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 JUNE 29
Hola friends and family!
An exciting summer has begun for young leaders who have just arrived (after many arduous journeys) to San José for Marine Conservation and Turtle Expedition – 14 day!
As of about 11:30pm, 20 participants have arrived out of 23. With Ross soon arriving just after midnight and two students, Sonja and Elizabeth arriving tomorrow, we will soon be a complete group ready for service, adventure and learning.
We didn’t get many photos, but it was a stunning and rare day of only sunshine! The group played games, swam in the pool after completing swim tests, and ate some delicious traditional food complete with rice and beans. Every time I saw students, I heard laughing and good conversation. Jorge,
Natalie, Omar and I are excited to be with these young leaders over the next 2 weeks.
It will be an early start as we move to our first beach location in Montezuma. We’re all looking forward to good sleep tonight!
Until then, pura vida!
Written by Chelsea, International Director
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Written by Natalie, GLA Mentor
Today started off early at 6:30 am as we gathered our luggage, loaded it onto the van, and sat down for breakfast. Our morning meal consisted of a variety of items such as fruit, eggs, gallo pinto, and pancakes. During breakfast, we had the opportunity to get to know our staff better and learn more about the next two weeks ahead. Afterward, we boarded the bus, ready to embark on a long day of travel.
We spent several hours driving and even took a ferry, which eventually led us to our home base in Montezuma. Our accommodation for the next five nights is Hotel La Cascada, named after the beautiful waterfall situated right next to it. Upon arrival, we received a warm welcome with homemade juice and fresh fruit. Once settled into our rooms, we commenced our rigorous orientation activities.
One of our first activities involved taking a stroll to the beach in front of the hotel, where we enjoyed putting our feet in the water and admiring the seashells. After about 30 minutes of beach time, we returned to the hotel for the main orientation session. Here, we came together to learn more about each other, our program, the Costa Rican culture, and, most importantly, safety.
Following the orientation, we had some downtime before indulging in a delicious spaghetti dinner and welcomed our final two young leaders, Elizabeth and Sonja, making us a complete group of 23.
To conclude the long day, we participated in a final leadership activity, which provided us with valuable insights into leadership and GLA’s pillars. Tomorrow’s leaders of the day and blog writers will be Piper and Lucy. As we now have access to our phones, we retreat to our air-conditioned rooms to ensure a good night’s rest for the adventures that await us tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Written by Leaders of the Day: Piper and Lucy
Today we woke up at 6:15!!! It was a teensy weensy bit early, but the monkeys were already up, so we figured we should be as well. Unfortunately for everyone else, we had to knock on everyone’s doors and annoy them to make sure they were up for #breakfast. At 7:00, we were served scrambled eggs, rice and beans, and fresh corn tortillas. We were offered plantains, which some of us courageously tried (opinions varied).
After breakfast, we all headed down to the bus and realized that this was the first time everyone was on the bus together!!! #unity #friendship #day3supreme. After a quick ride through the town of Montezuma, we exited the bus and began our exhaustive trek to the surfing beach. The views were pretty, but our hair was not. I guess you could say beauty is pain. It’s humid and hot as frick here. After our 30ish minute hike, the surf instructors greeted us and were super cool. Totally tubularrrr. We split up into groups and the guides took us into the water and taught us how to catch a wave. After trial and error, the success rate reached a wopping 100%… hopefully…. We may have ate shiii.
After surfing on the ocean, we ate some fruit, showered, and began an even more awful hike back to the hotel #notinshape. After arriving home, most of us showered off and we headed downstairs for a delicious lunch of rice, chicken lentil soup thing, and plantain chips (opinions did not vary here; we came to a consensus that plantains taste better dried).
