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.
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 throughout the program during designated spaces of time we call ‘tech time’. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location. 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.
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 13
This is Andrea Gallegos, the International Director for the Ocean conservation and Surf program in Costa Rica.
We are excited to have our students arriving for the first day of their 2-week adventure here with us. We have been picking up students since 5am, and we are still waiting for some students to arrive later tonight. We are staying in Alajuela, at a hostel about 20 minutes from the airport, and we will be leaving for Uvita, to our beautiful home base tomorrow at 7am. Today, students have been able to rest and start to get to know each other. Most of them were able to complete their swim tests as well. Furthermore, we have been meeting with students individually to perform a first-day health check, so we can see how to best support the needs of each student throughout the program.
Here are some pictures of happy and very tired campers!
Hallie, Kayna, Sean and Sydney are arriving later tonight – we are looking forward to having them join the group.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
My name is Natalie, I am one of the mentors of this program. We are so glad to finally have all of our students here, and after a night of much needed rest, we have started our program in earnest!
We woke up bright and early, ate breakfast, and piled into the buses to head to our home base for the next two weeks in Uvita – the Hotel Canto de Ballenas.
Uvita is a breathtakingly beautiful place on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, with rainforests, waterfalls, and beaches. On our way to home base we stopped at the Tarcoles River bridge, otherwise known as Crocodile bridge. People used to feed the crocodiles in the Tarcoles River from the bridge, and though that is no longer allowed crocodiles still hang out underneath and can be seen from above.
Our ride included a few other bathroom breaks and snack stops. Once we arrived to the home base we ate lunch, got settled into our rooms, and played a few icebreaker games to get to know each other better.
The rest of our day was mostly orientation, reviewing GLA policies and rules, as well as making our own community guidelines. We finished up the last of the swim tests and got to relax in the pool afterwards. Some of our students taught each other to make friendship bracelets, others played cards, and the rest just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of our home base.
Our dinner was delicious spaghetti, and for desert we had a surprise cake in celebration of Shark Day (July 14th in the USA) while we talked some about the importance of sharks within the ecosystem of the ocean and the meaning of keystone species. We finished the night with the students writing a “letter to myself,” which we will give back to them at the end of this program so that they can reflect on how their expectations and thoughts have changed since the beginning of our time together. Right now they are getting ready for an early morning of surf lessons.
After tonight, your children will be writing these blogs themselves!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
Written by leaders of the day: Eli, Kate & Anton
We woke up early in the morning to go surfing, it was so much fun!! We started our doing the basics and worked our way up to standing up. Everyone was able to stand up! The group has already made so much progress, and we have 3 lessons left. After a quick break, we went to a community walk led by Noi, a local guide who is working to integrate us into the community. We learned about the community, how it started and how it has changed over time. Then we hung out by the pool. After that, we ate dinner. Our surf instructor from this morning came as a guest speaker, and we learned important lessons on how to be responsible tourists by making a positive impact on the community we visit. Now we are ready to start community service tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Written by Augusta, Hensleigh, and Erik
Today we woke up at 7am and had a hearty breakfast. Then after that we did community service. This service included painting signs and chopping wood. We also learned how to use a machete! After that we had a fulfilling meal of fish and rice. After some free time we went to a man named David’s house for a coconut cooking lesson. It was so fun. We learned how to open, cook and make oil from the coconuts. We also learned how to make coconut milk (which is possible to do at home). Then we came back to our hotel and made grasshoppers out of leaves with our instructor Allan. Soon after, we had dinner and finished our night with a round of jeopardy and mentor groups.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Written by Juliette, Kayna, and Sean
We started our day by going surfing and having a traditional meal of pancakes. We had lunch and played a fun game of man hunt. After that we went to community service and in the middle of it we went outside in the rain and had fun on the slip and slide. Then we went back to work on the service painting. After dinner we watched an inspiring presentation on plastic in the ocean. We ended the day with our highlights of the day with our mentor groups. Overall it was a really fun day!
P.S. We have also added in a blog post for July 15 – scroll up to read!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Today was a little rough because it started off really rainy and we didn’t get to swim. However everyone decided to turn the day around and we ended up bonding at the pool and dinner. We all feel like we bonded as a group today and got so much closer. Everyday gets more and more fun and Costa Rica is starting to feel like home.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Written by Ria
Just a warning, if you don’t understand some of these phrases its because I’m from England. We all woke up refreshed after an 8:30am lie in. Not quite sure that actually counts as a lie in though… We headed to the pavilion for a delicious breakfast of rice, beans, cheese and toast. Sadly no tea. Everyone filled up to make sure we had enough energy for the big day ahead. Half of us got kitted up and headed to the beach for our third surf lessons whilst the other half also went to the beach for a beach clean up. Some of the most interesting findings included a rusty old sign and some diapers that probably smelled better before.
