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.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
Click here to jump down to the most recent posts!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!
Welcome to the Animal Rescue Program blog, session 2!
This will be our opportunity to share our adventures and learnings in the Alajuela Province with all of you! And this will be your opportunity to travel and experience with all of us throughout the next three weeks.
One group arrived in the afternoon, explored the home base and had some get-to-know activities with our mentors. They all enjoyed their first meal in Costa Rica and even were treated to some chocolate cake for dessert!
Most of the students arrived very late to the homebase (that’s why we don’t have many pictures yet). They were very talkative and open to each other!
We are more than excited to have all the students here and enjoy our full day together!
We can’t wait for the adventures, service learning, lifelong memories, and deep friendships that await.
Please note that under the masks… everyone is smiling!
We are excited to welcome Carson and Jaden, and more photos coming soon!
The GLA Team,
Anna, Fer, Jenny, Scott, Juanca, Ila.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
The first day in our Homebase!
Today we welcomed two more students: Carson and Jaden!
We started the day with a great breakfast buffet! Every meal in Lands in Love is a party!
After breakfast we did a few icebreakers to get to know each other, and had some rotations, between touring the Home Base, making signs for their rooms and taking the SWIM TEST! Everyone passed!
Students could go over the GLA rules and policies, and they made their own agreements! Most importantly, SAFETY!
Every student also got a chance to be in the “hot seat,” where they had to answer rapid fire questions from the rest of the group.
We received Alon, one of the leaders of the project in Lands in Love. He told us his story and mission, we all felt inspired!
Towards the end or the day we split up into our four mentor groups for the first time, we all opened up a bit in our mentor groups and started to really get to know each other. Around 9pm we wrapped up our very busy first day!
We’re very excited for these three weeks, and got off to an amazing start today.
The GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
We woke up to a beautiful Costa Rican sunrise and walked to breakfast and started our day with a flavorful gallo pinto breakfast.
Then we hopped on the bus and made our way to La Fortuna town to hopefully test negative to our covid-test.
We were able to see the beautiful downtown and walked around for a little while and we were treated with ice cream and coffee to end our visit.
Then we came back to home base to have lunch and listened to an informative guest speaker from Costa Rica.
Then we had some free time where we had the option to either go to the pool or rest. After that we were able to meet the Vida Team of vets who we are working with in the next couple of days.
We finished up the day with a successful shoutout circle and a delicious dinner.
Avery, Angelina, Alexa, Mac and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
We woke up with the sun this morning to start our day with Gallo Pinto and freshly baked bread (casero) to prepare ourselves for the big day of service ahead. After breakfast, we were greeted by the smiling faces of the Vida team and the loud roar of over 400 dogs waiting to be cleaned.
We went over the rules and started to set up our stations to wash our dogs. We began by clipping nails, brushing their fur, and cleaning their ears. At first we were jumping away and cringing at the prospect of getting wet, but by the end, we were all soaked more than the dogs, and filled with joy.
We were sad to leave the dogs behind, but were excited to eat our first lunch without masks since we all received negative covid test results! Following lunch we culturally immersed ourselves by learning some traditional Costa Rican dances such as the merengue, salsa, bachata, among others. We finished off by singing Despacito and laughing more than dancing.
Aside from the dancing, we also discussed personal values that we felt defined our character and learned more about ourselves by doing so. We also practiced our debating skills in a discussion regarding the animal welfare law. Our day was filled with laughs and getting to know each other.
We are excited for many more to come!
Written by Hana, Anna, Isabelle, Cami, Alex and the GLA team.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Mañana! That was our word of the day for July 7th of the Costa Rica: Animal Rescue Project.
We started the day with our health checks before breakfast, which was amazing as usual. Then we went to do our service with Vida, the veterinarian non profit we work with. We focused on de-worming, trimming nails, and cleaning ears. We treated a total of 24 dogs today!
After service we ate lunch before going on our hike to the Lands in Love Waterfall. The hike was a wonderful experience, especially since we didn’t have to leave the hotel grounds for it.
We de-stressed after our hike with yoga, taught by one of our very own mentors, Jenny. We all learned some complicated stretches and new techniques to cool down.
