim it as a trophy for how awesome the road crew is
Jason found an exact replica of an old clock that he had in his own house
Kirk Johnson and Tiffany Stringfellow
Kent, Kirk, Kristen, and Tiffany.... what a great looking group!
Mrs. Vaughn is such a fan of the road crew that she asked us to sign her Blue Jay Across the USA t-shirt
The Vaughn Family
Jason laughing at Gina for saying something funny
The road crew at the country club
Road crew trying to pose like a family portrait
The sticky bee
The sticky bee
Picking Sarah Beth up in the morning from the Furrh home
The Furrh family's adorable dog... we met lots of pets along the road and we fell in love with all of them
A beautiful dog named Tasha that we met while walking down the street! I guess we just fell in love with everyone's pets on the trip
Life in the Van!
During the 6 hour drive to Little Rock. Could you expect anything else?
Awake in this shot... thank goodness
One of the many sleep positions available in the van
Trying to get some work done in the van.... easier said than done
Using mouthwash in the parking lot of venue before guests arrive. We always try to look...and smell... our very best even though we're traveling on the road each day!
Trying to keep the van as organized as possible. We assure you... it may look like chaos, but it's a very organized chaos!
Sarah Beth was either working or checking facebook during this pic... not sure which one
Did I mention that we also have to put on make-up in the van? Definitely easier said than done.
Sarah Beth looking fabulous in Gina's make-up...just trying to put it on straight while Jason drives
Amarillo on July 22nd
Welcome to Amarillo!
The lovely couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Brain that we had dinner with that night
Group shot after dinner. Always a photo opportunity with this bunch
Checking out the view from the Amarillo Club...way up on the 30th floor
On Jeff Brain's suggestion (and of course we had to follow his advice)... we went for a round of putt-putt after dinner
We are all pretty competitive... so the green was getting a bit crowded
Sarah Beth may have had to hit her ball out of a large puddle of water
Gina had to hit her ball out of the tall grass.... twice
Stiking a pose by the waterfall
Jason tallied all of the scores in the end: 1st place- Jason; 2nd place- Sarah Beth; 3rd place, Gina; and 4th place, Maddy!
OKC on July 21st
The Deep Deuce Grill provided an awesome spot for our OKC event in Bricktown
Westminster had a private area on the back patio of Deep Deuce
Jason and Sarah Beth with the Williams Family
Enjoying the tasty appetizers... thanks to alum Tyler Peyton!
Orthweins and the Farha Family
It was an awesome mix of current students, alumni, and prospectives mixing and mingling
Alyssa Slayton who hosted Gina at her home later that night
It's always awesome to see people getting to know each other and catching up during our Westminster events
Emily Blake with incoming students and families
Young alumni in the OKC area
Gina and Megan Slayton
Current student Gabbie Caddell filling out some raffle tickets!
Lindsey Manning visiting with the Cave family
Jason and current student Natalie Nekuian
Valerie Craig with one of the newest members of the Westminster family
New Westminster student and families
Current and incoming students getting to know each other
Jason with Robert Cave
Gabbie Caddell and her father Tony
Westminster guests spending time on the patio of Deep Deuce
Gina with Deep Deuce host Tyler Peyton and incoming & current students
Dick Marshall and Gina
The Marshall Family with Diane Slayton
Emily Blake with prospective student
Sarah Beth working very hard on taking videos for the event
Blue Jay fan club!
Maddy was so excited to meet Westminster legend Janice Matthews-Gordon... first female Westminster grad!
Incoming Blue Jays... they had great energy and were so excited to get to campus
Gabbie Caddell, her father Tony, and Janice Matthews-Gordon
Gina with current students, incoming students, and parents. Talk about a great mix of people!
Josh Harlow and Jason Warncke
Hi-fiving after doing an awesome video
The road crew poses with their host for the night Tyler Peyton
The next day before the road crew left town they went on a tour of Bricktown
Seeing all the cool sites
We'd heard a lot about Bricktown. We were excited to be there!
We loved the beautiful look of Bricktown right from the start
OKC had lots of interesting and historical places for us to enjoy
It didn't take too long for us to figure out that Mickey Mantle is a pretty big deal in the area
Gladys was a wonderful woman who helped us map out our site seeing tour of the OKC area
Big bronze statues... something OKC is famous for
By the time the last statue is addded, it will be the largest collection of statues like that in the world
We really enjoyed the stroll we took down by the canals
We took a trolley ride on the Oklahoma Spirit!
