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 30
This is your crew from Dominican Republic the Caribbean Sea Conservation Project! And we are excited to start session 1 of summer 2023!
Today is the first day of the program, everything is ready for our students to arrive and start experiencing Dominican Republic! This morning we started pick ups at the airport and everyone arrived safe and they had opportunity to hang out and rest after a long journey to this beautiful Caribbean island. We played cards, had some pizza at the airport and a dinner at the home base. It was a great opportunity to start making new friends! After that we had a briefing for tomorrow and most people decided to go to rest right after.
All of the students shared that a long day of traveling tired them, but they are all super enthusiastic and looking forward to the adventure and service days to come!
We are ready for the 12 days of service learning , lifelong memories, and deep friendships that await.
We hope that you will enjoy using this blog as a way to experience this journey with us!
From the excited DR Caribbean Sea Conservation Project team,
Mag (International director)
Luis (Local director)
Bekah, Leah, Pam, Hector
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1
Written by Evan S., Zoe C., and Owen O.
We started the day off early, eating a traditional Dominican breakfast of scrambled eggs, Dominican sausage, and delicious mangu. After everyone finished, we met up at orientation to discuss the guidelines of our trip, and well as playing a few exciting icebreakers!
After our morning deliberation, our group walked down the cobblestone streets of Santo Domingo, where we indulged in an authentic buffet of local dishes. Soon after, campers had the opportunity to visit a local shop to provide basic necessities, and soon we embarked on a long 4 hour journey to Samana.
In the busses, students got the chance to get to know each other a little better by playing games such as two truths and a lie and engaging in some exciting conversation
Once we finally arrived after making many new friends, we arrived at our home base. Students enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by local ladies. Later, the leaders of the day stepped up and talked about what it means to be to be part of the GLA community.
Once everyone has been acquianted, we got into our mentor groups, and discussed our mental and physical health. Afterwards, everyone went back to their respective villas and had a well earned rest!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
Written by Alexis N., Sophie E., & Annalise M.
Today was our first official and full day in Samana. Last night we learned our roomates and got settled into our homes. We started our morning with at 7:30 with some traditional Dominican fruits, meats, cheese, and juice. Then, we met up to discuss the schedule and plan for the day before leaving to meet CEBSE at the whale museum!
Here we learned about different types of whales, mangroves, coral, fish and what exactly we would be doing for reef conservation. In addition to this, students played engaging games to help reinforce what we had learned. In a game about whale identification, a team won cool t-shirts that they will take home as a souvenir to remember their trip!
Later in the afternoon, we all went to lunch right on the ocean and enjoyed delicious rice, beans and chicken. After lunch we returned back to whale museum and watched a few videos about fish.
After these activities, we headed back to home base and changed into our bathing suits for our swim tests at the beach! Luckily… everyone passed! After the beach we showered and got ready for a delicious dinner. Later in the night, students met for a chow circle to reflect on the trip so far, and ended the day with Dominican Culture Night!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Naomi A., Jack F., & Cathal B.
The day started with a great breakfast of sausages pancakes cereals and fruits, shortly after breakfast we traveled to the shopping center in Samana. The group purchased mainly hats and swim trunks.
After this we picked up supplies C.E.B.S.E and headed to the service location where we were split into three different locations. The activities included kayaking, mangrove greenhouse restoration and trail maintenance.
Following we went to a local restaurant for lunch where we had Dominican arepas, beans and rice as well as chicken and salad.
Before returning back to home base we took a pit stop at an ice-cream shop across from the water. Everyone enjoyed their well deserved ice-cream and some even ordered in Spanish.
Finally after the long day we returned to home base where we were able to shower and take a refreshing break in the pool. Everyone gathered in the yard to do our chow circle and reflect on the day. Lastly we had dinner with consisted of pico de gallo, homemade guacamole, tortillas, chicken and mac n cheese.
The rest of the night students had free time to hangout and have a well deserved chill time. All in all it was a great day!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
Written by Kaitlyn M., Imogen W., Leila R.
Today we had the opportunity to challenge ourselves and our fears as well as having so much fun. Even though we started the morning with a downpour of rain everyone was still in good spirits and excited for zip lining.
The experience was super positive, with many extraordinary views and the brilliant local tours guides making the experience enjoyable and as stress-free as possible. At the beginning many of us were nervous and scared, but the support of the group, and they way everyone came together carried us through. After a long, steep and difficult hike up the mountain, it was all worth it!.
Even though the day didn’t exactly go to plan with a display of thunder and lightening preventing us from swimming. We had enjoyed lunch by the beach, and bonded over running through the rain, and stopped for an ice cream.
