Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
Cell Phone Policy: The GLA cell phone policy is currently in place this summer to help foster meaningful connections between students. This means your student’s phone will be collected every day and returned to them after activities are completed to have with them through the night. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location and time zones. During designated ‘tech time’, your student may use their phones as they wish. Please note that your student may not always choose to use this time to get a hold of their parents. If you are not hearing directly from your student each day, you can assume that no news is good news! We strongly recommend you follow the blog to follow your students’ experience without talking to them every day. If you are a parent and would like to get in touch with your student directly, you can call us at +1-619-758-3031 and we can set up a formal time for you to connect with your student.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
An exciting and compassionate summer for our leaders has begun.
We are finally all together 😁!
Our home base is a paradisiacal and vegan hotel and restaurant named Lands in Love 💕.
After a long day of traveling and a well deserved rest all students arrived safely at their Home Base in San Ramón, Alajuela province. Weather has been hot, humid, and beautiful. After long flights they got the chance to recover and have all the energy for the upcoming activities, on the first day we went around on a tour of the home base and got to know the place. Everyone is with an amazing attitude and putting their hearts to the experience.
We are so excited because we will be hands on with local service activities and in care of noble companion animals.
So far we’ve gone through some curriculum activities, getting to know each other ice-breakers and our first guest speaker about Costa rica history!
Today was a good day and the weather was on our side so we had the opportunity to take the swim test, everyone passed! So pool during free time is a great choice to relax and start getting in the experience. Getting to know the home base is needed, so we did a tour and got to know where services will be and some places that are important to keep in mind to meet with the group before and after activities.
Parents, families, and friends please follow us on this blog as we feature the daily adventures of this amazing group of leaders.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
For our first official orientation day we started the morning off by eating breakfast. We had some delicious pancakes, potato scramble, and some fruit.
Afterwards, we made our way to the pool for a swim test and a health check. We had a bit of free time to hang out by the pool before heading to lunch. We then began orientation with team bonding activities and going over the code of conduct, followed along with skits. Later, we were given a tour of the property to see where we would be engaging in service. We passed by the dogs, horses, ducks and chickens. During our time exploring the property, we went to the field and participated in more group activities that included trust building games. We then made our way back to the conference room for some group singing and dancing led by Adrián. We had a hearty dinner to fuel ourselves after a busy day exploring and then had the opportunity to hear from a guest speaker on Costa Rican culture. We learned about climate, food, currency, and biodiversity. We were even able to try a local fruit called mamonchino which is very similar to lychee. We ended our day off by returning to our rooms to rest up in preparation for an exciting day tomorrow!
BLOG POSTS FOR JULY 21 & 22
We started out our day waking up early and headed to our breakfast buffet. After eating and talking with our new friends we headed to the bus for an around 2.5 hour ride, cellphone free. We were on our way to an animal rehabilitation center/zoo where we got to see many different native Costa Rican species. These included sloths, toucans, tapirs, and many iguanas hanging around. While touring the center, we stopped for ice cream, and shortly after ate for lunch. After lunch we headed back to home base and stopped at a local gas station on the way. We all got out and bought Costa Rican snacks. When we completed our journey home, we had a yoga/dance session with our mentor Adrian.
After some free time, we had dinner where we connected more with our new friends. Shortly following we had a dance instructor come teach us how to Salsa and Bachata. We ended the night with some free time hanging out with friends, sitting by the pool, before hitting the hay for a busy, early day tomorrow!
Hey Everybody! Today was a great day at Lands in Love! Today was our first service day, we broke into three groups: dogs, trails and horses.
The dog group started our day by waking up at 6:45 and doing the first shift of dog walking. We got the dogs from their cages and walked them up the road to a field, so they could run around. We then had breakfast and did another shift of dog walking! The horses group cleaned the stables, brushed the horses, and fed them. The trails people raked leaves, picked up branches, and cleared the trail. We then all met up for lunch where we had a selection of delicious food. After lunch, we went on a group hike where we learned about different plants and trees that grow here. We also got to walk through a tree on the way which was pretty cool!
After our hike we had an hour of free time. Some of us decided to go swimming to cool off after our hike. It started raining but we made the best of it and had a great time! Once we all came back together we did an activity with two of our mentors. We talked about different issues our generation faces and ways to try to help with those problems. Right after we had a guest speaker who was a head worker of the Lands in Love hotel and rehabilitation and rescue center. He talked about where he came from and his reasons for working at this place and why his work is important and valuable to him. After that we had dinner and ate more tasty food. We ended the day with our new mentor groups and talked about our experience so far!