Gina really thought the trolley was adorable
Maddy on the trolley
Jason and Sarah Beth on the trolley drive
We found lots of fun stuff like this buffalo in the OKC area. We loved it!
One of the best parts of the day was getting to see the Oklahoma City national memorial
Outside of the OKC National memorial
The memorial on the outside
Learning more about the OKC bombing
We loved the wall that was decorated with children's handprints
The site of the bombing
This was the only tree that survived the event. It is now called the survivor tree
It was an absolutely beautiful memorial
A carving in a cement wall that we all really liked
After touring the memorial, I was feeling a little patriotic
Another awesome part of our stay in OKC was that the road crew got a chance to relax and swin at the home of Diane and Jim Slayton
Such good friends!
Diane made us the most delicious (and I mean... DELICIOUS) guacamole dip we'd ever had. What a perfect day.
It was so great to spend time with current Westminster student Megan Slayton
Our second host, the Orthwein family, had beautiful dogs. This one is Barney!
Sarah Beth loved Barney
Jason and Sarah Beth saying goodbye to current student Bailey Mills the morning we left to head to OKC
Ft. Worth on July 20th
The road crew having lunch with Dr. Audrey Remley
Jubillee Theatre from the outside entrance
With Audrey's help, we were able to do a service project at the Jubillee Theatre that day before our event
Inside the Jubillee Theatre
Inside the Jubillee Theatre
We received a great tour of the theatre before they put uf to work
We got to go on stage and everything.... but we wanted to change the sign to say "See the World with Blue Jay Across the USA"
Jason as an audience member at Jubillee
Sarah Beth and Maddy
Gina loves the theatre!
When we finally sat down to our work... we realized that we had quite a project in front of us!
Sarah Beth and Jason working hard for Jubillee
Maddy feeling just a little overwhelmed with all the work in front of us
Much better! This was the end result to one of our filing projects! We were happy to be able to help out
Taking a picture with the manager of Jubillee Theatre, Benjamin, in downtown Ft. Worth
Later that night at the event at Joe T. Garcia's. Audrey Remley with current student Bailey Mills and her mom Diane.
Two incoming students met at the dinner and became fast friends!
Sarah Beth and Jason talking with a parent of a current student
Bailey Mills and her mom Diane
Family of an incoming student
Saying goodbye to some guests is pretty entertaining!
The exterior of Joe T. Garcia's
One of the most beautiful venues we had been to. It was gorgeous!
The outdoor area can seat up to 1400 people! Crazy!
The entire venue property was decorated with beautiful fountains
We had a little bit too much fun in the fountain...
Dallas on July 19th
Totally awesome Plano Super Bowl in Dallas owned by Marshall Medlin... Westminster alum of course
Maddy with incoming students
Probably the best form of the day
Not the best form of the day
I think this one was a strike... or goal... or match... or whatever you call it
Alumni have pretty good bowling moves.... they all seemed to mention Westminster's bowling class.
When the pins are all up in a picture, that usually means that Gina just got done with her turn
Winston was only able to observe during this crazy bowling event
A random stranger at the event who really enjoyed hearing about Westminster and our fabulous road trip
Don't let this picture fool you.... this ball was so lightweight that it literally bounced at one point in time while rolling toward the pins
Gina with a new Westminster parent and wife of alumni member
Awesome alumni and family
Four gutter balls in a row for Gina eventually turned into a few spares. End of the story is that at least she didn't lose
Marshall was definitely the king of the bowling land
People really were focused on the bowling!
Alumni and future bluejay generations
Those who didn't bowl still had a lovely time hanging out!
Look what I scored!
For some reason that bluejay is just so photogenic
As the day wore on... the bowling started getting more and more creative
Sarah Beth being silly
Creative thinking and bowling at its finest
Everyone had to get their Blue Jay Across the USA shirts before they could leave
Tall alums, small alums.... all equally awesome!
So glad that some current Westminster students came out to the event
Road crew footwear. We've bonded so much that we all want to dress alike and wear the same shoes
KA boys! Travis, Marshall, and Jason
Plano Super Bowl!
Road crew really enjoyed Dallas and the bowling to say the least
Road crew had an absolutely fantastic dinner with David, Travis, and George at a mexican restaurant after the bolwing. It was so much fun!
Tulsa on July 18th
There's no way we could have gone to a mexican restaurant and not been silly in sombreros!
Jason posing with some Tulsa alumni
We even convinced some recent alumni to join the sombrero fun
New alumni, older alumni, and current students all together.... that's Blue Jay Across the USA!
