On our Nation’s birthday, July 4th, five of us traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My Mom and one Advisory Board member, Connie Tharin, took me and two other girls, Michaella and Ariana on this trip.

Michaella had never been out of state or on a plane before so just arriving at the airport and going through the TSA screening was an adventure for her! Despite her nervousness to fly, she did very well. After a quick flight change in Las Vegas, we boarded our flight to the east coast. We saw fireworks from the sky on the 4th as we flew in to Philadelphia and got settled into our hotel just after midnight.

Tuesday was a full day of sightseeing in Philly! We took a double decker bus tour to see many of the sights and had a tour of Independence Hall and got to see the Liberty Bell as well as Betsy Ross’s house. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was pointed out to us while we were on the double decker bus so we hopped off to check it out. We arrived too late for one of their formal tours. When my mom explained that we were Rainbow Girls from California one of their Masons, a Mr. John Minnot, gave us a personal tour at no cost! All of us agreed that this was the first lodge building we have ever visited that was nicer than ours. We saw three of their seven lodge rooms and they were specially themed and gorgeous! We also went to their library and museum where they have George Washington’s masonic apron!

Wednesday found us traveling north to Altoona, PA for the “Shine Your Light” Grand Assembly Sessions where I got to speak on behalf of California Rainbow. We were only able to attend a couple of their sessions because we had to move on to Ohio for their Grand Assembly.

While traveling to Ohio on Thursday, we made a pit stop at the Chocolate Factory and Museum in Hershey, PA and that was a total surprise and lots of fun. About 30 minutes before we arrived at Kenyon College in Ohio we realized we were in an Amish community because we were passing real horses and buggies on the road! It was so exciting! We stayed in dorm rooms at the college for Ohio’s Grand Assembly and were able to attend all of their sessions from Thursday night through Sunday where I was also honored to speak to represent California Rainbow.

This trip was definitely one we will never forget. We made so many friends in both of these grand jurisdictions and we are hopeful that some of them will come out to visit us for our Grand Sessions next April in Fresno.

I would like to thank all of you for making this trip possible for us. Without your very generous donation this trip simply wouldn’t have been possible and I am very grateful. I look forward to seeing all of you at a Masonic Dinner in the future where I can tell you more details and show you some of our pictures! Thanks again!