Today was a great day and we can’t wait for more days like these!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23-26
Hi family!! It’s Riley and Elizabeth here! Today was one of the more exciting days that we all had been looking forward to. We started off by having breakfast which was a buffet that consisted of vegan pancakes,eggs, and fruit. Almost immediately after breakfast, everyone loaded onto the GLA bus and van, and we were off to the zip lining place around 8:30. On the way there the students in the bus were all sleeping, but the students in the van were having a blast singing karaoke. Instead of going the normal way out of the mountains, we had to take a different way to go to the town that had the zip lining and hot springs. That meant it was all new scenery!! Both places we went were right by one of Costa Rica’s non active volcanoes.
After the hour and a half bus ride we finally arrived at the zip lining place. We all had mixed emotions about riding down the cable; some students being super excited, while some were quite nervous. The zip lining course consisted of 6 lines followed by an optional 70 foot drop into a river (think of rock climbing and how you have to slowly push off the cliff with your feet while repelling down). This was then followed by a short speech about an indigenous tribe that lives down here in Costa Rica. To get back up the mountain we had to take a tractor ride, which was super fun. Our ride consisted of talking to all the guys who worked there (they were all hilarious and knew how to crack a joke at the right time), singing happy birthday to me (Riley) in Spanish, and attempting to cuddle with the dog which was on the tractor as well.
After getting back to our buses we had a 10 minute drive down to where the hot springs were. Upon arrival we realized that the line was super long to check in, so some people went into the gift shop that was there or sat on a bench. The place we went was a hotel which had 8 different hot springs, all with different temperatures of water. However, most of us stayed in the pool area and went down the slides with our leaders! We were at the hot springs for about 2 and a half hours, and soaked up every single second of it. We then left the place around 3:45 and stopped at a tourist shop near by and got some souvenirs for us and our families. On the hour and a half ride back the students in the bus played cards or slept and the students in van continued their karaoke and mini dance party. We made a quick put stop at a fruit store to buy some delicious local fruits, including Star fruit, lychees, and coconuts!
After a long and thrilling day we were finally back at Lands in Love. We had dinner, which had options including pasta, Israeli dish, Chinese rice, and a few other things. The leaders then gave us a small talk but this was followed by a little birthday celebration for me (Riley) where everyone sang happy birthday and enjoyed some cake! At the end of this day, everyone was exhausted and went to their rooms to sleep!
Hi everyone! Today we had our second service day here at Lands in Love. These groups consisted of dogs, horses, and trails. After a morning well spent picking up walking paths of the visitors, our group showered the mud off from an uphill hike and headed to lunch. Following a delicious lunch, people started to file into the buses that were going to take us on a fun activity… cooking class! Upon arrival, we saw kids and dogs on a soccer field, and a small kitchen run by two Costa Rican women. This trip was especially important because we got to experience their way of life (language and activities that bring them together). During class, we made empanadas and tamales which were so good and definitely something I will be bringing back home to share with my family. After cooking, we were greeted from happy dogs and boarded our buses to drive back to home base.
Once we returned, we had a short period of time for tech time to reconnect with family and friends, that recharged the group. Following this, we ate a yummy dinner, and as leaders, we passed out food made sure everyone was taken care of. Definitely one of the calmer days, but was much-needed after a thrilling day of zip lining. Finally, we met back in our rooms, showered and got a good night rest before our last day of service.
Good Morning friends and families! We began yet another adventurous day by splitting into three service groups which included dogs, trails and horses. The dog walkers woke up bright and early and headed down to the nearby trail to let the dogs run around. Those on trails and horses slept in a bit later before eating a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, chocolate chip pancakes and a steaming bowl of oatmeal. They then headed to their areas to start volunteer work. People working with horses cleaned the stalls as well as the horses, and trails people began their hike to a beautiful waterfall and river where along the way they cleaned the path and sang songs.
After a hard working morning everyone gathered for a lunch consisting of a variety of options. We were then later given free time where many swam, caught up on some much needed rest, and sat in the lobby to play games. Before heading to dinner we all gathered for our third dance lesson with the one and only Adrian. We learned a mixture of African and Costa-Rican dance rhythms. After completing our dance lessons, Lena led a round of meditation which relaxed the body before dinner. Next thing we knew it was time to eat. For our final dinner at Lands and Love we had a variety of options. Dinner ended early leaving room to hang around the pool and catch up with friends. After hanging out for a while we gathered with our mentor groups to discuss the first half of our trip before heading to the next location. We ended the day by heading up to our rooms to pack our bags and say our final goodbyes to the staff at Lands and Love.