After some guests left, the remaining few all together around the same table for some food, drinks, and lots of laughs
Jason is the only one who actually wore a sombrero for the duration of the event
We kept forgetting the we were wearing sombreros, so our heads kept hitting one another
Winston even joined in the fiesta theme
Winston just chillin on the map--- he sure has been all over the place in the last couple weeks
The awkward stuffed tiger on the wall looked so much better wearing a Blue Jay Across the USA t-shirt
We only had three sombreros for the four of us... so Sarah Beth had to resort to using a lamp shade
Winston enjoyed the fiesta indeed
Road crew members with Flint (Uncle Flint) after the event at the Embassy Suites. Thanks Flint!
Blue Jay Across the USA leads to such great friendships! Yay road crew!
Springfield Dinner on July 17th
Springfield Brewing Company was an awesome venue. Totally fun!
We always put our bluejays on the table so that people know Westminster is in the house
Jason with new alumni Michael White
Old Guard Alumni
Springfield alumni were super fun to hang out with at the Springfield Brewing Company
New alumni and current students all together
Gina and current student Josh Brown giving Winston the bluejay a big kiss!
We had over 25 people together for the evening sharing an awesome dinner
Westminster alumni are so good-looking!'
Maddy recording some videos of Westminster memories
Prospective student Emma and her brother
Gina and fellow alumni
NW Arkansas on July 17th
Pulled off the highway on the way to Fayetteville to take pictures of the overlook
We even look great in our shadows. We're a great looking road crew!
We like to get close for pictures.
Had to have several tries to get the picture just right
Like I said.... several tries.... I think we were all really tired
Let's face it.... we're just a silly bunch!
Fun jumping picture. We were just too exicted about the road trip that we couldn't stay still
Alumni at our lunch at Bordinos in Fayetteville
Alumni (sisters) with Maddy
Gina and Sarah Beth trying to look cool and classy in their polos
Jason with a new Bluejay! We love meeting new students along the road. Welcome to Westminster!
On our way out of Arkansas we stopped at a smootie store with the Wood family
They got us smooties on the house... with an extra shot of caffeine in them.... which was a great treat for the road crew
Little Rock on July 16th
At the Little Rock Hotel eating Subway before the event
John Comerford and Kris Lensmeyer joined us for Little Rock
Road Crew with the Sanders!!
We were so sad that it was raining
Current student Vicki Flynn
The ladies working the registration table... trying not to get wet
Our guests were getting really excited about the awesome door prizes
Vicky took a picture of Maddy flirting with the baseball man
Westminster on the party deck!
Had a great suite all to ourselves with the Westminster gang
The balcony of the party deck that overlooked the baseball field
Vicky Flynn and family
Jason.... trying to be a little too cool
Enjoying the event
Jason and alumni
The Old Guard!
Alumni and friends
A great mix of different alumni all together in one place
So glad Kris was able to come out and join us for the game!
Game was rained out...
The girls put John Comerford to work after the game!
Loading the van after the event
Does all this stuff fit in here??
Nashville on July 16th
Group picture!.... taken after a few had already left... sorry!
They had a sign waiting for us and everything
We're getting to be pros at putting up the registration table
A lovely table set up for our group of 15
Bluejay representing the Minster
Sarah Beth, Jason, and Alumni
Gina and Ashley Crow who helped with the event
Ashley and her fiance Garrett... they met on campus. Westminster love!
After the event on the town...
Louisville on July 14th
Our very first stop on our way to Louisville was at a Waffle House. Our waitress loved the van, so we got a picture with her next to ti!
Not a posed picture. Just a very sleepy Jason.
Showing off our van in the Wall Mart parking lot. Hot stuff.
Sarah Beth just being Sarah Beth
I swear we were focused most of time.... but we had to take a detour into the toy ailse
Gina couldn't decide between her two favorite outfits
Pretty much just a big kid at heart
There's a story behind this.... we've been trying to play the 20 Questions game in the van.... and it doesn't work correctly. Jason and Sarah Beth wanted to make mean faces at the 20 Questions game
Maddy and a babydoll... not sure why...
Was being creepy and wanted to take a picture of a Kentucky license plate. We were in Kentucky after all! Made sense to me.
When we got to Louisville our AWESOME and AMAZING host David Nicholson took us on tour around the city. Here wer are at the Louisville Slugger Stadium
Maddy and Gina trying to recreate the statue. Not very successful.