When we thought our day couldn’t get more eventful, we headed over to the turtle sanctuary at around 3:00. After an orientation and instructional PowerPoint, we learned that there was a sea turtle right next to us on the beach!! This was sorta ironic, because just before then we were told not to get our hopes up, as we may not encounter any sea turtles on our trip. Not only did we witness a sea turtle, but we witnessed one digging a nest and laying her eggs!!! #motheroftheyear. We saw her dig with her flippers and lay her eggs. It was magical.
Soon after, the turtle returned to the ocean, and like her, we returned to the hotel. Once we got to the hotel, we had free time for about an hour and then ate dinner. We had fish, mashed potatoes, and veggies. We then gathered around for our pura vida circle where we discussed how to grow as a thriving community. And now, here we are, 10 seconds away from falling asleep and ready for what tomorrow has to offer.
¡ADIOS AMIGOS! ¡PURA VIDA!!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Written by Alex & Sophie
Thankfully, we had a later start today than yesterday. We woke up for a scrumptious breakfast of omlettes and toast at 8:00. Moving at a sloth’s pace, we then got ready for service with ASVO, the sea turtle conservation organization. Equipped with our work gloves and semi-positive spirits, every shred of faith we had in our physical strength was crushed in the next hour and a half. Our arms hurt. We moved sandbags through our dubious efficient assembly line to fill up the hatchery with new sand and then had a lovely drive back in the air conditioned bus. We then had a lunch of hamburgers and fries, 10/10 ate that up. With our ten minutes of downtime we all collapsed in the hammock room and played a rousing game of mafia, then got to our leadership activity! We had a riveting debate about a theoretical conservation bill. Me (Alex) and Sophie had the final say on if the bill was passed, obviously due to our massive brains and clear superiority. We decided to pass the bill with some modifications at the end.
We headed down to the market in Montezuma after that, getting some delicious (well-deserved) ice cream and some awesome jewelry! We then speeded back to get on our way to bioluminescence kayaking. Most of us tried to sleep through the 1.5 hour drive there, and most of us failed as the road was windy and the bus was loud. Shoutout Yasmine for getting her beauty sleep though. After our picnic dinner, we raced to the kayaks to figure out who would get one (me and Sophie got one of course, we’re so swift) (we also got the heaviest one but that was a problem for later). We saw some amazing, shining, shimmering, bioluminescent water while we were kayaking. It was truly a Disney princess moment, excluding the pouring rain and the puddle Sophie was sitting in. We had some lovely crashes between the two French people’s boats (minus Yasmine who was somehow sleeping again. On the kayak). The S’s (Sophie & Sonja) and the A’s (Alex H. & Alex I.) zoomed passed the others and were clearly the best two boats. Really representing Canada and the state of Utah.
After a little splashing war, we got back off the water and had to carry our kayaks back to the shore. Unfortunately Alex picked the heaviest boat. It took both Alex, myself (Sophie), and Jorge to bring the boat semi back to the shore before giving up. Once everyone had changed into some dry clothing we got onto the bus with our amazing driver Roger, cranked some absolutely banger music and the whole bus sang karaoke the whole 1.5 hour bus ride back to home base. Now that we’re back, we’re off to shower and collapse again in the hammock room. Our arms hurt even more. Goodnight, Pura Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Leaders of the Day: Jackson and Cooper
Today we got to sleep in until breakfast at 8:00 am. Luckily for us, today was also one of the days that we got to do laundry. So we stuffed all of our dirty laundry into plastic bags and gave it to Francis the receptionist. Breakfast this morning, prepared by Katí and the kitchen staff, was pancakes and cups of fruit. We finished by cleaning our plates and thanking them for their amazing work. We were told to grab our WITS (Water, Insect Repellent, Toilet Paper, Sunscreen) and meet in the lobby at 9:00 am.
Once we arrived at ASVO (The turtle hatchery), Cooper counted off the group, dividing it in half. We then played a variation of rock paper scissors, and tension was high, but got everyone in right mindset for service. Luis, one of the workers, galvanized us. Group 1 then moved heavy logs into a pile for the duration of the service, while Group 2 took trash and sticks and put them on tarps, to then be put away. This is all because turtle nesting season has arrived, and the turtles need a clear beach for nesting, because if the area is dirty the turtles may not nest. We took breaks frequently to combat the strenuous activity, but Jorge came through with Oreos and other goods native to Costa Rica.
