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
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Everyone has arrived safely and happily to Playa Junquillal, Costa Rica. Students are settling in, meeting their roommates and enjoying some typical Costa Rican food. We were welcomed by a beautiful sunset on the beach at home base. Everyone seems to be getting along well and it’s easy to see new friendships forming through name games and bus ride chats that also took place throughout the day. Students are visiting from around the world to contribute to the upcoming service work, including sea turtle conservation and rebuilding the water table. We are also looking forward to adventure days where students will step out of their comfort zone both physically and culturally. Orientation is tomorrow so everyone is hoping to get a good nights sleep. Another beautiful day in Costa Rica!
Alex, Brewster, and Ruby has arrived late last night. We can’t wait to have our first ever full group photo! (Masks were put down for photo ops)
– Ingrid, Mentor
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Our first full day started off with a delicious variety of breakfast food including fresh fruit, rice, and eggs. A classic Costa Rican breakfast. We then transferred over to orientation where the mentors spoke about the code of conduct, COVID precautions, and respecting the local culture.
Following a lunch break of picadillo, another classic Costa Rican dish, we took a swim test and health check. (Everyone passed!) After a relaxing free time, everyone took a walk down to the beach to enjoy the sunset and have a chow circle.
We then met with our mentor groups and discussed about what it means to be a leader and what we want to accomplish from this trip. We wound down in our rooms and hung out around the pool until lights off at 10:00. Simply put, pura vida!
Ray and Ruby
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
On day three in Costa Rica, we had out first day of service. After a pancake breakfast, we split up into our service groups and left Home Base. At the Guanacaste Water Center, Alberto, the director of the water center, taught us about the rainfall frequencies in Costa Rica and the importance of trees in the erosion process. We were then able to plant saplings and place them in the nursery. Other students were also able to use a wood carving tool to help Alberto make signs to identify the rivers. At the Grupo Ecologica Avellanas, we met Frank, a local community leader, who first gave us a tour around the school. After the tour, we began our clean up. We walked down the main road of the local community and picked up different types of trash. After collecting bags of trash, we sorted the trash into categories: aluminum, glass, and plastic. We ended our service with a quick game of soccer outside the local school. At VerdiAzul, we worked at a Turtle Hatchery and helped to improve the turtles hatching habitats. We dug holes and placed nets for the eggs. We worked on our teamwork skills through communication and hard work on the sunny beach. We also learned many facts about turtles from the hatchery director Valerie.
After service, we went to a local clinic for our first COVID test. We then drove to a beautiful beach named Conchal (because of the loads of seashells that could be found there) thats is located in a local town nearby. After many piñacolada’s and souvenir buying, we came back to Home Base. We then listened to a cultural and historical presentation by a guest speaker, Silvia (a local owner of a hotel and historian of Costa Rica).
We then ate a pasta dinner and had our night activity and mentor groups. After the time reflecting with mentors, we had free time and then went to sleep.
Pura Vida, everyone!
Eli, Jack, Emma, and AnnieGrace
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
We started off our morning with an early wake up call from one of our fellow leaders of the day, Brewster. We headed up to breakfast where we ate some killer scrambled eggs and pico (rice and beans). After breakfast, three groups left to do service with the same groups they were with yesterday. Avallanas split up into two groups who were set out to clean over two kilometers of the beach, filling up bags with micro plastics. They took a nice dip in the Pacific Ocean after hours of hard work. The group at Guanacaste Water Center watered 232 saplings from a previous GLA session, refilling watering cans after every three trees. They also made mushroom shaped plugs from newspaper and tinfoil to put on the top of tubes to prevent water from drying out. The group at VerdiAzul switched from the turtle hatchery to the beach, picking up microplastics from about three kilometers of a different beach, all the while learning about plastics and how different materials decompose (or don’t).
After a nice lunch of Quesadillas con Pollo, we had about an hour of free time before Rally Day in the afternoon. During free time after lunch, some played Spikeball, some swam and some relaxed. At 1:45, we all took two buses into town for a fun afternoon of cultural activities. Everybody split into two different groups, one went into a local woman’s kitchen, while the other group played Costa Rican games. Mirita is a well known local baker who aided us in making Boñuelos in a sweet honey sauce, with a purple corn drink to wash it down. The games played included a T-shirt relay, marble race and a hybrid of Quidditch and Basketball, all of which relied on teamwork and communication in order to succeed. Finally, we finished off with a game of soccer in the pouring rain. The final score was 2-1 in a very intense, muddy, and sopping wet soccer match.
We then headed back to home base where we had about an hour of free time to dry off and prepare for the night. At 6, we gathered at the Ranchito to play some games and do Chow Circle (where people share their shoutouts, highlights and takeaways). Everyone headed up to the restaurant where we all enjoyed Chickpea Curry with rice and salad. After dinner we went to the night activity, and listened to an informative TED talk called “The Danger of the Single Story”. One of our amazing mentors, Becca shared her life story as a perfect example of vulnerability and to not judge someone based off of a single story. We finished off the night with an hour of free time and then went to the sleep for the night.
All in all, today was an amazing day!
– Chloe, Cooper, Brewster, and Riley
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
For breakfast this Saturday morning we all enjoyed some French toast and rice and beans with local fruit before heading out for a rainy service day. At the Guanacaste Water Center we worked with Alberto to put a sticker on his honey bottles, plant saplings again and paint some signs to label local rivers. In VerdiAzul we sanitized buckets and baskets used to hatch baby turtle eggs. Then we went to the beach and dug five more holes in the turtle hatchery. we finished service with a swim at the beach. The Avellanas group painted signs today due to the rain eventually getting to spend some time at the beach picking up trash once the sun was out again. after service we all came back and enjoyed a lunch of stew with rice.