Very cool stadium
The Louisville area is decked out with horse statues throughout the city.... all painted differently and very eye catching
The girls boxing it out in front of the Ali Center
Were sad that we didn't have time to go into the Ali center, so we settled for a pic next to the sign
It's a tricky thing to do to snap the pic of them before the car passes too fast
Louisville area has amazing architecture
Louisville Slugger Factory!
One big big
One really really really REALLY big bat
Not sure if Maddy knew that the bat was molded into the ground
Probably the coolest... or more awkward... of all the painted horses we saw
It was such a beautiful town with lots of fountains
Obnoxious pink house. Couldn't resist taking a picture
The famous towers at Churchill Downs
Lexington Dinner and Special Fun in City July 13th
Welcome to Kentucky!!
This is where we had the event - great food!
Information on our Restaurant
Group shot at Lexington dinner
Hot Brown at Ramseys
Road crew with statue of legendary Kentucky horses
Day after our dinner event when we went to tour the Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky horse farm where our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Barnes keep their horses
Sarah Beth with racehorse
Maddy with racehorse
Gina with racehorse
Jason with racehorse
The grounds of the horse farm were incredibly gorgeous. Gina and Maddy kept talking about how they could see themselves having weedings there one day
Sarah Beth is kind of obsessed with horses
We got suprer close to the little ones! They were less than one year old
Gina got brave and tried to pet one
The stables were fancier than some of our houses
We went to meet Mrs. and Mrs. Barnes' horses. She brought carrots so we had fun feeding the horses
Mr. and Mrs. Barnes and one of their horses
I won't lie to you.... this picture was totally posed. We were trying to be artistic
I think we could have stayed there all day... we really enjoyed being with the horses
Is this not a perfect picture?
Hundreds of trophies on display from famous horse races
Sarah Beth chillin in the van after our trip to the horse farm
We were so happy to be at a lovely home of one of our alums... we wanted to take pictures of absolutely everything
Sarah Beth and Gina have high energy.... but can crash totally unexpectedly
Sarah Beth likes to flirt
Someone did tell Gina that she would meet her soulmate during the Blue Jay trip. I think she found him.
Watching a scary movie.... well... pretending to watch a scary movie
So much work to do!!! Sleepy time
Cincinnati Event on July 13th
The famous Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse
Great place to eat
More awards for the Montgomery Inn
Lunch group in Cincinnati
Montgomergy Inn at Boathouse is literally world famous for their ribs. No way Jason was going to pass those up.
Yes, the bib is totally necessary. Those ribs are intense.
Maddy with alum Bill Hartford
Sitting at the table after lunch... too full to move....
Their desert special... strawberry shortcake. Gina was completely enthralled.
The exterior shot of the restaurant
Celebration in Cincinnati!!
Lovely view of the Ohio River from our window seat
I guess this is maybe what the BBQ looks like... before we decided to eat it.... except for Maddy the vegetarian of course
Alum Bill Hartford brought his 1961 yearbook for us to see!
We had fun looking through this during lunch
Columbus Event on July 12th
The beautiful home of the hosts Russ and Jackie Hodge
Waiting for us..
Alumna Kim Daniel and her son
Gina gets easily distracted by the cute kids!
And the kids get easily distracted by the cute dog!
Road Crew and alumni
Oh.... the BBQ dinner was SO YUMMY!
Excited about Westminster...yes.... but pretty darn excited about the food too!
Eating outside in the lovely weather
Awesome party coolers as thank you gifts to our fabulous hosts!
A Westminster family
Door prizes! Those blankets are too popular.
I'm pretty sure the wives were making fun of the old time stories their husbands were telling.
Taking pictures with the guests before we said our goodbyes.... I think we stood around and talking for about another 1/2 hour. We just didn't want to leave.
The co-host family the Ledbetters.... they were too much fun!
And this is why we LOVED the Columbus group so much... they got in our van. They make a pretty decent Westminster road crew!
Blue Jay chillin on the top of the Hodge mailbox
Chicago Cubs/Cards Game on July 11th
Our first pic at Wrigley Field!
Live Music at Wrigleyville
Here is the stadium!!! We waited all day to see this!
Holy cow.... we got to go on the field!
What you are seeing is real life.... we are hanging out in the Cubs dugout!
No offense Cubs.... but we LOVED seeing the Cards team!
Baseballs made their butts look funny.
I don't think this picture even accurately describes how excited we were to be on the field!
President Forsythe and Jane got to join us on the field!