We stopped working at 11:00 am and made our way back to the hotel to prepare for lunch. We need this much time because everyone is sweaty and hot from the hard work we put in to clean the beach and everyone needed to take showers. So at 12:20 we went down to the dining room with our stomachs empty and ready to chow down whatever they gave us. For lunch they fed us fried rice and salad and we all needed seconds on the rice because it was so bust.
At 1 we all walked down to the beach for a much needed relaxation period. We all swam and were laughing, while appreciating the beauty of nature. We also played volleyball, with all the boys on one team and all the volleyball players on the other. The tide started to get high and after the laughs and joy, we returned to downtown Montezuma for a well deserved ice cream and crepe party. A few of us even bought bracelets. We then headed back to the hotel and had time to shower again before Pura Vida circle.
At 5:30 we had Pura Vida circle, playing ninja and then talking about our day tomorrow. We ate marshmallows and laughed a lot. At 6 we ate fish stew with coconut water, with a side of fried rice again. Natalie’s mentor group was intended to go on night patrol to hopefully see turtles nesting, but the weather didn’t permit it, so instead we played games and riddles. It wasn’t a bettas. Everyone here is so kind and welcoming and excited for the remainder of the journey ahead. Pura Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
Written by Leaders of the Day: Addison and Yasmine
This morning we left for the nature rescue forest and got to try many different fruits. Natalie’s group got to see a deer and some monkeys as well as wild and unique birds. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s group also got to see some amazing animals and try different foods (termites!). About an hour later we arrived back at the hotel for lunch. Afterwards many people chose to see a waterfall and go swimming. One small group that included both me and Yasmine went to the market to get ice cream and buy snacks. Though we did have to bribe one person to go, everything ended up well.
At around 4, we did our leader ship activity which included a fun game of coming up with body movements and a slogan for marine conservation. Soon afterwards we got a very nice surprise that included music, dance, piña colladas, and
barbecue. After dinner one group went out for their night patrol in search of turtles while the other group got to do a movie night.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Leaders of the Day: Adorabella and Lizzy
On this very eventful day, we woke up at around 7:30 to shove our bags in the bus to give the drivers an hour to primp and get prettyyyy. We were humbly served a scrumptious breakfast consisting of eggs, rice, and beans, the magical fruit. We had an extra special surprise for a very special girl, who happens to be the best group leader everrrr, Lizzy (Happy birthday!)! We hopped on the bus and listened to the awesome playlist created by the one and only, Adorabella. We then proceeded with a few rounds of Spoons and Uno.
After the ferry, we loaded once again onto the lovely bus and had a delightful sing-along. When lunch came rolling around we stopped at a chipotle/subway-style buffet. Some were better than others at ordering their food cause most of us don’t speak great Spanish. No hablo español. We got to spend lots of precious money on souvenirs for not just ourselves but for others!! Yay, selflessness!!
We went on a bridge and stared at the crocodiles from afar. After the extraordinary encounter, we got on the bus again for another drive. We finally arrived at our final home for the last nights here. And surprised by a large and in charge moth. Who we proceeded to wack with a pan, very Rapunzel-like. After our yummy dinner, we had the pleasure of eating Lizzy’s delicious birthday cake. With fun mentoring group games closely following. We bid you adieu.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Leaders of the Day: Alice and Alex I.