About an hour and a half later group two headed back to home base for a quick lunch before getting ready to surf. Group 1 finished their lesson while group 2 began their surf session. At 3:30pm Group 2 once again went back to home base and relaxed by the pool (and made a video you will all see at some point on the blog). Group 1 returned at 4:15pm and we all had an hour of free time together. In the evening we had a pulse check to anonymously see how we were all doing in terms of wellbeing and lodgings followed by chow circle and dinner. We were all really excited for the dance class afterwards and rightly so! Ana, the dance teacher taught us 5 types of dances; merengue, bachata, salsa, swing crayole, and a traditional folklore dance. It’s safe to say we had a great time. That was it for today and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s activities!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Written by Andrei
This morning we had pancakes and bananas. After that we went to a waterfall. We got to jump off a platform into the water and got to slide down the waterfall. Also we stuck our head behind the waterfall. Then, as a treat we got smoothies and empeñadas. We also went to a local market to get some souvenirs. After lunch we went to a coral conservation facility and they talked about their mission to preserve and rebuild the coral reefs. We went back to home base and did a shark tank activity. Finally, we had dinner, met with our mentor groups and went to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Written by Hallie
Today was a great day full of fun, adventure and learning. To start off today we all woke up at 6:45 for breakfast to get ready for our zipline adventure. Over the course of the Zipline tour the group got to experience waterfall views, rope obstacle bridges and much more. To end the adventure the group shared a snack and cheered each other on as we took turns on the Tarzan rope. After that we drove back to home base and had some lunch and free time. Next we had community service at home base due to an intense rain storm that hit our area and persisted throughout the evening.
We continued with our work of making environmental awareness signs that will later be put up around the local community. After community service us students took advantage of the rain. We set up a make-shift slip and slide with a tarp and some soap we found around home base. Following that we had a much needed dinner after a long day of activities. Later that evening the group decided to have a stay in night where we passed the time with many group activities such as Pirates of the Caribbean move night (which got cut short due to the rain storm making the power cut out), telling scary stories and having a relaxed dance class taught by one of our very own students Anton who is a pro in all Latin dance. After all our activities we headed off to bed to rest up for the next day of fun.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
Written by Sydney and Alex
Today we woke up at 6:30 and started the day with some yoga at home base. So relaxing! Everyone then hung out at the pool and many got burnt. Today was finally sunny and we took advantage of the weather. We tanner and read and then played soccer with the local team. We were no match for this team of kids. We then walked to the nearest ice cream shop to cool off. Later we played card games until dinner and ended the night with a big game of family fued.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
Written by Lola
We started the day with a surf lesson with the whole group which was sadly our last. But, it was so much fun! Then we had free time and relaxed. For lunch we had beans, rice seasoned chicken and vegetables. After lunch we had community service which was also out last, sadly. During community service we hung up the signs we have been working on for the past two weeks. On our way to the beach after service we saw alligators, monkeys and some chickens! The beach we visited was called the “Whale Tail”. It is called that because of its shape. We watched the sunset on the beach which was breathtaking. We then had dinner and reflected on our goals. what we aspire to be and changes we want to make. Then we went to sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Written by Kate and Jess
Dear avid GLA blog post readers,
It is the 24th of July. It was our last full day at home (base) in Uvita and therefore will be the final student written blog. We started our day at 5:30 in the morning. By 7am all of us were loaded on our beloved bus with our favorite driver Oscar and we’re driven to the dolphin tour base. From there we went to the national park beach and filed onto our boat. Our hour and a half boat ride quickly turned into two due to the sightings of two manta rays, followed by three humpback whales escorted by a pod of dolphins. We arrived at Caño island and almost immediately jumped into the water with some fabulous snorkeling gear. We spent the next 50 minutes looking at and observing loads of beautiful fish, two turtles, a (friendly) shark, a star fish, a couple of sea urchins, coral and a yellow puffer fish.
After 50 minutes we took a break on Caño island which for many students became the most beautiful and majestical place on earth. After our short break a majority of the students headed back into the water for more snorkeling while a few chose to remain on the peaceful island. On their second time snorkeling, the students came across a third species of turtle, LOTS of sea urchins and coral. Meanwhile the students back on the island enjoyed a coconut which they opened using only their hands and a rock. Once everyone was back on the boat we headed back to Uvita for a late lunch on the beach.
After everyone’s belly’s were satisfied, we drove back to home (base) where we proceeded with our daily routine of phone time, which has dramatically decreased from our usage at home :), chow circle and dinner. After dinner our mentors surprised us with several final activities. These were: love letters to ourselves which were later burned in our small bonfire (small, due to a sudden downpour of rain) an appreciation circle which granted the space for students to anonymously appreciate their peers and friends, and a thrilling dance/kareoke party in the dark near our previously mentioned small bonfire. After this long list of activities we were all sent to bed, however, because it was our final night at home (base) the mentors pushed back our curfew. By 11:30 everyone was peacefully sound asleep.
From all the GLA students on this Costa Rica adventure – over and out.