Some people headed to the pool, whilst some decided to take a well deserved shower. We then all met for a very special dinner, where our lovely hosts incorporated American elements into our dinner to help us celebrate the 4th of July, creating a home away from home, and allowing even the students born outside of the US to celebrate. After dinner we will have a debate simulation related to mangrove and coral protection.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Vivian, Ava, & James
Today we started the day with an exciting snorkeling excursion in a reef near the shore, when get through a sandy but full of sargasso to arrive at that place and finally we took our masks and fins and jumped into the water.
We saw many fishes and coral, including brain coral, yellowtail perrotail, doctor fish and princess parrotfish. The water and the experience was very refreshing.
Next, we picked up trash that floated from the sea. We focused on plastic bottles because they were meant to be recycled. Afterwards, we went on a scenic drive to lunch at a beach. Here we ate delicious local dishes to Samana. We then learned about exotic species such as almond trees and coconut trees while collecting seeds to spread from an endangered native species, by the way, we pulled out the invasive species from the beach.
We Also we learned about the importance of keeping turtle nests safe. Less than 0.1% of turtles survive. We went swimming on the beach and drank yummy virgin piña colada. Then, we went back to Homebase and ate yummy dinner. We played a very fun game of red rover. Now we are writing this blog!
Our spanish WOD were….
Papel de bano- toliet paper
Como estas- how are you?
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Sam, Lizzy, & Sara
We started off our day with a delicious breakfast bright and early at 7:30am so we could be out for service. Once we arrived at Orqui and Antu´s farm (finca), we met their 3 adorable children, and split up into 2 separate groups, and were tasked with different activities such as weeding, chopping and dropping plants, watching premaculture presentations, planting, and others.
In the permaculture group, we used different tools to complete tasks around the farm (finca). We were given pickaxes to soften soil in the ground which made the ground safe to plant trees that defend the environment and the ecosystem. Some of us also used machetes and clippers to cut off branches that we planted into the soil after. We also learnt about natural building, made a mix and started working on a wall!
This process is extremely important not only for the conservation of land, but also the ocean. When you farm without pesticides, the harmful chemicals wont get in the ocean through the wáter cycle.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Written by Neve, Josie and Grace
We started off the day by getting to sleep in until 8:30, then we had our delicious breakfast. For the morning, we had the option to go to town or the beach for some free time until 11. After the free time we boarded the bus to go for an amazing lunch in the mountains where we had an opportunity to buy some souvenirs.
After lunch, we went on a hike to a waterfall. The hike was challenging but the stunning views were worth it. When we arrived at the waterfall, we got in the water and swam for a bit. We took in the fantastic views and then hiked down.
A few students chose not go on the hike and instead enjoyed a few nice card games with 2 of our amazing group leaders. We met up as a group and headed back to Homebase. On the way home we stopped for a nice treat and got ice cream. As part of our usual night time routine, we had a late dinner and a group circle sharing our highlight of the day and shout outs.
Overall today was a super fun and exhilarating day and we’re looking forward to tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Written by Gabrielle, Maggie, and Melina
This morning we woke up and had a quick breakfast. Then we headed out (on time) to our 3 kilometer hike and service site. During the trek in the scorching heat, we used our iNaturalist app to record all of our findings. These findings included different plants, animals and fruits.
The hike destination was Playa Fronton, a beautiful white-sand, blue-water beach where we had lunch and enjoyed cool, virgin Piña coladas. Lunch was great and we even got to explore a cave where we saw bats. After lunch we hopped on a bumpy boat to our snorkeling destination where we met with the CEBSE officials and observed some coral and fish. We got to see the coral nursery first-hand that we had been learning about prior. Once we wrapped up, we headed back to Las Galeras and made our way back home.
After a quick shower and a scrumptious last supper, we all headed to the beach to watch the sunset and take pictures. We shared our favorite parts of the day and gave shout-outs about our highlights of the day. We returned home to enjoy a traditional Dominican dessert. Overall this was a very memorable final day at our home base in Las Galeras.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9 & 10
Started off the day with breakfast and then had 3 hours to chill in and around the pool with the warm sun. We started to make our way back to Santo Domingo on a 3 hour bus ride. Shortly after arrival we headed off to do some shopping to help remember all the fun memories we created. After dinner, we had time with our mentor groups reflecting on our experiences on the trip and finished the night with a heart warming group activity called appreciation circle. We are all excited to go back home but also sad to leave our new friends behind.
-Last leaders of the day Alice and Sabrina
Hi family and friends! This is our last blog entry from the Caribbean Sea Conservation Project in Dominican Republic. Today we took a ferry across the Samana bay to Sabana, then got situated in our new home base for the night. After lunch we went in the hotel’s gorgeous pool to cool off. As we were getting ready to leave for a cave tour, storms rolled in cancelling our plans as we would need to take a boat to get there. For the rest of the afternoon we played games, participated in group activities, and got to know each other better under shelter. We ended the day with an amazing dinner, popcorn, and watched The Lorax, which was a hit!
-Alice and Robin Lucy