The day started early with an 8 am breakfast. We had omelets, potatoes and cheese, and toast, an overall solid breakfast. Then, we had to be ready by 9 am to head to community service with Maurilio, a super cool guy. We created two teams: the Plankton and the Tortugas Bonitas and started out by clearing a trail from the road to the beach in a zig-zag formation. We faced many obstacles such as clearing long weeds and vines, using machetes. However, a tragic accident occurred…there was a beehive. Maurilio was unfortunately stung by 5 wasps, one of which stung him near his eye, so we had to discontinue our hard work and start on a new project in order to stay safe from the wasps. We began to clean up microplastics and other trash from the beach in small groups and pairs until 11:30 am. After that, Maurilio taught us one of his handy survival skills and showed us how to make a strong rope out of tree bark. He also showed us how to open up a coconut which he also informed us is the biggest seed in the world! After he’d finished, we each tried some of the coconut water and the fruit, which was quite controversial.
Once we finished up our community service, we came back to the hotel and had a bit of time to rinse off the sand that was stuck on us from all the sweat, some of us even got to try the outdoor showers which were highly rated. At 12:30 we ate lunch, which was fried rice with chicken accompanied by some chips and a salad. Many of us agreed that it was the best lunch we’ve had so far in Costa Rica. For dessert, they let us finish the delicious chocolate cake from Lizzy’s birthday. We all ate super fast because we were so excited for POOL TIME right after lunch.
At the pool we played Marco Polo, chicken, sharks and minnows, and volleyball as a group while others tanned by the pool with drinks made at our very own bar by our special bartender (non-alcoholic of course). It began to rain, but that didn’t stop us from having fun so we continued to play volleyball in the rain until it was time for us to get ready for our guest speaker.
At 3:00 pm our guest speaker Maurilio came to talk to us about turtles and taught us about the different species of turtles native to Costa Rica and others as well. He also talked to us about the threats of sea turtles and how we could help. One fun fact about the Hawksbill turtle is that it’s shell has overlapping scutes which makes it unique and easy to recognize. After his talk, we had free time which many of us took as an oppurtunity to relax and nap after our busy day.
Then, at 5:45 we had our Pura Vida circle and the new phrase of the day introduced by our very own Jorge is “cómo tes llamas” (what is your name?) and “cuál es tu color favorito” (what is your favorite color?). Dinner was extremely yummy, we had homemade mac and cheese, salad and really good garlic bread. For dessert we had ice cream. After dinner we had our leadership activity where we had a freeze dance party and then had to act like different cultures such as people who offer others food, touchy people, people who didn’t make eye contact and people who waited 10 seconds before responding. We debriefed and agreed that the experience was slightly awkward but it was definitely interesting.
After that we did karaoke. We sang out hearts out and had a lot of fun. Shoutout to Yasmine and her French rap. We also played pool and foosball. That wrapped up our busy day! We learned a lot and had so much fun.
Have a good night. Pura Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Written by Leaders of the Day: Ella and Genevieve
Today was jampacked with fun and adventure! We woke up to a 7:30 breakfast and quickly left for our service activity. After a quick drive through Parrita, we arrived at the beach ready to meet Victor. Shortly after, we began working to make signs for the beach. With a little bit of teamwork, we cut, nailed, and painted signs. Each small group had the opportunity to design their own messages, with many promoting marine conservation. After our work was complete we headed over to Victor’s homemade hatchery. We were able to see his work towards making a change in his community.
After lunch and some free time, we met our dance instructor. Despite the heat, humidity, sweat, and bugs, everyone was able to learn new traditional dances. We ended with a wholesome dance in a circle. It wasn’t long after that most of us took a dip in the pool to cool off. We played volleyball and chatted while swimming around. Many of us decided to order smoothies and play pool and foosball.
Many people could argue that the highlight of the day was the controversial “shoe game”. In this game, everyone took off their shoes and ran to try and collect as many as possible. Julia won the game, with a stellar 7 shoes!
The day winded down with dinner and quality mentor group time! Pura Vida!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Written by Leaders of the Day: Ava and Julia
Waking up at 6 am was a challenging task for all of us, but we had ziplining to look forward to. After a French toast breakfast, we received news that ziplining would be postponed to the afternoon and our mentor group competition would take place in the morning instead.
