Monday July 2, 2018
Hola Dear Parents!
We couldn’t have started our Soccer program in a better way! All of our students have arrived and are at the Home Base with us. Airport procedures were smooth and the drive to Playa Flamingo was beautiful. Katelyn’s bag didn’t arrive but we’re expecting it to be here tomorrow and she’s being a trooper about it!
Even though everyone was tired after a long day of travel, we all enjoyed a delicious dinner together, played some fun name games and icebreakers, and shared some important information regarding safety and our schedule for tomorrow.
Stay tuned for more news!
Christina, Ferney, and Luismi (el equipo)
Tuesday July 3, 2018
After our first gallo pinto breakfast, we jumped straight into our Community Agreement and setting the foundation for our program. We also did a few team building activities and icebreakers. We then traveled to our Community Service site for a short visit and got a better idea of what we’ll be working on this week.
Lunch took place back at the Home Base while watching the Colombia – England soccer game (Ferney and Luismi were very sad). We then went to a nearby hotel for a “pool party”, which turned out to be a swim test to ensure all students knew how to swim and it was safe to bring them to the beach. Our awesome driver Alex then took us to the beautiful Playa Flamingo where we swam, played volleyball and soccer, and enjoyed the beach next to many Costa Rican tourists.
Our amazing cook Veronica delighted us with some homemade pizza and our Mentors had prepared some interesting and fun evening activities around leadership and community service.
Wednesday July 4, 2018
Today we had our first Community Service session! It went very well. Our long-term project involves upgrading a basketball court and surrounding areas in the community center of a small town called Brasilito. Today we started by washing the court – a very important step in preparation for painting it. We also collected some big tree branches from the surrounding area and some trash. At the end we got to play soccer for a little bit in the field that’s next to the basketball court.
In the afternoon we went to the La Paz School for our first soccer practice. The first part consisted of a couple of friendly matches with little kids from the school, where our students took on the role of leaders and shared some very valuable moments with the younger players. We then had our own practice with coach Danielle that ended with a very tight match (so tight it ended in penalty kicks!).
Stay tuned for more updates!
Thursday July 5, 2018
Today we started the day surfing! We did a little chant before leaving the Home Base to increase our chances of having good waves and it totally worked. Our local surfing instructors were great at teaching us the basic skills and keeping us safe at the same time. We surfed for about 1.5 hours and then had some free time in beautiful Playa Grande. Everyone had a blast!
After we had lunch back at the Home Base, we went back to Brasilito to continue working on our service project. Today we finished washing the court and we got it ready for the next step: painting!.
Back at the home base some of us attended a yoga class while others chilled around the campus. After dinner we had a guest speaker who led a very interesting workshop about sports leadership.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Friday July 6, 2018
Today we did a different kind of community service project. We visited the Monkey Park. Here we learned a lot about wildlife rehabilitation in Costa Rica and got a few laughs out trying to get the talkative parrots to repeat our words. Our work consisted of moving and painting some rocks to mark paths, painting a few walls, and collecting grass and branches. Everyone worked hard and had a great time!
Back at the Home Base we ate lunch and watched Brazil get eliminated from the world cup. Some people were sad and some were happy. Either way, we all agreed it was a fantastic game.
In the afternoon we had a very intense soccer practice with coach Moreira that left everyone tired and ready for dinner and bed.
Oh yeah, and thanks to Aidan for being born on July 6th! We all sang Feliz Cumpleaños to him and ate some delicious homemade cake that our chef Verónica made.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Saturday July 7, 2018
Saturday was a very productive day for our GLA students. They started the day hosting a soccer clinic for children from a local community. This awesome opportunity allowed them to take on leadership roles to coordinate different soccer drills, as well as showcase their soccer experience and talent with the local youth. Afterwards, the students had a formal soccer practice with our FIFA certified coaches. This incredible experience was one to remember as the students were fully immersed in the local culture and, of course, the breathtaking jungle and greenery of the Guanacaste region.
The excitement continued into the afternoon as the students started the next step in the service project – painting the basketball court! The students’ goal for the day was to complete the base layer and paint half of the court. Working together as a team, they successfully completed it!
To top off the rewarding day, we walked down to the local beach in Brasilito to cool off in the water and play beach fútbol. It was as if mother nature wanted to recognize the students for all of their hard work and achievements, for the students enjoyed the most outstanding sunset thus far of the trip. And they deserved it!
Sunday July 8, 2018
This weekend we went on a short two-day excursion to La Fortuna. It started with a quick breakfast, then we got on a 6 hour bus ride. Everyone was so energetic and eager to go.
We briefly stopped at a small restaurant for lunch and saw the cutest puppies. After lunch we got a chance to buy some wonderful souvenirs to bring home.
When we got to the Magic Mountain hotel we got the opportunity to relax by the pool and enjoyed a free pineapple drink. We also got a chance to check our phones with the wifi.
We ended the day at the Baldi Hot Springs where we ate dinner at a buffet. After dinner we explored the hot springs and had fun on all the water slides.
Monday July 9, 2018
After our long night at the hot springs we had a great night of sleep. We woke up the next morning and had breakfast, then checked out awaiting a ziplining trip at the Arenal volcano.
The beginning of the zipline was really scary but after the first one everyone got over their nerves and had so much fun. We also got a lot of great pictures. We rode across 7 ziplines and for the best view of the whole jungle and a few waterfalls. After the ziplines we enjoyed a nice lunch before getting back on the bus.
