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
**Please note – This blog will be for both the 14-day program and the 21-day program.**
Click here to jump down to the most recent posts!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Safe and sound in our home-away-from-home!
A big first day for a big adventure. As we waited for our group to arrive throughout the day we had an opportunity to eat, relax, explore and take a peek at day-to-day Costa Rican life in a nearby mall.
A long drive to the Homebase gave us the chance to catch up on some rest and get to know one another before we arrived at the Homebase for a traditional Costa Rican meal and settled into our rooms.
We’re all excited for the adventures of the coming weeks.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Today we woke up a little later than we would normally wake up. This was because we got back late from the airport the night before. The travel was long but very much worth it. Today we had orientation and our group leaders helped us understand the code of conduct and we went over the rules and regulations.
We then did a trust-building game and that was very cool to see how all of us can work together. Throughout the day we all have mingled and got to know each other better. I found out some things about people that I had never thought that they would do or like. It was really cool to be with people from all over the USA and the world. Today we got to see where we are doing community service. We are going to be painting schools and touching up areas that need to be fixed up so the children can have the best school experience that they can have.
So far this program has made me expand my horizons with food and with my comfort zone. I got to jump off a platform into a lake today! That was something I have never done before. After that we then played a game that i had proposed and it was a game to just get to know everyone better. I was the first person in the group, to become the leader of the day. I cannot wait to see what the next weeks have to offer me and to see what i can get out of it.
– Elah Block
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
With breakfast at 7, the group started the day off strong heading straight to our service project at the local school. Before working, we played “the camping game” where everyone had to think outside the box to figure out a pattern by deciphering what they can or can’t bring to the “camping trip”. At the school we focused on scrubbing and powerwashing the sidewalks in order to prepare for painting. After long hours work, many headed straight back to the lake too cool off and have some fun jumping off the platform. The lake was just what everyone needed to refresh our bodies and minds for the rest of the day.
Eventually, it was finally time for our long-awaited covid tests. On the way to the testing site, we stopped by a grocery store where students bought some treats to share and snack on. We also visited the breathtaking Arenal Volcano in Fortuna where students photographed the lush and georgous sight. After the tests, we were all so excited to hear that everyones came back negative! We immediately pushed our tables together so that we could all finally eat together.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
After pancake breakfast, we split into two groups, 6 of us went to the small school thst we have been in yesterday , and the 16 rest of us went to the bigger school. At both of the schools we where cleaning the walls and floors, and scraped off the old paint from the walls and painted over it, we also fixed the cracks on the walkways. It was hot weather but we enjoyed the service a lot.
After service and lunch, we had free time that we used for bonding together so we chatted and played cards together. After that we went to the nearby “Casa Española” , where Alfredo, our local leader, taught us about Costa Rican history and told us about the coffee history in Costa Rica. At the end we were lucky to have an opportunity to taste the original coffee that is naturally grown here in Costa Rica.
We then went to chill at the lake and after that we had the Leader Of The Day Activity. The activity included funny screaming game and then another two activities that made us understand that for truly understanding a person or a culture we need to get actually to get to know it and not just to look at it from outside.
At the end of the day we had dinner and meaningful mentor groups, and then we went to sleep, and that was the end of our 4th day.
-Casey Matushevsky 🙂
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
After breakfast, we split into proportionate groups. More people go to the bigger school about 10 minutes away where we helped local cleaners with school renovation. Today, specifically, we power washed, deep cleaned classrooms, and finished painting the cafeteria.
After service and an early lunch, we went horseback riding with an amazing view of the Arenal volcano. The journey was about 3 hours and had amazing majestic views of Costa Rica. The cowboys led us on the road and through rocky trails. After that, we picked up some locally inspired snacks.
Before dinner, we did a fun, competitive, game that reinforced trust within the group and ignited a good laugh. Within partners, one was blindfolded and one had boundaries to stay outside of. The person with sight had to make sure their partner avoided obstacles on the course using their words.