We finished the day with a great dinner and a good mentor group, were all fulfilled and excited for tomorrow 🙂
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
First week in the books! The breakfast was expectedly amazing, and fueled us up for a long morning of assisting VIDA with dental cleanings! It was at times intimidating, but incredibly riveting. We can’t wait to get back with the VIDA crew for our final day of service!
After lunch, we made our way to a lovely woman’s home to learn how to make tortillas and bean empanadas from scratch! We were grateful that they were able to accommodate our large group, and we left feeling full of happiness (and empanadas).
We drove back to the home base through the rain, and met with our mentor groups. After that we made our way to dinner, where we were met with a new array of fantastically colored and tasting food!
We finished our night off with an amazing shout out circle, and can’t wait for our journey to the CAT PARK tomorrow!
Anika, Sawyer, Sophie, Maddie and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
After a quick breakfast they started their final day with VIDA, this time performing sprays for dogs and cats in need. After lunch the students enjoyed a wonderfully prepared lunch, cooked by the Lands in Love Staff, consisting of hamburgers, rice and fries.
With full bellies the students plunged into the pool, indulging in volleyball and other games.
Moving into the afternoon, the students enjoyed an abundance of cats in a hike up to the “Parque de Los Gatos” in which cats clambered all over the students. Just before a cultural Asian meal the young leaders broke down the day in mentor groups, talking of highs and lows and things they hope to grow on. Closing out their first week in Costa Rica, the students are ecstatic for the coming activities.
Peter, Miranda, Grant, Sadie and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Another rainy yet temperate day in Costa Rica. Despite this, we trudged to breakfast where we found pancakes, eggs, and gallo pinto, energizing us for the activities that lay ahead.
The activities in question included a ziplining trek through the Costa Rican jungle and brisk horseback riding through the lush forestry. Taking the harsh weather head on, we all enjoyed our activities to the fullest with prompting from our guides, making it a memorable experience for us all. Appeasing our ever growing appetite, we stopped at the base of the Arenal volcano for lunch at a local “soda” or family owned restaurant.
With full bellies we arrived back to a drenched home base to partake in our many different activities including but not limited to a water logged game of soccer, resulting in an abundance of muddy laundry. Others enjoyed the serenity of a nice chess game and yoga whilst keeping dry. We ended our day by reflecting on our adventures through conversations of highs, lows, and growth with our mentors. Leaving an exciting day, we are all eager to venture into what tomorrow may hold.
Grant, Kaitlyn, Molly, Chloe and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
The GLA group left the hotel at around 8:30am, and arrived at GoAdventurePark where they were split up into two groups; one went horseback riding while the other went ziplining, opposite from yesterday.
After their exciting adventures, both groups met up at a laid back restaurant for lunch, which had a beautiful volcano view.
After that, the groups went to do some souvenir and snack shopping where the teams bought gifts for themselves, family and friends back at home. The groups went to La Fortuna in the city to buy yummy ice cream and milkshakes.
Although everyone was very exhausted on the ride back to home base, we ended the day with nice showers all around, dinner and a good night’s rest.
-Carson, Eliza, Alysha and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
We began our Monday with our first morning of service, where we were divided into several different groups. Some of us scraped floors with sandpaper, some of us walked dogs, some cleaned up a lagoon by removing excess Lilly pads, and the final group cleaned up some chicken coops!
We followed service with a hearty lunch of rice, beans and tortillas filled with veggies and “beef”, so to speak. After lunch we listened
To Raul, a native Costa Rican who talked about local traditions and the different regions inside of Costa Rica. After the informative speech, we all went back to our rooms for some much needed downtime/sleep.
We followed that up with a reflective activity, where we learned more about our individual leadership styles and how we all relate. Then we cooled down with some popcorn and a trip to the beloved CAT PARK, or El Parque de Gatos. Dinner was a solid combo of rice chicken and noodles, a familiar yet scrum-diddly-umptious meal.
Mac and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Early this morning we split into our groups for service. between our three groups we walked the dogs, cleaned the pond, and worked on the chicken coops and bunny cages. The staff at Lands in Love was amazing in helping us with all of our jobs and answering any questions we had. We went into lunch feeling pretty content in the work we had each done, and definitely a bit tired.