After everyone took some time to rest until 10 am, we got ready for a morning of the most ruthless extravaganza amongst the two mentor groups. We began in the sweltering heat by the beach with an intense relay race, which of course was won by team Natalie ;).
Then, we continued with three rounds of beach soccer, which team Omar won two to one. We followed up with coconut bocci ball with an easy win by team Natalie, opposed by a win from Omar’s team in the next game. We ended the morning with equal scores, so stay tuned for tomorrow to hear the winners of the tiebreaker…
Finally, it was time to go ziplining after a long, tedious bus ride, only to be greeted by pouring rain. But that didn’t stop us from zooming through the trees, repelling from great heights, and soaking in the beautiful views. Plus, the rain cooled us all down. Special shout out to the wonderful cooks at ziplining who served us a delectable meal, especially enjoyed by Ross and Jackson. But, the food didn’t end there. With full stomachs, we sang our hearts out to Taylor Swift on the bus ride back until we abruptly came to a stop at a gas station to buy a plethora of Costa Rican snacks.
We came back to a fully cooked meal, so we all indulged with pleasure. Then, we played a game of poison dart frog during Pura Vida circle, which was unfortunately lost by Cooper. We then split into our mentor groups and reflected on our fourth pillar: be courageous. During this time, we all shared insightful feedback as to how we’ve all grown to take more risks and go out of our comfort zones.
Tonight, we will all enjoy the delicious snacks we purchased!!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Written by Leader of the Day: Apurv
The morning started bright and early as we had to wake up at 6:45AM due to the packed schedule we had upon ourselves. Most of us were exhausted from yesterday so some had took some extra time in their beds to relive the exherstion. We met for breakfast around 6:50AM and enjoyed some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast with a side of fresh squeezed juice from the local staff. We met at the bus around 7:15AM and set our adventures of to Manuel Antonio National Park. The ride was around an hour and some of spent that time dozing off as the AC blew in our faces.
The sun shined bright upon our group as we reached our destination and strolled past a couple of local souvineer shops that we would visit after our excursion. We split into two groups and wandered through the forest/canopy/rainforest and witnessed many animals with one especially being the sloth. Most of us have been waiting to see a sloth with our own two eyes and that’s exactly what we got! We saw a bunch more animals such as different species of crabs, flies, and etc. (There were too many ;))
By the halfway point of the excursion, the lower cuerpo (body in spanish) was really reaching its limit. Luckily, we had beach time ahead of us! We changed into our swimming suits and dived into the refreshing sea water, we took a bunch of flicktures (As jackson would say) and had a great time messing around in the water.
Before we hop into the next part of our day, we wanted to provide some background information on monkeys. These creatures have been the prize to witness for us GLA members and that’s exactly what we recieved. As some of us were coming back from changing out of our swimsuits, we saw monkeys strolling across the pathway and climbing on the railings of the national park. We all quickly got our cameras out and started snapping as many photos as our cameras could hold. That wasn’t end of this cool experience, we even got to see BABY MONKEYS on the back of their mothers!
After this amazing experience, we walked towards the exit of the national park as the UV rays of sun were hitting us very hard:(As we got out, we saw a ice cream shop and stopped by and scooped up some ice cream. Some of us went back to the “cool” bus while others shopped for suvieners or other items to bring back to their families and friends.
We drove back home and ate our packed lunches that the lovely workers had made for us and took an hour break to freshen up from the heat. The time had reached upon us. It was time for the tiebreaker of the mentor group games!! The game to decide the winner between Natalie and Omar’s group was… Tug of war! Both teams started strategizing different ways to grasp the rope and it was time for the match to begin! Both teams fought their hardest but their was only one winner, THE BLUE TEAM (ap and ross team btw). We enjoyed the few minutes celebrating the hard fought competition and went back to our rooms to enjoy some free time. Some of us were playing games with the volleyball in the pool while others played pool in the game room. We had our daily mentor groups and games and enjoyed playing Rock-Paper-Scissors and we practiced our spanish with each other.