After dinner, one of the mentors instructed a leadership activity focusing on traits leaders have and how they reinforce them in specific scenarios. This day was so fun and left everyone exhausted. Cheers to another great day in Costa Rica.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Breakfast this morning was bright and early at 6:30 am! Everyone was pumped and ready for tubing down the river. We all loaded into the bus and headed to the tubing location. We all had an amazing time floating down the river, going on rapids and looking at the amazing wildlife around us. After tubing, we headed back to base for lunch.
Right after lunch, it was time for the leader of the day activity (me!) I loved planning this one it was so much fun. There were two teams of ten, the blue team and the green team. Each team was given a riddle to solve in order to find a location. Once the team made it to the location they would have to complete a task. The first team to make it back to me won, and by a close call, the red team made it back first with the green team not far behind. After the activity, we all went swimming in the lake and jumping off the dock, which seems to be everyone’s favorite activity during free time.
After swimming we all showered and got ready for cooking class. We cooked empanadas (they were so delicious) – our amazing cooking skills were put to the test. we all got to decorate and fry up our empanadas. Right after cooking class, we had more free time. Everyone learned a new card game from Lyla, Super fun! We played that in our free time.
Then we headed on to mentor groups! The most important part of the day. We got into our small groups with Clint and Sara and talked about different cultures. We learned through a game the whole group played together. We all had different “cultures” such as not making eye contact or taking a very long time to respond. Right after mentor groups, we had “chow circle” to give shout outs. Right now everyone is chilling and having a great time. Overall the day was amazing and fun-packed.
– Allen Douglas
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
This morning we got to have a later start than usual and ate breakfast at 8. Our plans had been uncertain due the chance of rain but we managed a 9 am departure to Pozo Verde, a small and tidy trout restaurant/trout farm with a beautiful 2-kilometre hike by Juan Castro National Park. On the way, we stopped at the local iguana lookout spot and shopped at the souvenir store and supermarket. After spending about 45 minutes there, we continued to Pozo Verde through thick fog and climbed about 2,000 kilometres in altitude. We passed many grazing cows and mountainside homes and about after an hour arrived at Pozo Verde.
After a short informational talk from the owner of the restaurant/farm, we started on our hike. It was so peaceful and we crossed over three bridges over creeks and took tons of pictures in the rain. When we arrived back at the restaurant we all had trout fresh from the farm with coleslaw and rice which was super good. We stopped to explore a local town where we had ice cream and churros on the way home before my activity. My activity was a 3 legged relay race to fill up a bucket with water and whichever team won would get to dump their water on the program Direcctor, Ben. It ended up being a close call so we let one team dump the water on me and the other dumped theirs on Ben. It was so hot so we all jumped in the lake and had some free time before dinner.
After dinner we did a fun game where we had 3 minutes to get to know another person and then we would switch people so that we could all get to know each other better. It was super fun and I learned a lot about the others that I hadn’t known. In our mentor circles we talked about what we learned about each other and what surprised us. It is almost bed time and I would say the day was an overall success and super fun!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
Today was a fun-filled day where we feel like we got a little mix of everything and really did the whole shabongal! We started the day with service where we got to meet all 11 kids for the very first time. They all go to the local school we have been fixing up throughout the week. It was really cool to meet the people we are directly impacting. After introducing ourselves we paired up with kids and helped them learn different English words by drawing and playing different games! After that we broke into groups and each planned lessons that we will be teaching them throughout the remainder of the trip. After the students went home, we continued to clean and repair the school.
We went right from service to the next fun thing! We threw on our suits and headed to a local natural hot spring where we relaxed, chatted, and learned more about Costa Rica. Just as we were leaving we got super lucky and the clouds finally moved out of the way so we could see the top of the volcano. On our bus ride back we took a quick pit stop at a local market and restocked our in-room snack cabinets!
After a long day of service and hot springing we headed back to homebase and did an activity planned by me! We kicked up our feet, relaxed our heads, and coated our faces with homemade facemasks. This really hit the spot because we have all been working so hard we needed some relaxation! Next we all sat down for dinner and recapped our eventful day. After dinner we split into mentor groups which is a way to sit down and really get to know each other deeper.