After lunch we had the opportunity to go on a chocolate tour in La Fortuna, Rainforest Chocolate Factory. We received an informative presentation on the history of chocolate as well as the current economy for it. Then the fun part came, the tasting. We got to taste authentic dark chocolate with a whole table of different toppings. I think we speak for everyone when we say it was delicious.
Finally we closed another amazing day with another amazing dinner. After which we had mentor groups to check in and recap our day.
Georgia, Chloe, Ana and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
We woke up fully rested due to our extended wake up time, and ate a scrumptious breakfast to prepare ourselves for the long day of service ahead of us.
After breakfast, our service groups dispersed into dog walkers, maintenance, fundraising, and poultry support. The fundraising group siphoned through influencers that could be possible philanthropists for the lands in love hotel. The maintenance crews scrubbed panels for the chicken coops and raked lily pads amid a scenery of forestry and several types of poultry. The dog walkers started their day a little bit early to try to keep up with the eager dogs.
Energized after a delicious lunch, we gathered for a dance class, brought back by popular demand. We learned the traditional Costa Rican dance swing criollo and then cooled off by the pool with swimming and volleyball with the locals. We got to know our mentors and staff, who work so hard to accommodate us, through a game that allows students to peek into their mentors’ personal life. We ended the evening with a flavorful cena and ice cream dessert thoughtfully prepared by the kitchen staff. We are looking forward to learning more about Costa Rican fauna tomorrow at the zoo and can’t wait for the second half of a wonderful adventure!
Tia, Alex, Isabelle and the GLA team.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
We woke up excited to see the sun for the first time in about a week. It was our first day on the trip without rain! Another busy weekday, we split up into our service groups to clean lily pads out of the lake, walk dogs, fundraiser, and muck horse stalls.
We had pizza for lunch, which was a nice surprise, with a side of delicious salad. After lunch we visited Zoo Ave; a zoo centered around rescuing and rehabilitating animals. The zoo featured coyotes, Jaguars, monkeys, toucans, and other exotic birds. We even met a friendly macaw who shared a popsicle with a student in the group! After that we proceeded to return home with a rave on the party bus, blasting music and singing along to Katy Perry.
We returned home to celebrate Alex’s birthday with a big, fat slice of chocolate cake. We finished off the night with a prompt bedtime of 9 (or 9:30) pm, exhausted from the day of fun and adventures.
Hana, Avery, Eliza, Miranda and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
TGIF! We have completed our last day of service for this week! After a breakfast of champions, (Gallo pinto) we started our daily service for the hotel. One group walked dogs, another cleaned horse stalls, and the final group helped combat an invasive species of lily pads in the hotel lagoon.
After service we made a quick trip to the sheep/goat field, where we enjoyed each other’s company! Lunch was full of jokes and laughter, and we all chowed down on some falafel burgers. After lunch we had an hour to recharge, and then jumped into a group discussion about “voluntourism”.
We switched gears to an energetic and high stakes game of GLA Jeopardy, where the categories ranged from facts about the hotel staff to intricacies about Costa Rican cuisine.
Dinner was fun and tasty (as usual) and we had some great conversations. After a brief shout out circle we all headed back to our rooms to prepare for an electric morning or white-water rafting.
Signing off, Peter, Jaden, Sophia and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
We woke up on another rainy Costa Rican day. The sky was grey, but the humidity and heat persisted. After having a breakfast of french toast, we departed in two busses on a short drive to the Balsa River. There, we went white water rafting for the duration of two hours, with a break for fresh fruit halfway through. The experience was exciting and a thrilling but fun step out of some of our comfort zones.
After rafting, we headed back to the home base where we ate a quick lunch and took some time to shower and rest. We had an afternoon group activity, which was called “Respect for self and others.” After that was a daily meeting for mentor groups, and then we ate a great dinner.
We look forward to tomorrow’s adventure to the waterfall.
Molly and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
With the generosity of the mentors, we had a late morning after a long and hard week of service.