DAY 8 BABY! We had a slow start to the morning trouble shooting some issues within our group and eating a yummy French toast with pineapple, bananas and nuts as our final breakfast in lands in love! To bring the group together after a rough morning we danced and sang. Then we had a quick lunch of burritos and fries before heading on to the road to get to our next home base. We had a long 5 hour bus drive looking over a huge lake, beautiful sunsets, and luscious forests. Our new home base is in the town of Liberia. For dinner we had our first real meat dinner consisting of breaded fish, rice, beans and side dishes. After dinner we got settled into our new air conditioned rooms (yay!!!) and did some group activities outside! Then we started to get to bed for a nice long sleep before tomorrow’s adventures!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Today was our first full day at Marceva. We ate a breakfast of eggs, beans, and rice. After yet another of our many bus rides we arrived in another neighborhood in the Guanacaste region and went house to house in another surveying people about how they treat their pets. We asked questions like how often and what do you feed your pets, and are they vaccinated, then we gave recommendations for what they should be doing differently. We saw many cats and dogs, and even some chickens, pigs, and a bunny. Next we set up the clinic we would be using for rest of the week. We came back for lunch before heading into Liberia. There we got some ice cream and did a bunch of shopping. We also so many locals celebrating the annexation of Guanacaste. After that, we finished the day with chicken nuggets and fries back at the hotel and some games of spoons.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28 & JULY 29
Hello GLA families!
This morning we had an early wake up call of 7 am where we all enjoyed a delicious breakfast consisting of eggs, rice and beans, fruit, and cereal. Half an hour later, and we were off in our medical scrubs to spend our first day at the Vida clinics. We spent about four hours there, where we assisted Dr. Amelia and Dr. Corey in their tireless efforts to improve the safety and well-being of local brought dogs and cats. We were able to work on a total of 8 animals – 6 cats and 2 dogs, when we learned how to conduct physical tests, monitor their heart rates and respiratory breaths, prepared the animals for surgery, as well as spending time with them in the recovery station.
It was an emotional morning, as some of the cats we treated had rare cases of deformities before going into surgery to be neutered, such as being pregnant and needing a tail to be amputated due to a scuffle with a bigger animal. Even though everyone in the clinic was sweating profusely in their scrubs, the heat couldn’t stop the love and care that we all shared for these animals, as we worked to safely neuter them and ensure their safety post-surgery.
Once we were done assisting the Vida clinic’s staff in their work, we piled into the busses and headed straight to a waterfall. We enjoyed a lunch consisting of rice and chicken and veggie pasta on the road, in the comfort of the AC from the vehicles. Once we reached our destination, we quickly changed out of our scrubs and into our bathing suits, heading down to the refreshing water at the base of the waterfall. We all took a rewarding dip into the cool water, and some of us laid out to soak up the sun while others stayed in the water.
Not only were we able to enjoy the water, but we were also able to explore the beautiful scenery. Upon exploring the surrounding area, we came across a family of loud monkeys jumping from tree to tree, with a baby monkey on the back of the momma monkey! Before we left to go back to our home base, we stopped to shop at the pop up stands filled with home made goodies outside the premise of the waterfall. Once we wrapped up our long and satisfactory day, we ate the best dinner consisting of fried chicken, French fries, rice and beans, pasta, and many veggies alongside the hotel managers who always manage to make our days brighter with their love and welcoming attitudes. We broke into mentor groups after dinner to discuss the work we’re doing with Vida and how it compares to our first week of service at Lands in Love. Finally, we finished off the night with a highly competitive game of spoons, and tomorrow we’re going to the beach!
Today was our beach day.
The staff were nice so we had breakfast at a very late 9:00 am so we can rest. At 10 we headed to the beach on the buses while listening to music. When we got to the beach we all started doing our own beach things; some people laid out to tan, others were in the water either playing games or using the goggles to look at the fish swimming around us. At 1 we had lunch at this restaurant right on the beach and it was quite exquisite. There was a guy selling shaved ice with condensed milk and it was surprisingly not bad.
There was also a man selling coconuts with refreshing water inside and once you were done drinking the water, he would cut open the coconut so you could eat the inside! After hours of swimming and beach fun (including multiple intense rounds of volleyball), we finally were headed back to the hotel. The dinner at the hotel was a delicious BBQ feast with chicken, pork, hamburgers, grilled vegetables, pasta and salad. We all went to bed early to prepare for our next day of service with the VIDA clinic.