We all can not believe the experiences we are all having and the friends we are meeting. We all think about on a daily basis how lucky we are to be able to have this opportunity. We know how lucky we are and are soaking in every minute we have. Life is good and we can’t wait to keep making memories, laughing our brains out, and having the best times of our lives!
– Lyla Adelstein
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
Today was filled with a lot of hard work. It was the first day we were able to be in the classroom teaching the students. The twenty of us were split into groups to plan different lessons. Two groups were able to teach in classrooms today while the third worked on a restoration project of the school benches.
After service we got the opportunity to visit a local dairy farm. Here we were able to learn about the production of dairy products up close and what the day to day life of a local farmer is like.
Once we got back to home base we were able to go swimming in the lake as a group. Before dinner a mentor led the group through an excersize to better understand the issues individuals face in agricultural export and pverty face. Then the group enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner, and played bonding game.
– Cammi Cooper
BLOG POST FOR JULY 14
Today was another early wake up call for us, having to be at breakfast at 7. After we ate, we split into our groups and got ready to make our way to the schools, with the majority of us going to the big school, and the rest to the smaller school. We split our time there with half teaching and half working on cleaning or painting. Most of us were able to be introduced to a fresh set of half-covered faces when meeting the students. After our time at the school we made our way back to get ready for lunch.
After we finished eating, we got set up and began to play a game of capture the flag which lasted quite a while to say the least. This was immediately followed by a VERY intense workout disguised as dancing. These exhausting hours were followed by some time spent at the lake to cool off, swim and kayak. We were able to kayak right up to a family of howler monkeys in the trees along the shore. They are very loud and the baby monkey was very cute.
We ended our sweat inducing day with mentor groups at 6pm and then dinner at 7. We’re about to hit the half way point of our three weeks here and it’s safe to say that if the second half of our stay here was anywhere as good as the first, we’re bound to come back with more than enough memories to share at home.
– By Rohan Cheerla
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
Written by Avery Smith
Today was my birthday! After waking up to a beautifully decorated breakfast area, I was surprised with candles in my “pancake cake” to begin my day. Shortly after breakfast, we headed to the animal rescue sanctuary to get an up-close look at the wildlife surrounding us here in Costa Rica. To name a few, we got to see spider monkeys, ocelots, tapirs, many turtles, a couple of rabbits, tons of parrots, and a puma. It was very interesting to see these types of animals up close, and Alba was a great guide for helping us understand the importance of rescuing these animals. After, we headed to what seems to be everyone’s favorite place… the grocery store. Once everyone stocked up, we went back home for lunch.
We had some free time after our amazing lunch. Everyone took this opportunity to swim in the lake, call home, catch some rays, hang out with friends, and some even napped. Relaxing time was definitely needed after the very energetic and tiring day we had yesterday. Then, we got into mentor groups and talked about the difference in the knowledge of someone who is working on the farms vs someone who is just buying the foods that have been produced from them. A very important talk on knowledge of where your food is coming from came from this, with the perspective of the farmer and the consumer kept in mind. After, we all got ready for the big “surprise” pool party.
We all headed over to Casa Española to swim and celebrate my 18th! We swam in the pool until around 5:45 so that we had time to shower and get ready for a dressed-up dinner back at Casa Española. Everyone was told to wear their nicest clothing for our homemade Costa Rican “chipotle” dinner. Huge thanks to Lyla & Cammi for this idea, since they know how much we all love chipotle back at home. Once we created our own bowls/burritos and ate some delicious cake, we set out for a dance party. Alfredo let us use his huge speaker and we did our best model walks and dance moves, up until it was time to leave. Since we were very excited about the party, we had forgotten to do our “chow circle” and shout-outs… so we went back home to do those.
I gave a big shoutout to everyone for making this birthday one of the best and expressed how grateful I am to have spent it here with all of my new friends. Then, it was time for a long-awaited talent show. As the judge, I can confidently say that all of the contestants did amazing. Whether it was a song from Lemonade Mouth, Ben on the guitar, a Kanye performance from Allen, an unexpected remix from Paige & Cammi, or the boys singing My Boo… they were all winners. The boys did come out on top though, with a score of 33 blowing away all their competition.