The bus ride home was another 6 hours but we had a lot of good talks. We arrived back at home base with the sweet smell of Veronica’s delicious food. We were all so tired, but Veronica’s food fueled us up in time for another night of great sleep.
Blogs by: Drew Wong with collaboration by Hannah Chang and the three amigos (Esteban Sanchez, Justin Quiroz, and Drew Wong).
Tuesday July 10, 2018
Our second official week of service began today. We finished painting the final half of the basketball court. It was hot out, but with great attitudes and determination we finished with ease.
We arrived back at the Homebase in time to watch the France vs. Belgium semifinal world cup match. France’s victory put Wyatt, Sierra, and Simon at the top of our World Cup bracket competition, or Totogol as it’s known in Latin America.
Our day ended with a 5 vs 5 tournament on a local turf field. We played short 5-minute games against each other and a local team. Overall, it was another exciting day of service and soccer in Costa Rica.
-Kelsey and Aidan S.
Our Wednesday began bright and early with a 7am strength and conditioning class with two local personal trainers. It was very difficult, but certainly worth it.
After a quick breakfast, we headed out for service. We split into two groups: one group began outlining the futsal court while the other group worked with a local youth summer camp.
We again came back to Homebase to watch the England vs Croatia world cup semifinal match and eat lunch. Our day continued with a beach soccer tournament and some fun beach time. Finally, Veronica treated us all to a cooking class, where we made delicious empanadas, pico de gallo and guacamole. We ended our day well fed and ready for our next adventure.
-by Kelsey and Aidan S.
Thursday July 12, 2018
Another day of service began with a filling breakfast of cheese omelettes cooked by our wonderful chef Veronica. Paint was running low for the basketball court so instead we painted trees 1 meter high with white paint with the purpose of preventing insect infestation. We split into two groups: one to continue painting trees and the other worked with kids from the local community at a summer camp. In order to learn more about volcanoes, we walked to the beach so the kids could create their own with baking soda and vinegar. After an hour the painting group switched with the group playing with the kids, we then headed back to home base for lunch and preparations for our upcoming scrimmage with another service group.
The game took place at a nearby school with yours truly winning 2-0. The goals were scored by Wyatt and Diego (assisted by our wonderful coach Danielle). After the hard-fought game both teams returned to Home base for dinner. A little while after our “season 2” friends left, we had our very own dance class where we learned 3 different types of Latin American dance: meringue, salsa, and batchata. It was quite the workout, everyone ended up sweaty and tired after having so much fun dancing. Everyone headed back to the dorms for a good night’s sleep after a very full day.
-by Sierra and Wyatt
Friday July 13, 2018
On Friday we woke up to a wonderful breakfast made by our amazing chef Veronica. At 9 we hopped on the bus to our last day of service. We met a Costa Rican native friend named Kenyum, who helped us paint the basketball court. After a few hours we finished our part of the basketball court cementing our mark on the community.
After lunch we had an hour to rest and get hyped for the big soccer game against a U17 Costa Rican team at Libera stiadium. We picked up the team on the way and then we were off. About 2 hours later we arrived at the stadium and immediately headed towards the home locker rooms. Everyone suited up in their GLA shirts, even some customizing them, and took the field. Unfortunately we were no match for them and lost 4-0, but Ferney’s apples on the sideline and Sierra’s flip throw kept our spirits up. When the game was over, we got on the bus and headed home after a long day.
We dropped off the other team and went right to our dinner of chicken fried rice and beans. At this point everyone was so exhausted, so the councelors gave us the night off in preparation for our big day on Saturday!
-by Abby and Aidan F.
Saturday July 14, 2018
What an incredible and adventure filled day! Although we woke up bright and early to have breakfast at 6:30am, we knocked right back out on the 7:00am bus ride. A few hours later, we arrived at the Tenorio River for white water rafting. It was majority of the group’s first time rafting, so we knew this would be super fun (to watch people fall in)!
We boarded small rafts of up to 8 people and were introduced to our entertaining guides. They loved to splash us, make jokes and scare us with jungle animal noises. And yes, we did see animals. We spotted snakes, howler monkeys, tiger heralds, tilapia and – the absolute favorite – a tarantula! When one of the rafts spotted a tarantula, their guide threw a big leaf into the raft and made everyone believe it was the tarantula. The reactions were hilarious and unforgettable. Another raft passed under a large tree that smelled like a skunk; turns out that smell was a family of sloths! If we didn’t get to see a sloth, at least we were able to smell one. Overall, the currents were perfect and we even cascaded down a 12ft waterfall. And to top it off, we all (safely) flipped over. We even had one champion hold the record for falling in three times. Be sure to check out the photos for the best reactions!
On our way back from rafting we stopped at a local souvenir shop before heading to Plawya Potrero for our farewell dinner. We enjoyed the perfectly warm water of Costa Rica one last time and seized the sunset by taking endless photos. No words, only photos, can truly describe the emotions we were feeling as we captured our last moments together. After dinner, we wrapped up the evening with inspirational parting words from our mentors and quality time with our closest friends and newest family. From our deepest hearts, thank you to all the GLA students for making the first Costa Rica: Soccer Beyond Borders experience one-of-a-kind, unforgettable and absolutely life changing. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and can’t wait to watch you change the world!