Some students woke up early and worked out and went to the pool with Scott and Jenny, while others enjoyed a luxurious breakfast at a later time.
We began our official day at 12:15 for lunch and then made our way to La Fortuna for an unforgettable experience at the waterfall. After many pictures and memories, we hiked back up the 500 stairs to the busses.
Upon our return to home base, we had a dinner of scrumptious burritos and hamburgers.
The relaxed day allowed us to unwind and get ready for the adventures to come for the final week of the program!
Written by students Maddie, Sadie, Carson and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Today was our second to last day of service, and one of our participant’s birthdays! Breakfast came with a new flavor juice; papaya, which was fine, but mostly loved by our mentor Jenny, who likes papaya enough for the whole group. We continued on to our service work full of pancakes, gallo pinto, eggs from our loved chickens, and fresh fruit. We beat our dog-walking record with 128 dogs in 4 hours, and the other service projects proceeded with our familiar activities, leaving us all exhausted. Cleaning lily pads out of the pond truly became well-noticed today, as we realized it looks like a different pond now, and our hard work is paying off! It looks so beautiful, and it’s been rewarding to notice the fruits of our labor. Service turned into lunch time, where we were served fresh salad, potato and veggie patties, and rice and beans. After lunch came our siesta; nap time and pool time, which students spent sun-bathing and drinking milkshakes.
After pool time, we participated in a scavenger hunt around the Lands in Love hotel. Teams had to visit the Cat Park, the animals, the staff members of the hotel, and various facilities to gather selfies and points. The winners received snacks and praise, complimentary of the mentors. Following the scavenger hunt we had our daily mentor group meetings, and then a quick dinner. We finished out the day with songs and sweets, celebrating Alysha’s 17th birthday.
Alex, Alysha, Cami and the GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Our last day of service finally arrived! We are very glad of the opportunity of making an impact in the Lands In Love community! In the afternoon we had the chance to buy our last snacks and souvenir in the great town in LA Fortuna. Do you know that the great volcano Arenal is close by?
We filled up with a delicious meal and then reflected on our experience of service learning with our mentor groups. We are looking forward to our last and exciting adventures at the beach tomorrow! Stay tuned for more action! See you tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
This morning the crew had an early morning breakfast to fill our bellies for a very long bus ride to Del Coco Beach. After a wrong turn or two, we were en route to our beachside hotel and had a fun afternoon of sunny festivities. We arrived at a delicious, well-rounded lunch with real meat! Fresh passion fruit juice topped off the meal.
We then loaded back into the buses for a quick ride to the beach where we swam in the warm Pacific waters, climbed across yards upon yards of rocks, and played a competitive but friendly game of soccer with star players Juanca; our local director, and Giovanni; one of our bus drivers!
The sunset was absolutely breathtaking, and we took so many photos. After watching it completely lower past the horizon, and watching the moon rise and light up behind us, we loaded back onto our buses for a quick ride back to the hotel. After showers and getting a little bit fancy, we did a special activity where we got to give personal shoutouts to our friends and create a yarn “web” to visualize our newfound connection to one another.
Then we sat down for dinner and fancy drinks, beautifully plated in the beachside restaurant. After filling our bellies full of fresh pasta with various toppings, we strolled down the beach together by moonlight before a well-earned rest to prep for an early morning.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
Today was our final full day on the program! We had a tasty and early breakfast to go to The Catamaran!
After half an hour of lounging on the bow of the ship and listening to fantastic music, we had some swim time in gorgeous blue water. We snorkeled and could appreciate some fantastic fish. We had a very tasty lunch aboard and headed back to home base. Music, dancing and laughter on our bus ride made it smoother and energetic!
Our final dinner was delicious! We all gave each other one final squeeze before heading off to bed, and tried to get as much sleep as possible before a long travel day. We don’t want this trip to end!
The GLA team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Today we said goodbye to our amazing students!
These three weeks have flown! It has been a wonderful experience for all of us, :ands in Love will miss you!
We hope all students have a safe trip home and continue on with a fulfilled life of learning, values and commitment to make a better world!
Lots of love from the team,
Anna, Fer, Giovani, Ila, Jenny, Juanca, Scott & Rubén