Today was the exact middle of our trip, and I can say that everything we have done and experienced has definitely passed any possible expectations we could’ve had before coming here. I’m excited to see where the second half takes us.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Today was a beautiful day like any other. Service was as gratifying and fun as always, we worked and played with the children and discovered how challenging it was to keep a classroom in check. I know we’ve all been able to empathize with our past teachers in the last couple of days.
For our outing today we went to an absolutely beautiful pineapple plantation. We learned about the trials and tribulations of growing Costa-Rican pineapples and even got to taste some picked right out of the fields. We finished off the tour with fresh (non-alcoholic) Pina Coladas.
To end our day we had a fashion show but with a twist: everyone had to dress up as members of our program. While obviously having fun we all learned the importance of hard work, community and leading with compassion.
– by Marley Marshall
BLOG POST FOR JULY 17
Today some of us woke up early and started the day right with a good workout. After breakfast, we headed off to go zipline through the rainforest. When we arrived at the ziplining site it began pouring rain but that didn’t stop us from having a good time. Once we were done ziplining we had the opportunity to rappel down a cliff which many of us took and really enjoyed.
When we got home, we ate lunch and had a dance competition for my leader of the day activity. After the dance competition, the mentors led a meeting where we discussed our goals whether they were big or small for the future. Later we had some free time which some spent in the lake and others playing games or listening to Ben play the guitar.
In the night we had a bonfire and participated in an appreciation circle. One takeaway from the appreciation circle was that sometimes we don’t realize how much we mean to other people and how we make a difference in one another’s life. Shortly after the appreciation circle ended, we had a hugging circle for Marley and Jack’s farewell.
– Sienna Robie
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
We started today with a relaxing breakfast and then made four teams and headed over to the small school to play a soccer tournament. By the time the games were over, everyone was very hot so we headed straight for our lake for an hour. After that, time for lunch and then we drove to the Rio Frio/Caño Negro to take a long boat tour. Before we started, we drove a short distance to the Nicaragua border because we had some time and wanted to see it. From the boat we saw howler, capuchin and spider monkeys, so now we have seen all the local species. We also saw a sloth and other wildlife.
The drive back was long but relaxing because of the sunset and heavy rain during the night. Once we got back, we enjoyed dinner during a heavy rainstorm, prepared for someone’s birthday tomorrow, and headed to our rooms to journal and get an early night for service tomorrow.
-by Tate Secrest
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Today a group of us started our day off nice and early by decorating for Kirya’s birthday. We made her stay in her room and we all sat at the breakfast table and sang dancing queen by ABBA as she walked out of her room. Breakfast was a delicious pancake breakfast and, of course, served with rice, beans, and eggs as well.
After that, we headed out to service. We were back in our original groups and got to teach some new material. Those that didn’t teach were busy painting walls and benches. We were so focused and on task that we had no time to take photos during service. Then we headed home and enjoyed rice, beans, steak, salad, and avocados, for lunch. We then had to hurry over to a new hot spring. This one was very different from the last one. It was all man-made and had different temperature choices. A fan favorite was the cold pool that had two big slides. We spent a couple of hours soaking in the pools and then learned how they process cacao beans from a cool German guy.
We then drove home and quickly shifted to my LOD activity. While off to a rough start it quickly became a great lesson for us all. Soon dinner was ready, we walked up to Casa Espanola. A birthday request from Kirya was to have pizza for dinner, so Alfredo and Ivania made us delicious homemade pizza. Then we had some cake and did chow circle. After a busy day, we were all ready to go to bed, so we headed home and had a quick mentor group discussion before heading off to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 20
Today we had a lot of opportunities to think about ourselves as leaders. We spent the first half of the day rafting on the Rio Balsa! We all had a great time in and out of the rafts, stopping along the way for a fruit picnic. We came back to home base for lunch and to hang out. After we ate we had some free time; some people went in the lake, some read, some napped, etc.
In the afternoon we had several leadership-based group activities. One involved thinking about how we each associate different things and situations in colour, and one about our time at GLA. Before dinner, we did an activity that allowed us to show our appreciation specifically to each person. During dinner, we got to listen to some live music in celebration of Leandro’s birthday!
