First Name: Jenna
Troop #: 163
Grade Level: Girl Scout Cadette (Gr 6-8)
Title: Cape Cod Adventure
My troop has been earning money for a big trip since we were Girl Scout Juniors. This summer we went on a Girl Scout Destinations Getaway trip called the "Cape Cod Makin' Waves Safari". We went to Cape Cod for four days and stayed in a hostel, went kayaking, and had a surfing lesson. We also went to a drive-in movie! We had a great time and earned all the money ourselves so it didn't cost our parents anything!
First Name: Anya
Troop #: 775
Grade Level: Girl Scout Senior (Gr 9-10)
Title: Girl Scout Destination: Costa Rica Service Challenge
This summer I went on a Girl Scout destination to Costa Rica! The trip was called the Girl Scout Service Challenge and we partnered with an organization called Costa Rican Rainforest Outward Bound School (CRROBS). There were 12 girls on our trip and 5 instructors. The trip lasted 16 days.
For the first four nights, we camped out in tents on the beach at Avellanas, which is on the Pacific coast of the country. Our days there were beautiful. In the mornings, we would prepare our own breakfast, which usually consisted of fresh fruit and yogurt. Then we would go surfing all morning until lunch. Our instructors patiently taught us how to stand on the board, how to catch waves, and what to do when you fall. They also taught us about the ocean tides, riptides, off-shore winds and much more. In the afternoons, we would work in the local school, helping sand down the walls. The school was one just room on a dirt road. Kids there only get to go to school for about two hours a day because they need to rotate between all the ages. One day, we were able to set up a soccer game against a local women’s team. It was amazing to be able to play an internationally known sport and communicate with the local Costa Ricans, or ticos in Spanish.
After our stay at the beach, our group went back to the CRROBS base camp, outside of a city called Tres Rios, or Three Rivers. While at base, we enjoyed the luxury of bunk beds, flushing toilets, and even cold showers. During our stay at base, we took various day trips, to places like the Basilica, a volcano, an old hospital from when the yellow fever was prevalent in Costa Rica, a Costa Rican Girl Scout camp, and white water rafting.
The last leg of our 16-day trip was our home stay in Sodi, Talamanca, Costa Rica. Talamanca is a reserve for the indigenous people of Costa Rica. To get to the village, we traveled in a van with 12 girls, 3 instructors, our diver, Danny, and all of our gear, clothes, food, and working tools. It was about a nine-hour drive. At one point in our drive, we needed to cross a deep stream. At first, our driver thought we could drive straight through it. This proved a mistake when we got stuck about halfway. It took all of us girls and instructors pushing the front of the van to get us out! After our drive, we had to put all of our belongings onto long, thin, wooden boats to get them across a river. After our boat ride, we waited for the public bus and then hiked a few miles uphill and got a ride in the back of a pickup truck. We had finally made it to Sodi, Talamanca!
Our three-night stay in Sodi was my personal favorite. We stayed in an open two-story hut that the local men had made for us. We bathed and swam in their stunningly beautiful river. We worked to create the village a garden during the day and played with the kids during any free time we had. We managed to communicate with them by speaking Spanish and helping to teach some of them English. They loved to ask us about ourselves, play soccer with us, give us funny Spanish nicknames, take pictures with our cameras, which they had never seen before, and even work in the garden with us. The kids there taught me more than I ever thought they could. I learned conversational Spanish and some of their own village language called Bri-Bri from them. I learned to appreciate nature even more and how to live off the land as they did. They never take for granted their opportunity to an education, even if it is for just a few hours a day. I felt that I could have stayed in Sodi for so much longer, and leaving the kids was heart-breaking.
Overall, my trip to Costa Rica was educational, humbling, inspirational, and most definitely the trip of a lifetime. I made true friendships that I hope will continue with girls from around the nation and globe. I would certainly encourage other girls to look into this trip and other service trips available through Girl Scouts.