Online friendship goes live with SoCal visit

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In the old days, youthful friendships often developed when a new neighbor moved in or classes began in the fall. But these aren’t the old days. Canyon Laker Aydan Wagstaff, 14, and her mom, Tracie, recently welcomed to Canyon Lake a friend that Aydan made in an Instagram fan group three years ago. in that fan group (for a musician), the two girls started “talking,” hit it off and became “pen pals.”

Along the way, the girls’ moms also became friends. That’s how it came about that the Wagstaffs hosted Aydan’s friend Morgan Dotson, along with her mom Jennifer and brother Isaac, for a vacation in Canyon Lake and beyond. Morgan, Isaac and Jennifer are from Mississippi and this was their first time in California. They were here from July 13 to 18.

During that time, a family friend took everyone out on the lake twice to go wakeboarding. It was Morgan’s first time to wakeboard, and Isaac had an interesting experience when paramotor pilot Paola Frezza kept him company while he was wakeboarding. The kids also enjoyed lounging on a water pad and stand-up paddle boarding.

Places they visited outside of Canyon Lake included the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Sign, Beverly Hills Sign, Rodeo Dr. and the Santa Monica Pier. Aydan and Morgan went to Castle Park while Isaac, Tracie and Jennifer went to Idyllwild. Everyone also visited San Clemente, Dana Point and Huntington Beach.

Of the girls’ friendship, Tracie says, “They truly have a bond and talk almost daily – whether it be through texting, FaceTiming, Snapchat or whatever. As moms, we also became friends. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that not everyone gets to do, and will be a story to tell when everyone is older and has their own kids. The girls have a lot in common and the chemistry has been great.”

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Sharon Rice