This picture was supposed to be of the ladies... but instead Jason stuck around.
Random stadium worker who saw our nametags and polos and asked about the project. She was totally into it!
Gorgeous blue sky.... gorgeous day.... AT THE CARDS/CUBS Game!
The stadium was full of 44,210 crazy fans!
The crowd was a sea of red and blue.
President Forsythe with Westminster alumni!
Maddy's helpers during the game.... they taught her all she needed to know about baseball
Road crew members enjoying the game.... one big happy family.
The road crew.... we totally bonded during the game!
Players on the field
So many fans! Westminster fans were the best.
A new bluejay fan! The future of Westminster!
Alumni (left) and students (right) enjoying the game together.
David Jackson and Claire.... Westminster's fine students. They came all the way to Chicago from St. Louis just for the game.
Sarah Beth and student Jessie Johnson
After the game standing outside the stadium... still totally pumped about the game!
Walking down the street in Wrigleyville after the game... pure madness!
Bars all over the place!
Sarah Beth beat up a Cubs fan.... and he was a mere 6'9". No big deal.
Sarah Beth Made a Friend
View of the Chicago skyline as we were leaving the city and heading to Naperville.
Inside the Naperville restaurant where we ate deep dish Chicago pizza. Delicious! Thanks for the awesome dinner Johnson family.
Chicago Lunch- July 11
We hosted the lunch event at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro
The restaurant was beautifully set up when we arrived
Current student Jessie Johnson playing with future blue jays
Making new friends at the event
Time for the food! Always an exciting part
We were so happy to have President and Jane Forsythe join us for our Chicago event
Alumni Sorin and Randy
Two generations of Westminster--- Randy and Jessie Johnson
We had a great assortment of Irish themed foods for the lunch buffet
The Horten Family with their two little blue jays
Sitting down to enjoy the food and fellowship with Westminster friends
Gina teaching the children how to say "go bluejays!"
President Forsythe giving a talk during the lunch event
The Forsythes posing with Stephanie Horten
Quincy- July 10
Hanging out on the balcony at Backwaters Nightclub
High Five for Winning a Door Prize!
Totally excited about the Blue Jay Across the USA hat!
Alumni and dad of new student
Perspective student and family
New Westminster families
Amy Marek and Pasha, a prospective student
Alumni bonding with new students and new families! Westminster bringing people together
Our fantastic musical entertainment for the evening
Sarah Beth and Gina showing their dance moves
Bill and Chris Daniels
Alumni and Parents of Westminster
Gina and Amy getting to know a new Westminster parent
Stephanie won a door prize that matched her shirt and her purse!
Westminster Trustees Bill Daniels and Hal Oakley
Blue Jay Across the USA Map!
Adding signitures to the map
We want to fill that map with names by the end of the trip!
Chit Chatting at the bar
Sarah Beth and the boys
Speech time! Gina thanking everyone for coming out to the event
What Westminster diversity looks like today
New friends with prospectives
Alumni Lauren with current student Maddy
Thumbs up for free Blue Jay t-shirts.... and one heck of a fun night
St. Louis- July 9
Beautiful Mansion in St. Louis
Magic Chef Mansion Event Venue!
Raffle Prizes Table
Give-a-ways and prizes
Some of our "cool" Westminster stuff!!
Blue Jay Raffle Items
Money goes to the Road Trip and the Westminster Alumni Association! Tickets are $5 for one or 5 for $20. Call 573-592-5319 if you want to support us!!
The bluejay is a good looking bird
Blue Jay Van and Mansion
Taking videos during event
President and Jane Forsythe at Event!
Gina giving a door prize! He was very excited too.
Road Crew and Westminster Student Ambassadors that made the event possible
Sunshine Ministry in St. Louis--- Service Event
An awesome sign that welcomed Westminster
Canned food we were working with
Lots and lots of bags of food to pack
Hard at work!
Okay... we played around a little bit also!
Total teamwork here in action
Road crew with Brian who helps with feeding St. Louis' needy and hungary
Men's Rehabilitation Center of Sunshin Ministry
A store where women and families in need can shop
Jim Clarkson, Executive Director of Sunshine Ministries played baseball at Westminster!
Road Crew with Jim outside of the amazing Sunshine ministry facility
Game room for youth programs
Jason with the kiddos
Gina made a new friend!
The little ladies loved Maddy!
Trendy and cool hang out for teens at Sunshine Ministry
As always.... we found a way to be silly and have fun!