Afterwards we all met with a couple of local professionals where we learned three traditional dances and then continued our activities at the beach. We participated in the Beach Olympics where we worked together with our service groups. A couple of fun activities to strengthen our team bond and push ourselves!
We were all really excited for a dinner of chicken fingers and fried plantains after such a busy day. Then we ended our day with group Jeopardy and headed to bed a little early to prepare ourselves for our first adventure day tomorrow.
– Will, Zoie, Estefania, Tristan, Molly
BLOG POST FOR JULY 25
We woke up bright and early and had empanadas for breakfast. We then loaded the busses for an adventurous day. Once we arrived, we suited up for zip lining and headed for the tree tops. There were many fun features such as a climbing wall, Tarzan swing, and rope jump.
After that we went and got lunch at a buffet. Then we hiked to a waterfall with scenic views and a lot of butterflies! Next, we took a bus to go tubing. We tubbed down a river with lots of rapids. Then we drove back and ate a late dinner with a beautiful sunset.
– PJ, Drew, Ben, and Jack
BLOG POST FOR JULY 26
Day 7 started with early morning yoga at the beach with Ingrid. After yoga, we went to breakfast and ate some delicious pancakes before leaving for service. At VerdiAzul we all helped out on cleaning the area around the hatchery, painting signs to promote sea turtle conservation, and digging holes for the turtles eggs. It was pleasantly followed by a nice swim in the ocean to rinse off. At Avellanas we drove to the beach where we took a tour of the recycling bins, and cleaned the beach for about 30 minutes. After we put up signs that we made the other day in service. Once we were done with all of our work we took a refreshing dip in the ocean and we were riding the waves. The Guanacaste Water Center focused on planting parts that were cut off of grown trees to form new trees and planting bamboo. Once everyone returned from service, we had a couple minutes to swim before going to lunch.
After eating, we left for the chocolate tasting at Reinas Chocolate. 45 minutes of a very entertaining bus ride later, we arrived and started the tour/tasting. Half of the group started by watching and helping make chocolate from scratch (peeling and grinding cacao beans, etc). The other half began with the tasting where we sampled a bunch of fun flavors (chocolate raspberry, white chocolate orange, chocolate cinnamon , etc). We finished up the tour/tasting, thanked our wonderful hosts, and headed back to home base. The rest of the day was pretty laid back with a chow circle at an amazing sunset, a yummy taco dinner, and a fun night of karaoke. After a great session with mentor groups, everyone wrapped it up and headed to sleep. We are looking forward to another amazing day tomorrow!
– Grant, Hazel, Alex, and Rafe
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
Unfortunately, we are coming close to the end of our trip but today we all ended our service projects on a strong note. After a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and hash browns, we loaded up the buses and headed to our last day of service. After 4 hours of hard work we came back to the home base and ate lunch. Our afternoon consisted of watching a “responsible tourism” video and hanging out on the beach! We body surfed and drank mango smoothies untill it was time to head home.
Once we arrived home we walked to the beach for chow circle while enjoying the sunset. We had the night activity shortly after and then did mentor groups. We all finished the last day of service on a good note and are excited to enjoy our last day together tomorrow!
Chris, Ruth, Ana, Lucy
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28
Today we woke up for our last breakfast all together. We ate pancakes along with a usual side of costa rican rice and beans. We set sail on a catamaran and a few of us felt a little sea sick. We all had hours of fun together swimming snorkeling and soaking up the sun. We then took our final covid test for our return home. After getting stuff organized at homebase we spent our final dollars at a local costa rican market supporting the local economy. We then continued our evening with an emotional activity and chow circle. A few of us shed some tears with the thought that we soon had to leave our new best friends. After that, we all gathered at dinner and chugged water, then ate a classic meal, burgers. We listened to music and all sang together.
Dinner was followed by a deep last talk with our mentor groups. We all met in the ranchero for last time to watch a slide show of the incredible moments we all shared together. After a few more tears and hugs e ended the night with a night swim and listened to music. We are going to miss all of the people we met here but plan to keep in contact.
– Eme, Lizzie, Logan, Finn, and Grace
BLOG POST FOR JULY 29
This trip has changed me for the better and made me realize the true reason of why we all went on the trip. On the first night of the trip, my mentor RJ asked why we were all here. Some replied with such things as “to help the environment” or “to travel the world but have a purpose in doing it”. My personal reason at that time was “to feel like I am making an impact on the world”. After hearing the reasons, RJ told us that they were all selfish reasons. He told us that we weren’t qualified for the work that we were going to do and that the money we spent coming here could be better used to pay professionals to do the same jobs we were about to do. At the time, it seemed like an attack. Nobody knew what to think, but then he told us that after all the work we do and once this whole program is over, we will know the true reason of why we came here and what impact we can make.
This made me think, why were we here? What could we possibly bring to the table that professionals can’t? Looking back on this experience after the program was over, I realized what impact we actually made. Although the work we did will help tremendously, it wasn’t the biggest impact we made. It was the attitude that we had while doing the work that would make the biggest impact. The attitude to change what was wrong, and the attitude to keep a smile on your face throughout some of the hardest work you’ve ever done. The attitude that spread from this tiny group of high schoolers from the United States who were doing work that only helped a little in the grand scheme of things, that what made the biggest impact. And that was the true reason we were there.
Please see the video prepared by the mentors to cap off this amazing session!