Submitted by Caroline, 2018 recipient of the “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship
This summer, my troop and I completed the Costa Rica and Panama Service Challenge. After almost three years of working to earn the funds, we finally had enough and couldn’t wait to travel to Costa Rica. We had a really amazing time, except for all of the bugs.
Once we arrived, we spent two days at base camp, just outside of the capital. After that, we took a seven-hour car ride into the rainforest. We all thought we were getting close to our destination, only to find that we still had to cross a river, and hike uphill. We brought with us many of the supplies that we needed for our service projects, including paint, cement, and tools. We had to carry all of our stuff up a hill. Finally, we had a break.
For the next three days, we worked on our projects, which were repainting their lunchroom, fence, and bathrooms. While we were in Talamanca, we also played soccer with the local kids and swam in the river. The river was bright blue and looked like it came out of a travel magazine.
After our time in Talamanca, we crossed the border into Panama and traveled up a river for a while to arrive at San San Pond Sac, a remote area that helps protect sea turtles and Mantatees. On our first and last nights there, we were able to release baby sea turtles into the ocean. That was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am extremely grateful that I was able to partake.
During the day in Panama, we stayed inside where there were no bugs and talked, made pineapple marmalade, and played on the beach. To further protect the wildlife, we also cleaned up the beach. Finally, we left Panama, crossed back into Costa Rica, and spent a day at their rainforest base. At last, the trip was over, we had to say goodbye to all of the amazing people that we had met throughout the trip, and went to the airport.
If I were to do the trip again, I would pack more bug spray, and lots of longs sleeves and long pants (not because it was cold, but to protect me from the bugs). Overall, this was an outstanding experience, and I would recommend it to every Girl Scout.
“Look Wider” International Travel Scholarships are made possible by the Rae Ann and Richard Dougherty Look Wider International Travel Fund Endowment at Rose Community Foundation. Thanks to this generous commitment, Girl Scouts of Colorado will award scholarships to girls every year.
Learn more about Girl Scout destinations and other international travel at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel. Applications for destinations travel are due before Thanksgiving each fall. The application for the “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship is available from November through February and is meant for individual girl travel. Read more about Global Girl Scouting and how to get involved at girlscoutsofcolorado.org/global-girl-scouting.