Maddy and her vegetarian lasagna at Sarah Beth's House
Sarah Beth's family wore their Blue Jay Across the USA shirts when we stopped by for lunch
Road crew (and a dog!) outside Sarah Beth's House
our final lunch with alumni office before our big departure
working on the website
pretty excited about how awesome the website is
can you tell that this is before we organized and packed
still haven't packed quite yet...
sarah beth's laundry drying
can you tell we are excited about the t-shirts?
it's a total group effort
KOMU news was awesome enough to come to campus to interview us about the big trip!
Jason representing the Blue Jay trip
Maddy looking lovely on film
Interview in front of the van
Awesome graphic designer Dale
Katie from KOMU taking a look at our awesome van
group shot with KOMU and Katie
taking a break from packing to be silly
Blue Jay decorations
carried all the stuff outside...
getting our stuff in the van
all packed up!
pretty crowded van huh?
our first trip to go get gas
good looking van
Road Crew Unites!
Road Crew with Bob
Here we are with Dr. Bob Hansen during our day of training! He helped us get ready and prepared for spending 18 days together out on the road bluejaying across the USA!
Maddy and Sarah Beth!
In the Van
In the trunk of the van
We are too silly....
Good looking lady road crew girls!
We look pretty intense!
We loook good - real good!
Here is Maddy during her first experience driving the van!
Ummm.... Maddy couldn't quite figure out why the windshield wipers wouldn't turn off. Gina had to come to the rescue.
Representing Westminster.... even on the umbrella!
Sarah Beth's first time to get behind the wheel!
We all agreed that Jason looked like a soccer (or basketball) dad when he got behind the wheel of our awesome mini-van!
Does anything look familiar in this photo?
President Forsythe stopped by our photo shoot with the van to take a pic with us and wish us luck on our big trip. We are lucky enough to have him join us for our St. Louis, Chicago, and Denver events!
Gina had to get everyone's attention during the dinner event in Columbia. She got to clink a wine glass for the first time in her life!
Here is the entire good-looking group from our dinner in Columbia on Tuesday night.
(from left to right):
Jim Meunch, Jackie Neylon, Jason Gatz, Kate Quinn, Rob Quinn, Dan Gomez-Palacio, Lana Zerrer, Jason Zerrer, and Donald Wood.
Road Trip Van
Ready to go...
Road Trip Van
Can't wait to drive this around the nation!
Van is ready for the trip..
So proud of how good the van looks..
Check out the tour dates...
Even has the road trip schedule!
Road Trip Van
The Road Crew looks great on the side of the van!
Ready for the trip!
East access to the tour dates...
Watch for us in your city!
Tulsa Summer BBQ
Mandela Byam and Family
Peter and Rosalie Childs and Janet and Bailey Word
Ginger Veitch and Ben (Brisket Master!)
Peter Childs '59 and Gina
Soon to be Westminster Students!!
Pat Coulter and Gina
Drew Veitch, Ashlley Smithee, Carol Keeter Meyers, Scott Meyers, David Veitch
Having a great time - Drew Veitch, Ashlley Smithee, Carol Keeter Meyers, Scott Meyers, David Veitch and Ginger Veitch
The 2009 Blue Jay Across the USA Road Crew
Jason and the GirlsI love Westminster because it has a small school setting with a big school reputation. The attention received from the professors Westminster is truly unique, yet employers and graduate schools from across the country know what it means to receive a degree from Westminster. The recent Forbes magazine rankings vaulted Westminster into the spotlight which is so deserves. I can honestly say choosing Westminster was one of the best decisions of my life, as I am confident that I am not only leaving well-prepared, but leaving as a better person as well.
GinaI'm excited about this unique road trip experience because of the way it is going to bring students, alumni, and families together from all over the nation. This trip is going to have such a fun and far-reaching impact that once we're done Bluejay-ing Across the USA.... the whole nation will love Westminster College!
Sarah BethOne reason I love Westminster is because of the tradition of excellence on campus. Westminster encourages students and faculty to acheive excellence, not only in the classroom but also in other areas of service and involvement. This challenge has helped me grow academically and personally. Another reason I love Westminster is because it has a distinct community feel. The small classroom sizes make the gap between students and faculty virtually nonexistant. The relationship that exists between students, professors, and other Westminster faculty facilitates a comfortable and healthy learning environment.
The Road Crew
Maddy, Gina, Jason and Sarah Beth on their 18 day - 19 city summer road trip across the USA!!!
Road Trip Logo
Our Blue Jay Across the USA 2009 Logo!