It was dinner time:)! We ate rice beans as usual and split up into our mentor groups to spend some quality time with each other. We finished up the day by taking shots (lemonade btw) and enjoyed the lovely music at the bar. Pura Vida!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Written by Leaders of the Day: Mia and Belle
We started off with a later breakfast at 8 am. Quickly after, we were ready for service on the beach. Today we worked on planting coconut palm trees and almond trees into the sand. The beach is closeby to our hotel so the impact made today was right where we are staying. Once we were all hot and sandy we walked back to our hotel to shower and fuel up for the rest of our day. After lunch, we had some free time when some people decided to take a final dip in the pool before we leave Parrita tomorrow.
After free time, we headed to our cooking class where we met Lulu, and got introduced to the process of making chorreadas. Lulu told us about what it’s like being one of the most impactful woman leaders in her community and what she’s gained from her experiences.
Next, we came back to our hotel and gathered together for the pura vida circle where we talked about new phrases we wanted to learn in Spanish. Soon after, we split into our mentor groups and reflected on what we learned about ourselves and our communities on this trip. We also covered what knowledge we plan on bringing back home.
Following mentor groups, we ate a quick dinner so we could get into our final leadership activity where we talked about our OMG (One Meaningful Goal!). First, we discussed the main points brought up in our mentor groups as a whole. Next, we broke down the stop light technique. Red shows something you will stop doing in order to achieve your goal, yellow shows something that you will continue to do, and green shows something you should start doing. We broke up into groups sharing our ideas on how we can continue to do our part after this trip concludes. In a final circle, we came together to encapsulate the ideas of our group which was based on involving ourselves more in our communities. Whether it was joining or starting clubs, doing volunteer work, or raising money for marine conservation efforts. Afterward, everyone spent some time hanging out by the bar, playing pool, and foosball as our final night in Parrita came to a close.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Written by Chelsea, International Director
It was an incredibly full and beautiful final day on program! We began the day with our final community service, continuing to plant trees along the beach to combat rising tides and erosion. I estimate about 100 trees were planted by the group. These will help hold the beach together and protect turtle nesting grounds. (Fun fact: turtles go back to the beaches they were born to lay eggs. If there’s no beach…. that’s kind of a problem). At the end, we cleaned up microplastics that had washed up on the shore that threaten turtles as well because they tend to eat them not knowing it’s not a food source. So it was a great conservation morning! However, it was quite hot so we ended our time a little early to grab showers before lunch.
Our final meal in Parrita happened to be my favorite of the week: lasagna, with salad and garlic bread. Although hot food in a hot place isn’t always favorable, this meal was so delicious many asked for seconds.
Fully packed, cleaned, and fed, we hopped on the bus and made our 3 hour journey back to Alajuela/San José and our final destination: Hotel Robledal. Of course the GLA playlist created by students was on full blast. 🙂
Upon arrival, students got dressed up for our final evening together. It was a celebration of our community and experience in Costa Rica. We had an Appreciation Circle where statements were read and those in the middle tapped the shoulders of those in the circle (facing outward) who embodied those statements. This is one of my favorite activities because it leaves us all with warm fuzzies. Post Circle, we gathered for a program feedback form and our final dinner – chicken, rice, beans, and salad with chocolates for dessert. Delicious!
We ended the night with a sorpresa for the students: Costa Rican dancing! After watching about a 30 minute show of traditional dance by 3 pairs, the dancers invited us to join in – so we did! Another 30 minutes flew by as we showed off our newly acquired salsa and merengue skills, laughing and dancing away.
What a beautiful final night together in Costa Rica after a lovely two weeks with these young leaders. They were a great group and I loved seeing the bonds that formed.
With some early flights tomorrow we’re saying many goodbyes tonight. Soon you’ll get to hear all about these adventures from your young leader as they return home. Hope travel day goes well for all!