Written by Piper
BLOG POST FOR JULY 21
Today we had breakfast at our regular time of 7 AM and prepared for our last day of service. Six of us made our way to the small school to teach an English lesson about food and work on painting the cafeteria and outer wall of the school. At the big school, half of us finished painting benches along with the box that supports the schools sign. The other half taught an English lesson about sports! We said one last goodbye and headed back to home base for lunch.
After lunch, we organized our things and began packing for our exciting overnight excursion to the beach. To get our energy up, we split into two teams and played a game of kickball! We even had two cheerleaders that helped motivate each team to play a respectful and competitive game. After many home runs, the red team claimed a well-deserved victory!
Following our tiring game of kickball, we all went and enjoyed one of our last lake days. There was a slightly rocky start considering two of our kayaks floated away. However, we did have a group of three brave people who took one of the two remaining kayaks and found the missing two. After a nice relaxing two hours on the lake, we all gathered around and chilled out until chow circle and an amazing homemade meal of taquitos and taco bowls. We finished off the night with a short mentor group session then headed to bed early, eager for our 6:30 departure the next morning.
– Anna Temple
BLOG POST FOR JULY 22
This morning, we had an early start because we wanted to have the most time at the beach. The bus ride was about four hours, but we were all so tired that we slept most of the way there. We stopped halfway through at a popular local coffee stop before continuing our journey to the region of Guanacaste.
When we arrived, we separated into our rooms. Everyone was so excited because we got to room with different people than at the home base. After settling in, we had an hour of free time before lunch, so some of us checked out the beach while everyone else hung out by the pool. For lunch, we had the option of chicken, fish, or vegetarian with rice pudding and fruit for dessert.
At 2:30, we left for a different beach down the road for the remainder of the afternoon. As soon as we arrived, everyone ran to the water, but it was cold compared to the homebase lake. While some of us swam, others lounged on the sand to tan while a bunch of us played soccer with makeshift goals. Halfway through, a majority of us left the beach to go to the nearby market for snacks, while a few people stayed behind to explore the area around the beach. They went on a long walk down the beach and started to climb on the rocks. We stayed late on the beach to watch the sunset before returning to the resort for dinner. We had a little time before dinner, so we all jumped in the pool for a quick swim. We played a game to test how much we knew each other and then had chicken fights. After dinner, we had our chow circle and then headed to bed because we have another early morning tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 23
We woke up this morning in our beautiful hotel to the sun rise at 5:30 AM then had a quick breakfast and loaded onto the bus for our drive down the coast for snorkelling. We boarded the catamaran excitedly and quickly found square nets at the front to rest on while the boat sailed to the snorkelling sight. We were able to jump into the deep water which was fun. The crew members gave us maks, fins, and a pool noodle, and we jumped off the boat into the teal waters.
As we moved closer to some rocks near the shore, we saw dozens of colorful fish, coral, and a large group of sea urchins. We ate lunch on the boat and laid in the sun (lots of sunscreen was used per usual) and enjoyed the boat until we arrived back to the shore. Once there, the group split into 2, with one group going shopping at local stores, and the other spending more time on the beach. We joined up again to get on the bus and head back to homebase. After a long stormy journey to homebase we arrived for dinner.
After chowing down, the group moved inside to do my leadership activity, focussed on superlatives. We shared some laughs as everyone in the group received a “most likely to” that fit them best. At the end of the night, we tiredly made it to bed at and prepared for our last full day tomorrow 🙁
BLOG POST FOR JULY 24
Today we woke up and we had toast and pastries for breakfast. After breakfast we went to La Fortuna and some of us had their covid tests done while the rest of us went shopping and explored the town, after they finished doing the others had covid tests they also went shopping and explored. Then we came back to the home base for lunch. We then had some free time then we did a leadership activity in which we made a Brazilian dessert called Brigadeiro. Finally we had tacos for dinner and packed our big bags and loaded them onto the bus. Then we saw a super cute presentation of photos that Sara, our mentor, made of the trip. We played a game where we shared all our memories of each other, it was fun.
Paloma and Lucia